Liisa Lounila

Wilkinson Gallery

At those moments when you’re washed up at a party, at a bar, at some social scene where you know absolutely no one and everyone else seems too at home to notice this stray figure, yourself, against a wall, your choices are to be miserable, leave, or enjoy surveying the scene with a quasi-anthropological objectivity. In Play>>, 2003, a brief, dreamlike color film shown on DVD, Finnish artist Liisa Lounila makes the decision for you: Luxuriate in looking. You’re invisible, so stare to your heart’s content.

Well, but isn’t that the opportunity cinema always provides—the pleasure of looking tied to the privilege of being unseen? Perhaps, but ordinarily it doesn’t fulfill its promise of making you feel like you’re there. Using a peculiar technique that somehow makes it seem as if the people she’s filmed were static, frozen in time, while the camera remains in motion around them, Lounila actually

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