riverside
a work by DAVID CLAERBOUT

two channel video installation, stereo audio headphones, HD, 2009
Hauser & Wirth gallery, London
Yvon Lambert gallery, Paris
Micheline Szwajcer gallery, Antwerp
Rüdiger Schöttle gallery, Munich
Jörg Johnen gallery, Berlin

One projection depicts the story of a woman, the other that of a man.

Set in a valley with a small river down below, both characters unconsciously move towards each other, engulfed in their individual stories. They remain separated both geographically and in time, just like the projection screens on which they appear and make their journey. He is moving from the east to the west, whereas her journey starts from the opposite direction. At one point the woman and the man cross the river in the same location, marked by a tree trunk across the river.

Precisely at the point where the landscape would geographically join the two characters, we realize with certainty that the man and the woman are in the same valley, in the same place, but in different moments in time. There is no reconciliation but for the sound of the river, which brings us to the subtle protagonist of the work. During the 25 minutes journey, each film has a 'broken' audio-channel. Her film lacks the right audio-channel, while his lacks the left audio-channel.

As they both sit on a branch above the river, the sound of the river unfolds like an open space in our brain. Riverside translates the lack of narrative resolution into an audio phenomenon: that of aural completion through stereophony, after an impaired journey.

artist : David Claerbout
production: Claerbout Studio
sound: Kwinten Van Laethem


'There is no reconciliation but for the sound of the river, which brings the viewer to the subtle protagonist of the work. During the 25 minutes journey, each film has a ‘broken’ audio-channel. Her film lacks the right channel, while his lacks the left. As they both sit on the tree trunk, the sound of the river unfolds like an open space in our brain. Riverside translates the lack of narrative resolution into an audio phenomenon: that of aural completion through stereophony, after an impaired journey.'

'Through the accentuated slow pace of his narration and the consequent concentration on visual and acoustic details, Claerbout creates a new level of awareness among viewers of this subjective view of the world.'