new-york

Aleksandra Mir, The Seduction of Galileo Galilei, 2011, still from a color video, 16 minutes 33 seconds.

Aleksandra Mir

Whitney Museum of American Art

Aleksandra Mir, The Seduction of Galileo Galilei, 2011, still from a color video, 16 minutes 33 seconds.

Aleksandra Mir’s video The Seduction of Galileo Galilei, 2011, is based on Galileo’s fabled experiment with falling bodies. The physicist is said to have dropped objects of different weights from the top of Pisa’s famous leaning tower in 1598, in order to demonstrate that they would accelerate at the same speed regardless of mass. In Mir’s version, the tower itself is the object of experimentation: A group of volunteers piles car tires on top of one another until the stack gives in to gravity and crashes to the ground.

The video—on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art in a presentation organized by Carter E. Foster—has a disarming charm, and a heaviness that is worn lightly. It begins with shots of a crane and a cherry picker arriving at the go-cart track where the experiment is to be staged, followed by a brisk montage of still images that show a group of adolescent

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the February 2012 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.