Video INSTALLATION, 2012/2014

Photo: Anders Sune Berg
Installation view at Berlin Biennale, 2014
The video installation vylö:t juxtaposes images of brutalist architecture from the late 1960s with images of dark forests, plants, stones, in short, supposedly untouched nature. But just as there are no pure primeval forests, there are no completely inanimate, abstract buildings. Any dichotomy is constantly broken by the eerie soundscape.

vylö:t, in collaboration with Nicolas C. Geissler, 2012/2014
Two-screen video installation
16:09 min, 4k, four-channel audio
Dimensions variable

Courtesy: Patrick Alan Banfield

Thanks to Sascha Blank, Nicolas C. Geissler, Katharina Schwöbel



Cinematography: Nicolas C. Geissler

Sound design: Sascha Blank

Patrick Alan Banfield’s works often situate time-based media such as video within spatial installations. Making use of live-editing processes as well as sound composition, much of his work engages with the socialization of “nature” and the poetic of identity. At the 8th Berlin Biennale, Banfield shows the two-channel video and audio installation vyLö:t (2012) in which the struggle between human desire, the laws of nature, and the built environment is brought to the fore. On one screen, long-tracking shots of post-war concrete housing blocks highlight rigid architectural forms and somewhat menacing façades. Shot in Karlsruhe and Heidelberg, these views seem to underline the anonymity and isolation of urban life. By contrast, the other screen shows images shot in the Taunus, a mountain range in Hesse, north of Frankfurt. Here the chaos of organic forms -tree stumps, ragged rocks, wet soil and gnarled, exposed roots- seems to present the polar opposite of the cityscape; a vision of wild nature untouched and unencumbered by the demands of man, which brings to mind the German Romanticism of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. But at time the shots on both screens seem to merge, following the principle of camouflage, and thereby call into question any easy dichotomy between the built and the natural environment. The video is accompanied by a poetic soundscape (a collaboration with Sascha Blank), adding another atmospheric layer to the installation.

Text by Juan A. Gaitán

Hot, humid air and an intense scent of wood and plants, the feeling of walking on forest floor due to 1000 litres of bark mulch, military camouflage nets covering the white cube space and a very loud, bassy soundtrack – these are some of the senses that greet the visitor. The two-screen video work shows long tracking shots of civilisation, concrete, Brutalist blocks from the 1950s, austere forms, contrasting with tracking shots of living and dead trees, earth, plants, nature, sometimes in opposition, sometimes not. The buildings pass by, abandoned and empty, but at the same time irritatingly alive; this image is reflected in the raw and silent nature. Full of antagonisms and alluding to the typical image of béton brut, the viewer feels trapped between the cold and artificial simplicity of the architecture and the idyllic green and living trees and plants. The installation plays with the audience’s expectations and senses, as well as with the contrast between the appropriation of reality and individual perception. A poetic composition of atmospheric sounds on the one hand and the real sounds of the forest on the other underlines the installation. The soundtrack was created in collaboration with Potsdam-based composer Sascha Blank, while cinematographer Nicolas Constantin Geissler was responsible for the images, which were shot in the Taunus forest in Hesse and in the cities of Karlsruhe and Heidelberg.

Text by Patrick Alan Banfield

Stills of vyLö:t, 2012
Photo: Stefan Hobmaier
Installation view at galerie weisser elefant, 2023
Photo: Max Eicke
Installation view at galerie weisser elefant, 2023
Photo: Patrick Alan Banfield
Installation view at Loop Barcelona, 2013
Photo: Nicolas C. Geissler
Installation view at Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design, 2013
Full version of vylö:t, 16:09 min., 2012/2014