Flucht, 2001

By Billy Rubin
Published in Vox Vernacular
Feb. 25, 2014

Projected onto the Lake Constance-side facade of a Peter Zumthor-designed building in Bregenz, Austria, Flucht is one of Oursler's largest works. Comprised of a shuffling grid of facial close-ups, the video illuminates the frosted glass panels of the building as though they were giant pixels. Each face is further animated by a special moving-light technique which, as Oursler states, "forces a multidimensional chiaroscuro" as the forms are continually rebuilt with light. 

The work was performed in local Austrian dialects. A large precision-speaker system, originally used for a papal tour, was used to direct the sound of these voices across great distances at unusually low volume. The mountainous area of Bregenz is a nexus of numerous national borders in constant cultural flux, epitomized by the large telecommunication antenna complex which dominates a section of the skyline. Visible and invisible divisions and transformations implicit in this network inform the work.