Red Buffalo Skydive
2000, 03:30 minutes, colour, English, closed caption
Red Buffalo Skydive is a 3 minute video featuring a repeating 6 second clip of an animated running buffalo combined with dialogue of the artist repeating a story told to her by a paraplegic man who picked her up hitchhiking. Initially, the imagery and dialogue do not appear to be related, but as the piece progresses, the viewer may begin to make associations, and even synchronistic connections, between the two stories.
The animation is a rotoscope, drawn over frames from video footage Norris shot of a young buffalo belonging to the Hochunk Nation in Wisconsin, while she was visiting there. Unusual for animation, each of the over 100 drawings contained in the 6 second clip were also created to be able to stand on their own as individual works. Although you cannot necessarily see the beauty and intricacy of the drawings as you watch the animation, it is Norris’s intention that you can ‘glimpse’ their nature. In this she creates a parallel to her perceptions of everyday reality; that we can’t see everything that’s really there; that many things, particularly the spirit world, remain largely invisible to us – but we still catches glimpses of that bigger – or different – picture.
Red Buffalo Skydive is the artist’s first foray into the combining of apparently unrelated visual & audio ‘stories’ – an idea intended to create a kind of diary, chronicling random experiences and tying them together in unexpected ways.
" In this case, I found the survival thing one of the most immediate connections between the characters. There’s a parallel between the tenacity of this white guy who continues to skydive even after becoming a paraplegic – and that of the buffalo – and the nations who are so inextricably connected with them. Another thing I was struck by was the ability of all parties not only to survive in the face of such great odds, but to do so with style – a certain kind of beautiful ‘craziness’.
There are other connections there, too, maybe some even I haven’t seen or heard yet.. It’s a format where people can find their own stories within another – to me this communicates my own ongoing wonderment at the often unexpected connectedness of things."
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