Image: Rachel Reupke
Below is an account of an early camera obscura, taken from The Seventeenth Book of Natural Magick by John Baptista Porta:
How in a Chamber you may see hunting, battles of enemies, and other delusions.
Now for a conclusion I will add that, then which nothing can be more pleasant for great men, and scholars, and ingenious persons to behold. That in a dark chamber by white sheets objected, one may see as clearly and perspicuously, as if they were before his eyes, huntings, banquets, armies of enemies, plays, and all things else that one desires. Let there be over against that chamber, where you desire to represent things, some spacious plain, where the sun can freely shine. Upon that you shall set trees in order, also woods, mountains, rivers, and animals that are really so, or made by art, of wood, or some other matter. You must frame little children in them, as we use to bring them in when comedies are acted. And you must counterfeit Stags, Boar, Rhinocerets, Elephants, Lions, and what other creatures you please. Then by degrees they must appear, as coming out of their dens, upon the plain. The hunter must come with his hunting pole, nets, arrows, and other necessaries, that may represent hunting. Let there be horns, Cornets, and trumpets sounded. Those that are in the chamber shall see trees, animals, hunters faces, and all the rest so plainly, that they cannot tell wether they be true or delusions.
Rachel Reupke: Artist’s Statement
“CGI blockbusters; TV advertising; spaghetti westerns; Hitchcock’s North by Northwest; Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo; postcards; webcams; Bruegel; Friedrich and Turner – all serve as reference for a body of work exploring ideas about landscape and cinema, romanticism, spectacle and the modern world.
In single-shot video works, narrative landscape scenes, seemingly procured from location test shots or out-takes from another film, deconstruct, undermine and reorder conventional cinematic hierarchies. Narrative drama is marginalised in favour of the panorama. Dramatic events remain ambiguous, hints of plots that suggest the actors might be playing to another camera, the film crew concealed or out of shot.
Scenery and vistas are constructed, manipulated and improved to the point of hyperreality. Craft and style, employed in service of the spectacle. Yet romanticism is tempered; set within the post-industrial age, the works depict landscapes organised for economic gain and social control, where technological progress, though made aesthetic and impressive, retains an underlying element of threat.
Recent projects have developed into photographic and online works, where the iconic nature of the panorama has been explored further through webcam ‘films’, film stills and found/collected image series.”