The Elevator

1985, 5:10 min, color, sound

The Elevator is a tale of urban anxiety in which Barr alternates the stories of two women (Trisha Brown and Wendy Perron), each confined and isolated in an elevator, literal and metaphoric prisoners of their everyday lives. Barr writes of the work's "obsessive [nature], both in its unbroken verbal narrative — and also in its singular camera action — that of the zoom." His use of a succinct formal device — the continual opening and closing of an elevator door — propels the narrative structure. The elevator door opens to reveal one woman speaking directly to the camera; her narrative is then interrupted by the closing of the door as the camera zooms out. The women's deceptively ordinary vignettes are transformed into eerie, self-contained fictions via Barr's use of fragmentation. By cutting from one woman to the other, Barr merges their individual monologues into a seamless narrative flow.

Camera: James Byrne. Lighting/Sound: Nancy Tsuchiya. With: Trisha Brown, Wendy Perron.

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