Glass Hour

Clare Langan

22 February 2002

Clare Langan, (Ireland, 1967). Super 16mm. film transferred to DVD. Ed. 1/3. 8’

[…] Glass Hour explicitly depicts the impact of monumental devastation on the human habitat while, at the same time, posing the question as to how much this grim fate might be self-inflicted. Massive factories, smoking chimneys and bland industrial sheds are seen in dreamlike sequences, ambiguously positioned between the indifferent chronicling of terminal decline due to some global disaster and a defiant celebration of the enduring technological sublime. The monuments to mankind’s incessant urge to build, create, produce and multiply still stand tall and bask in the steely cold light of an eternal winter of discontent. Human hubris, however, is challenged by a force even greater than global capitalism: the earth opens up, boiling in volcanic anger, ready to swallow whole cities, to cover its nondescript sprawling suburbs with black ash and penetrate industrial estates with toxic fumes. […]. The catastrophe has already happened and we are confronted with an apocalyptic aftermath as the earth pushes back the boundaries of human civilization. Nature itself knows no destruction but only an endless cycle of growth and decay. Despite the gloomy, turbulent mood of eternal change that permeates these film installations, there is also serenity and peacefulness as nature asserts its rightful place. Langan’s trilogy ultimately projects not a dystopian view of the end of the human race through self-annihilation but the beginning of a process of regeneration and rebirth.

Christoph Grunenberg