Friday, April 23, 2004
The Stairway at St. Paul's
This morning I was listening to Eight-Forty Eight, a local magazine show on Chicago public radio. They were talking with two video artists about Video Mundi, a festival currently playing at the Chicago Cultural Center.
Apparently one short video has become quite a sensation on the video-art circuit. Swedish artist Jeroen Offerman practiced for months to learn how to sing Stairway to Heaven backwards. And he learned how to play air guitar backwards, whatever that means. The resulting video shows his performance played backwards -- so you hear the words forwards. He includes an instrumental track for Stairway to Heaven playing behind him. You can certainly understand every word he's saying (at least as well as Robert Plant's original). But there is something creepy and different about it. I'm not sure I would have been able to decode what was going on if I had heard it without explanation.
One of the artists being interviewed said that work like this gave him hope for society. That is not exactly the conclusion I might have drawn.
Update: Jeroen Offerman is Dutch, not Swedish -- my mistake. Thanks to Arjon Dunnewind for the correction (in the Comments).