Riverrun looms like a double spectre, filling the entire volume of the
exhibition space with two perpenducular projections. It has two video as well as two stereo audio components which are of different durations and run out of synch, so the viewing experience is somewhat liquid and never quite repeats in the same way. Riverrun is a seamless a loop as is James Joyce’s Finnigans Wake (of which the first word is “riverrun”), and many of its conceptual concerns can be traced in the sentence that links the end of that book back to its beginning, namely “A way a lone a last a loved a long the riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs”. This last reference to a place often doubles as the initials of the book’s protagonist, but is also used by Joyce to mean “here comes everybody”.
The piece is essentially a mediation on the courses that we cut in our lifetimes like water does into earth; sometimes resulting in flood and at other times a dry river bed. It also contains biographical references and cryptic messages to family members no longer in this world. Riverrun runs a course set in a loop journey that I made by car to places of personal significance, a loop of footage that serves as the route or backdrop against which many smaller visual encounters take place. The ‘journeying’ footage runs backwards, creating a strange vertigo: to me a way of communicating that, although the world gears us into thinking of life and progress as rising and forward-moving, like all things we are constantly drawn back into the earth; we fail and fall in big ways and small, and are re-absorbed into something primordial. The river being the female principle in Finnigans Wake makes a poignant link to the fact that this piece will début on my first solo museum exhibition, which I have dedicated to my two grandmothers, who died 11 Decembers and exactly one day apart, completing another, albeit more sombre, cycle.
– Minnette Vári, Johannesburg 2004
2-Channel video installation
Video 2′ 10″, Stereo audio 4′ 33″, looped