In ‘YORT’, Duane Michals plays with color and motion to create an overlapping story that can follow several narrative lines. As it turns out, the narrative lines are not explained well, but that is the beauty of personal interpretation in experimental videos – it gives you the opportunity to understand what you want, to make your own story out of anything, and to expand your imagination realm almost instantly.
Taking into consideration that this is not the first experimental short we have seen from Duane Michals, we can clearly state that he has a thing for playing with the mind of the viewer in many interesting yet particular ways.
In ‘YORT’, the viewer needs to find a way of understanding this twisted story that, at first, makes no sense at all. The imagery is explosive in colors, but the story per-se is absent. If you do not try hard enough to build it in your own mind, the whole short may be useless and annoying.
What caught our attention in Michals' project is the way in which he focuses on the whole visual aid. Everything is compressed in a circle in the middle of the screen, giving us the impression we are looking at this film through a tube, or being at a circus and seeing the whole show through the cannon barrel.
The score is interesting as it sets the… unsettling mood. As you cannot predict what is coming in terms of the visuals, you also cannot predict the structure of the jazzy soundtrack.
The whole short is as if someone put together in a mixer an avant-garde story, one jazz vinyl, leftover costumes form a dying theater, and to top it all off, a bucket of colors that remained from a greater project. The result? A mix of crazy and powerful colors that can divide a crowd into three sides – the ones who don’t understand and get annoyed, the few ones who are able to follow the narrative in its entirety, and the majority who really doesn’t care about the complexity of this experiment.
Review written by Vlad A.G