Water Oil Wine (2012) depicts an adult baptism in which two men lower a woman into a trough of water. In the Evangelical church, the baptism represents the “death” of the woman’s old, sinful life and her “rebirth” as a Christian. For some viewers, this ritual represents hope, new life, and celebration; for others, it is violent and upsetting. In the final iteration of Water Oil Wine, the found baptism video is broken up into six segments. Each is projected and overlapped in a long row on a floating screen, filling the viewers horizon. The video is slowed down; the fragmented, distorted woman is lowered into the water and raised up over and over. The overlapped projections are almost painterly, and the overall effect is hypnotic. The baptism is distorted by the pixellation and saturation of the found video; the viewer never sees the whole image at once but can piece the gestures together over time, drawing from the rising and falling of the figures and the brief moments of clarity as hints of the subject matter appear and disappear – a hand, a face, an arm. This work asks the viewer to look carefully, and for a long period of time, at an image that he/she might have otherwise dismissed with a preconceived judgment.
Please click on the link below to see an example of this video.