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Ruth Novaczek
From 1990 until 96 Novaczek's work concentrates on the dual notions of love and belonging.

The axis of the films evolve around the relationships between women, their exile is not only the exile from the homeland but also their own continual exile from love. "I was born from ashes the ashes of a people .....those who escaped were not necessarily saved"

In 1996 prior to joining Central St Martins Novaczek made 'Cactus Babylon', she also studied for a Masters in a Rabbinical College for one term. The first image in 'Cactus Babylon' is of Herschel Grynszpan a Polish Jew who, in 1938 in Paris after hearing of his family's deportation, shot dead the German Ambassador - this act precipitated the Nazis worst pogroms.

The films become increasingly dense, the pinnacle being 'Cactus Babylon'. New York becomes "Babil" As in all of her work the video images are degraded by refilming, usually from a TV monitor whilst experimenting with colour and contrast. The images become almost unrecognisable transforming into textures with a tonal rhythm. The rhythm holds a dialogue akin to scatting in jazz. Two women talk, another drinks incessantly, the frame of her body the video frame - a grey expanse of sea stretches out towards us, the greyness of the sea blurring into the greyness of the sky - words become stones that never fill the void. A skull haunts the memory of the film as do the police, walking, marching incessantly towards us, but this is no police state this is America - New York - the land of the free.

The Notion of Scatting is further developed in Ruth's most recent works, 'Series 1 and 2'. Rhythmical components are built between sound and image equally, Novaczeks deft editing holding the elements into a musical whole that takes the notion of the Pop video into a different realm, each piece is no longer than a classic pop song. In 1.3 a voice synchronised with the movement of a torso turning against a wall covered in mosaic tiles commands "Turn".

This is underscored with the line "Staggering forward looking over my shoulder". What do we see? We are shown a group of Romanian refugees approaching the Gare du Nord train station in modern day Paris, but we see a group of Jewish refugees, heads covered in scarfs carrying suit cases that are too heavy for them. Turn. Staggering forward, we are confronted with our past both on an individual and political level. The piece is simple, the schism between perception, memory and image eloquently augmented. The place Novaczek depicts exists more in our imagination than in reality but the people are real - so how do we - can we move forward ? TURN.

Still from Cactus Babylon by Ruth Novaczek, 1996
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