Cyprien Gaillard’s 3D film and audio installation Nightlife was shot at night over a period of two years in Cleveland, Los Angeles and Berlin. Like much of Gaillard’s work, the film is a meditation on the ways in which traumatic events of recent history can be read in – or have been memorialised by – urban or ‘natural’ landscapes, architecture and public space. Accompanied by a dub soundtrack featuring a looped sample of Alton Ellis’s 1970 classic ‘Black Man’s World’ and the 1971 remake ‘Black Man’s Pride’, the film takes in a bomb-damaged sculpture in front of the Cleveland Museum of Art; the riotous swaying of windblown trees in dark LA streets; and a fireworks display above Berlin’s Olympiastadion.
The final scenes return to Cleveland, where the German oak tree gifted to African-American gold-medallist Jesse Owens by Nazi organisers of the 1936 Olympic Games stands in the courtyard of the athlete’s former high school. Despite being comprised of two time-based mediums – film and music –Nightlife has distinct sculptural qualities. The vacillating volume and reverb of the film’s dub soundtrack conjures a shifting sonic space that mirrors the ghostly materiality of the film’s 3D visuals.
Cyprien Gaillard (b. 1980, Paris) lives and works in Berlin and New York.
Nightlife is part of The Infinite Mix exhibition.