English Translation of from Italian: Review of WATER FALLS, New York City

WATER FALLS, New York City

Review by Francesca Rusalen in L’Emergere del Possibile (The Emergence of the Possible), online blog, March 17, 2020


Translated from the Italian:


Sooner or later the time comes when we are perplexed at having taken an obtuse outlook on surrounding reality and, in the face of this, we urgently need to change our perspective. So, … the city of New York, the one that Ann Deborah Levy leads us to see, will be our starting point for this pivotal moment that … will come, in fact, sooner or later.

Clearly this can happen in various ways, but here, WATER FALLS, New York City (USA, 2019, 12 minutes) forces this change in viewpoint. The short film tries to pierce reality and it does so starting from a multiplicity [of realities] that the director tries to reveal with patience through a fountain in the metropolis. The diversity and the many stimuli in this setting evoke a state on the borderline between being “stoned” and being restrained which results from the constant incitement that impacts everything in the present moment: the senses and perception become continuously active.

In this case, the director seems to extricate herself [from a point] between two intertwining [threads]: all varieties of diversity that are encountered in the city from communities, to relationships, to the marginalized, that can somehow be represented in the short film, but that, at the same time, lead you to lose the sense of finding yourself in front of the stranger, a foreigner (who is also a member of the family that he feels he does not recognize as his own because he has become a citizen of the world). All are accepted as details and in this they are equal. We said two threads, because actually there is another aspect that cannot be represented that however results from these dynamics.

WATER FALLS, New York City was born as somehow parallel to the surrounding reality, trying to enclose it and for a specific need. In fact, a vortex is created in this way, the vortex in which you find yourself in the city that whirls you into a particular present, which, as is clear, forcefully takes on spatial qualities. Gyrating, sucking in others around oneself is inevitable, the senses and perceptions are heightened and alive and the stronger the ego is, the larger the diameter and the higher the vortex rises. In all of this, a specific need does not necessarily arise, but sometimes the forces meet (as one happens to see in the waves in the base of the fountain of the film) and while spinning, the encounter with WATER FALLS, New York City occurs. Then, since the film is not an object in its own right, defined by limits that would imply a force of equal energy, valid for all, depending on the motions in which it is inserted, reality is pierced. So, far from taking a largely relativistic point of view, there is a directionality that will eventually be channeled.

Once this is clear, WATER FALLS, New York City is [really just] a vacuum whose effect, allows the passage of another puff of air, this time from a horizontal direction, a dimming of the rotations and therefore the possibility of returning to the ground. Here, the sensation is that of finding oneself in a sort of leveling of the senses and perceptions, not because there are no stimuli present, but instead because of the creation of another type of relationship among the aspects of “nature” taken as a whole (these various elements also including the spectator). This anchoring in reality would also seem to derive from a kind of benevolent reticence to consider the mechanism taken to the extreme of its consequences, that is: once the vortex is pierced, what happens to reality? Could it still be considered as “natural” as it appears here or would another situation be created that the image could capture?

Thus we can say that [sensory] stimulation occurred [during the film], a vacuum has become possible, and its realization has overflowed into the image, which will leave a mark [on different viewers] in relation to [their experiences of] the projection setting.


For the original illustrated review in Italian: https://emergeredelpossibile.blogspot.com/2020/03/water-falls-new-york-city.html