The art of video is a audiovisual form which is separated from cinema but, like any other, is linked to it. Cinema and videoart talk to each other and influence each other but it’s is necessary, in order to make the latter become movie, that it bends its head in order to translate its ideas in the language of cinema. All of this doesn’t happen in Heart of a dog: a movie that is presumptuous, arrogant and whose ideas are of a disarming poverty.
Through her dog and a series of lo-fi images which reflects any preconceived idea that a teenager can have of “artistic spirit”, Laurie Anderson talkes about 9/11, America’s changes, video surveillance, mentioning Wittgenstein and other famous intellectuals. Heart of a dog, through a dog that at first gets blind and then dies,wants to place sensations side by side thanks to the use of images, but their poverty and the inbearable banality of the editing that should give a sense to it all, leave the audience upset. It’s not hard to guess a paradoxical try to elaborate the death of her dear Lou Reed, in the background of this expertiment (you can’t call it in any other way). Reed is never mentioned but the slow loss of her dog is an occasion to talk about death, about what remains and about artistic heritage more in general. But it is all out of focus and at an unskilled level.
Very soon they reach the top of ingenuity: a series of aphorisms, pronounced while the same words appear on the screen, in a non-sense doubling that repeats those old ideas that belong to an art that is not modern anymore. Not even in the most naive movies of the most arrogants cinema student you can see such a endless repertory of art stereotypes, associations and images which aren’t able to tell anything to adults. The lights and the fine dust we see when we close our eyes, the nature, the dog who learns how to play piano and realizes little scolptures with his paw (if only it wasa comic moment!), the loss seen as a metaphore: everything reflects a certain idea of art of Greenwhich Village but it doesn’t say anything, but it only tells us about the intellectual poverty and the exaggerated self-esteem of the author.
By Gabriele Niola
Photos: Alessio Costantino & Eleonora Agostini
Translation by Bianca Baroni
In collaboration with Badtaste.it