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How High Is Up?


Jessye McDowell

Year of production: 2011

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How High is Up? employs a strategy of narrative deconstruction, drawing upon the language of film and our experience of it as an outlet for emotions that are in excess of everyday life. The work appropriates footage from disaster films, extracting shots of faces looking up at an unseen spectacle with horror, awe, curiosity, and wonder. The viewer is invited to see a reflection of her own desire for transcendence, while the physical arrangement of his or her body is similarly mirrored in that of the characters: they all gaze up at a spectacle both desired and feared. A soundtrack comprised of layered songs from the films accompanies the narrative, which builds toward a revelation that remains mysterious.

Keywords: disaster, film, cinema, appropriation

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