Mad Ladders

Michael Robinson &

Mystical background sounds and a densely clouded sky – this is how the short film Mad Ladders by artist Michael Robinson begins. The artist himself describes the work as »a modern prophet’s vision«. The Visual material stems from performances at the American Music Awards from the 1980s and 1990s. Yet the artist distorts the sequences so heavily that we can barely make out the sketchy figures on the screen, and the geometrical forms of the stage props resemble abstract patterns. The breaks between the different narrative segments are alternatingly announced with black screens and shots of a densely clouded sky. In the process, the simple yet dynamic 8-bit soundtrack takes on a hypnotic quality.

Together with the voiceover narration, Robinson has created a work poised between destruction and change, immersing the viewer in a dream world. The narration speaks of joy and beauty, but also of destruction and fear. It comes as no surprise that the work should alternate between experiences of fear and pleasure, since all of Robinson’s works are concerned with themes such as change, transformation and reshaping. With its alternating mobile sequences, piercing colors and exhilarating sounds, Robinson’s work draws us in, revealing to us a new level of reality. The work addresses the theme of change without showing it in either a positive or negative light. Instead, transformation is seen as a way of drawing nearer to truth. (Natalia Cena Wernicke)

* We can only show an excerpt of this work in the online archive. For the complete version, please contact the artist and Carrie Secrist Gallery.

About the video

Title Mad Ladders
Year 2016
Videonale VIDEONALE.16
Length 00:09:45
Format 16:9
Country USA,
Language English
Courtesy the artist and Carrie Secrist Gallery
Specifications color, sound, single-channel video

About the artist

Michael Robinson
  • 1981 in Plattsburgh, USA.
    Studied at Ithaca College, USA, and at the University of Illinois in Chicago, USA