Luke Savisky: Hands across the water

Images of hands projected across Wooldridge Park illuminate our assault on and communion with the environment

Luke Savisky: Hands across the water
Photo by Bret Brookshire

Savisky's Film Actions VI: Chores and Joys of Urban Life, presented in Wooldridge Park on Friday, Oct. 26, is one of two prelude events leading to his final piece for First Night Austin. The progression of images, consisting of original and found 16mm and 35mm film and digital-video projection, was accompanied by Graham Reynolds and the Tosca String Quartet, with recorded music by Stars of the Lid. This night's temporal compilation, consisting of images in the air, will never be the same twice. You have to watch Savisky as much as you watch the piece, for he is giving it shape as it is being performed. We were privileged to see the final touches of a one-time-only work of public art.

Chores' narrative has a loose insistence that seems to flush out two themes tracing back across paths. This end-of-summer tribute accentuates our approved assault upon and communion with our environment. Images of hands serve as narrators of this all-too-comfortable agreement. Savisky's hand, serving as the backdrop for a series of images in a 10-minute loop, sweetly closes around the image of a man. There is a hand that takes life and another that takes possession of papers which may or not be his. A strong and engaging hand assists a young Sisyphus, who finally gets his inner tube up a slippery hill. A languid hand, interminably resting just above the water's surface, quite suddenly wiggles alive as a diver forcefully interrupts its slumber. The viewer is left with a pair of fluttering hands criss-crossing water currents of a contemporary time. Chores is the act of activation. The artist's hand retrieves memory by intersecting the disparate nature of life's urban images.

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Luke Savisky, First Night Austin, Film Actions VI: Chores and Joys of Urban Life, Graham Reynolds, Tosca String Quartet

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