In the film installation End of Empire, custom-built dolly tracking acts as projector support; the moving sculpture is both machine and image, statement and proposition.
Here, “empire” has multiple references: first, to New York’s iconic Empire State Building, and immediately afterward, to Andy Warhol’s equally iconic film, Empire, 1964, an eight-hour portrait of Manhattan’s famous building and dramatic climax site for an earlier classic, King Kong, 1933, with Fay Wray. It may – finally – refer to an end of the American empire.
For this work, Jones and Winn have recreated and animated Warhol’s famous static portrait. As the dolly apparatus retreats, the projected image slowly moves from the wall upward to the ceiling, engaging the viewer in a kinesthetic viewing experience that is intimately connected to the architectural space of the gallery. As the film image retraces its path inexorably to its original location, the viewer realizes that now, the building is no longer there. Only the background of a night skyline remains.
This change is oddly subtle and the shock understated: immediately one thinks of another disappeared tower, and the implication of an America newly vulnerable to attack. In just twenty minutes a new future is presaged, a comfortable certainty opened to total loss.