The Cooper Union
School of Architecture
 
 
 
 
 

JET LAG

Multi-media theater work in collaboration with Builders Association, 1998, touring Europe. U.S. premiere at MASS MOCA.

Stage action intersects live and recorded video in the presentation of two narratives:

1:  In his famous interview, The Third Window, Paul Virilio tells the story of Sarah Krasnoff, the American grandmother, who in a period of six months flew across the Atlantic 167 times with her young grandson in an attempt to elude the pursuit of the child’s father and psychiatrist. They traveled New York/Amsterdam, Amsterdam/New York, never leaving the plane or airport lounge except for the brief stop at the airport hotel. Krassnoff finally died of jet lag. In the words of Virilio, this contemporary heroine lived in “deferred time.”

2:  In 1969 a British eccentric named Donald Crowhurst joined the round-the-world solo yacht race sponsored by the Sunday Times of London. Ill-prepared but driven by the guaranteed publicity of the event, Crowhurst loaded up the film equipment provided to him by the BBC to record his journey and set sail. Within several weeks, Crowhurst encountered heavy seas in the South Atlantic. He drifted in circles on the open sea for the remainder of the race. Haunted by the specter of failure, Crowhurst broadcast false radio positions, produced a counterfeit log and documented a “successful” voyage on film. As he re-joined the race in the last leg, the fear of social humiliation finally led the troubled sailor to take his life by drowning. Crowhurst ultimately disappeared into his “deferred space.”

On the stage, Crowhurst appears on stage in front of his live video camera. Just behind him is a small video backdrop of a seascape. The projector/screen assembly rocks mechanically to simulate the roll of the ocean. As Crowhurst speaks to the camera, his live image is projected onto the giant screen behind him. The audience witnesses him and his image as he produces his auto-documentary. He rewinds, makes new takes until he gets it just right.

RICARDO SCOFIDIO
Professor Emeritus, Adjunct Faculty