The Name is not the Thing named 2012, video, 10:30 minutes
In support of experiences that are essentially common, but to which language does not easily adhere, the video passes through places that are both themselves, and stand-ins for others. The title is taken from Aleister Crowley’s 1918 translation of the Tao Te Ching.
Review The Name is not the Thing named, drawn from Aleister Crowley's 1918 translation of the Tao Te Ching, further reveals Chicago artist Deborah Stratman's staunch belief in the power of images and sounds to provide an intellectual and aesthetic experience that works outside the bounds of language. But hers is not a project about discovering something pre-verbal, as some of Brakhage's works do. Rather, language is short-circuited. Something like a Ceci n'est pas une metaphor that engages both photographic representation and images that are so laden with cultural meaning that they exist simultaneously as symbol and, as the film argues, as the things themselves. A television valiantly tries to broadcast an unbroken image; we are the slow, floating passage into and through a tunnel; a parachuter jumps from a plane. Shot in such varied locations as Kashgar, Chicago, Moscow, Ithaca, St. Louis, and Houston, the hyper-specificity of the photographed-object and the universality of image-metaphor play against and with each other, rendering a beguiling film. The work operates as a series of passageways and, perhaps, when watched as a loop, we experience the sensation of a spiral. Curated by Tricia Van Eck, this show also features a new series of photographs by Stratman. - Jesse Malmed pdf
Originally published in: Cine-File's Cine-List June 2012