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Enclave Gallery | The Shrinking City | Anthony Gross

Sep 20, 2012

Preview Friday October 5th 2012, 6-9pm
Performance 8.30-9pm: ‘Deconstructing Theo Parrish’ live soundtrack by percussionist David Aylward.

October 6th – November 3rd 2012
Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday 12-6pm and by appointment.

Enclave presents a new film installation by artist Anthony Gross who over the past year has explored Detroit’s cityscape, musical history and industrial decline.

Using previously applied detective devices to investigate the city, he produced a new long-duration digital video piece, The Shrinking City (Sipowicz in Detroit), 30mins HDV, and The Shrinking City, an abstracted drive-in movie theatre installation for the gallery.

The video uses two local actors, a retired tax inspector playing the role of Sipowicz from NYPD Blue, and a young black American MC playing the role of urban explorer. Retracing Gross’s steps, the actor explores the city’s ruins arousing the suspicions of the visiting New York detective. Gross, as a third, and partially visible character, in turn pursues both with a camera as they performatively encircle each other an ever-tightening mapping of the city.

It is a portrait of a city destroyed by vast economic cycles. The film considers a 100 year period – 1912 to 2012 – from the vertical expansion of Deco skyscrapers, via automobile history, music, and the horizontal expansion of suburban development, to a contemporary decay and emptying out. The film takes it’s name from urban planning theory and also the current mayor’s policy that seeks to contract near-abandoned districts back into Downtown. ‘The Shrinking City’, one could argue, is a city in reverse.
The film is an intuitive exploration of the remains of a landscape using multiple points of view – one of the detective who witnesses devastation, and one of artists who see derelict beauty in the same locations, imagining possibilities and regenerative opportunity.
The urban ruins are a psychedelic experience, in turn creating for Gross an interpretation of the city as virtual, where the last remaining characters occupy a semi-erased urban field. These ideas develop Gross’ interplay with immersive environments – as established in the first two episodes of his sci-fi-detective film serialisation, Columbo Eats Columbo (2009) and KANE’s Revolutions (2010, commissioned by Beaconsfield).

This significant new video work is presented here in an installation referring to the abandoned and imagined architectures of Detroit; a notional drive-in movie theatre inviting the spectator into slippages of parallel spaces of reality and projected potential narrative. This episode delves further into subversions of non-linear digital video, computer animation and video effects, and also of sound making; deconstructing a percussive electronic score via musical collaboration, and re-imagined live for a performance on the opening night.

It is whilst in Detroit and considering ideas around urban planning and artist urban action that Gross evolved the idea for the Enclave infrastructure in London, for which this film also serves as introduction.

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