new-york

Aernout Mik

New Museum

Aernout Mik’s video installation Refraction, 2005, which tracks the aftermath of a bus accident in the Romanian countryside, comes closer to naturalism than any of the Dutch artist’s earlier moving-image odes to disaster, dislocation, and freakish misadventure. Previously, Mik’s works have featured complex arrangements of screens, dizzying camera movements, ambiguously eschatological scenarios, and an almost Melièsian sense of creepy artifice. But Refraction, projected straightforwardly on a long, low, free-standing wall, at first seems to be merely an extended documentation of the type of event we’ve all seen a hundred times on the news: It’s a cloudy day and a bus has overturned on a highway cutting through a landscape of fields and rolling hills. Cars are backed up nearly to the horizon, and cops, paramedics, firemen, and even soldiers have converged on the scene. Their vehicles are

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