Temps Mort: Dead Time, 2008
2 mins, 20 secs

This piece was made for the project 'Technically Sweet', curated by Yvette Brackman and Maria Finn and presented at Participant Inc and Anthology Film Archives, New York, January-March, 2008.

The exhibition took as its starting point an unrealized screenplay, 'Technically Sweet', written by Michelangelo Antonioni in the late 1960’s. The curators had Antonioni’s text translated into English for the first time and invited 12 international artists to ‘finish’ the film with works in all media, based on their interpretation of the screenplay.

‘Temps Mort: Dead Time’ is based on a short wordless scene that occurs early in the screenplay, in which ‘T’, the main character (played by Jan Leyssens), meets 'The Contessa' (Susan Romanoff), with her nurse (Nanci Thayer), in the doorway of a pharmacy. They exchange glances but, at this point in the story, we are not aware of who this woman is, or whether the man and woman know each other, nor the significance of the pharmacy location.

The scene is notable for its final line, the indication that “the tall woman's scarf blows in the wind”. The direction seems to serve no conventional narrative or metaphorical purpose, instead suggesting what the Cahiers Du Cinema critics called 'temps mort', or ‘dead time’, a term coined to describe the way Antonioni’s camera frequently wanders to and holds on apparently insignificant details in the frame, non-narrativized elements that have the effect of draining significance from the events that have just unfolded.