The Wanderers
1954 and 1958—Italy and Northern California—black & white and color. In one a
woman wanders and observes; in the other, the woman wanders and is observed. In
both situations the gaze is mobile, walking or driving, the world screened by the floating
frame of vision or car windows. Across the two spaces the women meander through
museums, cemeteries, cities, landscapes of forest and ocean, sites of repetition, history,
memory, and death. Images of faith and its distance from this world appear throughout.
On the surface, no two works could be more dissimilar than Roberto Rossellini’s
Voyage to Italy and Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. The latter is organized spatially by an
investigative and punishing male gaze leading to madness and death as it winds
through San Francisco’s serpentine streets. The former is dominated by the emotive
face of Ingrid Bergman as she negotiates the labyrinthine streets of Naples, observing
and reacting to the persistence of life in an environment overwhelmed by the force of
passing and past time. Yet as described above, the two works, made only four years
apart though in very difference circumstances, are surprisingly linked by many common
themes, motifs, and scenographies, as if in a powerful though so far unheard
The Wanderers is an original work comprised of five moving image projections and
diverse sculptural objects. The material of each projection is appropriated in different
ways from the two films, which thus undergo three sets of spatial and temporal
transformations. The Wanderers’ Voyage to Italy and The Wanderers’ Vertigo are both
single channel projections where each of the two originating films is conceptually
reduced by eliminating all male characters apart from incidental figures. In both cases
these absences are visibly marked by ellipses, jump cuts, and other discontinuities and
eccentric rhythms. The two works are projected as loops.
A third element is created by further reducing the two appropriated objects to produce
as much spatial (though not temporal) continuity as possible. The resulting two works
are projected side-by-side as non-synchronous moving image loops. Because the two
projections are of unequal duration, nearly random juxtapositions of images are
produced in the course of time, which reveal ever-changing moments of surprising
similarity and contrast.
The last projection element is The Wanderers’ Marriage. In this work the two films are
still further reduced and edited together into a single channel projection.