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Two from Robert Croma

8th July 2008 by michael
arts | experimental | historical | narrative | observational | politics | portraiture | remix/mashup | video | vlog


Thibaut Is Singing On Oberstein Road
Thibaut Is Singing On Oberstein Road (2008, 15.5MB, 2:36 min)

Rules of Engagement
Rules of Engagement (2008, 18.1MB, 2:15 min)

Tremendous work from Robert Croma.
The Iraq piece is harrowing but you should watch it nonetheless.
The Thibaut piece is simply exhilarating.
I was trying to figure out what exactly makes this work so outstanding.
I don’t think it’s just the fact that it is technically so good (although it is).
It’s to do with Croma’s taste, judgement & instinct, or at least how he
deploys these to tell us something, or rather to intuit-to-us something
about being a human being.
You couldn’t make a rule of it, for that would render it inert & mechanical,
but, loosely, in these two pieces, it seems to me to lie in a going-beyond
-the-expected – a process with its heart in the little codas which open
out the pieces in a quite extraordinary way.
So the Iraq piece, though supremely well done, is initially not a
million miles away from much other remix type work, but it is the final
calling-to-attention, the framing, of the gait of one of the people
whom we have just seen obliterated that re-doubles its horror
but also creates the tiniest ground for hope in the inescapable
(thanks to Croma) clear recognition of our common humanity.
A similar process occurs in the Thibaut piece
– its potency initially seems to reside in the simplicity of the
camera exploring the still, the conjunction of the new and old
imaging technology and the simple & moving fact of evocation
of time passed.
It’s beautiful; and many would have been tempted to leave it there.
The final section is a risk – it could have have the opposite effect
to what it actually does; it could have closed off, made pat.
Here perhaps the technical fluency does play a defining role but the
effect is the exact opposite of closure -we’re left, once again, in a very
different way, filled with a sense of the mystery & complexity & possibility
(& the fragility) of being human.