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Over the years, the interdisciplinary Canadian artist Judy Radul (born in 1962, in Lillooet, lives in Vancouver) has primarily worked with video and film installation. Most recently, her video installations focus on questioning the “habits” of perception, blurring the boundaries between theater, performance, and film. In the five-channel installation Downes Point (2005), for instance, the camera’s point of view is thematized in that a stage or another built-surrounding defines the pictorial space. Five static cameras are used to create a montage of images. In two projections standing opposite one another, one sees a director and a few actors in a small forest (on Hornby Island in Canada).The action is choreographed in such way that the spatial structure of the images (the shots from the static cameras) are made evident. The chosen formal system is superimposed over the natural surroundings, creating thereby a kind of interior. The landscape, thus, becomes a stage, with entrances and exits as the actors enter and leave the scene. At the same time, the plot is ambivalent. The director gives ambitious directions, reminiscent of a casting, but our expectations are irritated as the sense of his directions remain unclear.

World Rehearsal Court (2009), Radul’s most elaborate project to date, carries the language of visual media and theatricality into the realm of legal practice. Radul presents how the political, social, and technical conditions of trials are revealed via a media-technological and safety-relevant staging. Part of the seven-channel installation creates a filmic montage of scripted scenes from an international court of law (using criminal trials of the former leaders of Yugoslavian and Sierra Leone as a point of departure) in which all the names and places are replaced with fictive ones. In addition, objects are shown that are impossible to categorize while a series of surveillance cameras record the present viewers who find themselves broadcast on a series of monitors in the room. As Radul stages the technology of the court of law like a filmset in the gallery space, she intones the theatrical character of the court. In the foreground of Radul’s work is not the concrete details of such trials but rather much more the question of the representation and staging of “truth,” questioning the politics of live broadcasting during judicial proceedings and the filmic staging of the recorded materials.

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http://www.judyradul.com/

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