Van Warmerdam’s short film Met losse Handen (No Hands, 2004) is a nimble, thought-provoking metaphor that can evoke poetic feelings and memories in the observer. Who cannot remember riding a bicycle with no hands down a narrow path on a fine late summer’s day? The subjective film camera invites the viewer to follow its gaze: from the initial close scrutiny of the bicycle to verify the stability of the no-hands ride, followed after a few moments by a look downwards, which then widens into the distance and begins to climb like in a dream, gaining in height like an errant thought in flight. In seemingly complete freedom the camera’s gaze soon circles the trees to the right at a dizzy height, swings to the left as if it were doing a “no-hands” glider flight and finally returns after only a short time to the ground, where it resumes its initial state of concentration, ignoring the surroundings as if engaged in introspection. The film, which is shown in a virtually unbroken loop, appears to be an endless repetition of a cyclical movement, the up and down of which finds a parallel in many things.
James Turrell is a prominent artist from Pasadena, California who graduated from Pomona College with a degree in perceptual psychology. He further pursued his studies at University of California, Irvine, and ultimately earned a master’s degree in fine arts from Claremont Graduate School. He is the recipient of the Guggenheim and MacArthur “genius” fellowships and has his work featured at the LACMA. Turrell’s work is more than just art, it is truly an immersive experience.