Water and Clearing
Siegfried A. Fruhauf´s work is preoccupied with exploring the perception of cinematographic movement. Fruhauf often makes use of the individual image, whether in the form of film frames or photographs, which he collages via multiple exposure and structural montage into exhilarating motion studies. In Water and Clearing he pursues an inverse approach. The point of departure is provided by the recording of an actual tracking shot, which is a novelty for Fruhauf. Using individual stop-motion frames, the motion of the shot grows gradually more halting, while simultaneously becoming more dynamic. The shorter the intervals are, the more photographically foregrounded the snapshots of the tracking shot become, heightening the kinetic energy of the sequence of images. Our perception is effectively made to stumble through an interplay of movement and stasis.
Meanwhile, dramaturgically speaking, Water and Clearing is classically structured in three acts. In the beginning there stands an empty, dried out tub made of wood. By the end of the film it is seen anew, now in a wet state. In the time between there unfolds a high-speed rollercoaster lightning ride constituted by impressions of nature, observed from a bird´s eye view centered upon the circular form of the tub. Midway through the film, the tub is filled with water, accompanied by a siren like wailing, while traversed by the image of a fireplace – only heightening the level of abstraction and artificiality of the nature shots. This color intensive, atmospherically dense phantom ride reveals itself to be a paraphrasing of the magic of cinema, ever associated with a promise of perceptual intensification and illusion. In the end, the pulse of the audience that has been heightened by Fruhauf´s frenzied image and sound montage is able to return to peace and normalcy, just like the wooden tub itself. (Dietmar Schwärzler)
Translation: Eve Heller
Siegfried A. Fruhauf has been described as a "master of the wave". If he pulverizes things (objects, movements, landscapes, vistas of vision) down to their smallest components, it is so he can reconstitute them into numerous possible worlds, using the energy waves of image-sound fusion. The film title declares its given elements: a bucket is conveyed to a spot where it is filled and later emptied; and there are views of a field. Then the real film-work begins: intercutting frame by frame, a full sound design, rapid flashing between colour and high-contrast black-and-white. An audiovisual study that reformulates our powers of perception. (Viennale 2018, Adrian Martin)
Employing his inimitable creative style, the Austrian structuralist rolls out another fascinating study of movement and rest, during which a wooden bucket travels to get water and comes back again. Original tracking shots and stop-motion techniques give rise to an audiovisually disarming piece in which sudden motionlessness only reinforces the dynamism of the film. (Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Hubert Poul)
Water and Clearing
Siegfried A. Fruhauf