John Pilson b. 1968
St. Denis (2003)
Pilson`s camera follows a woman into the ladies` room, where she shakes out her hair, lights a cigarette, and plays a mournful song on a pink and white accordion that matches the room`s tile. A cutaway shot of a print on the wall of geese in flight over a mountain identifies her desire as peculiarly urban. Later, in a hallway, another woman paces as she describes the conditions under which she is able to fall asleep (it must be absolutely silent; she must be wearing pajamas . . .). Her topic presages the final scenes of the video, in which a man, presumably the superintendent, taps on office doors to ensure that everyone has left for the day-he`s putting the building to bed. The video ends as he turns out the lights, proceeds to a poster-plastered basement lair, changes into a colorful shirt and white cap, and leaves-a sort of embodiment of the building`s soul. In a vaguely unsettling surveillance-like shot of stairs (a Pilson staple), two men and a woman join upraised palms and quietly chant, sharing a New Age moment that feels like an exorcism-or an effort to wake the building (perhaps a dreamed extension of themselves) out of its dead sleep.