Ritual and Repetition

Louise Noguchi
March 1, 2007, 12:22 am
Filed under: Ritual and Repetition


Crack, 2000
2:30 mins
Louise Noguchi – Toronto Ontario Canada


For the past few years, I have been creating a series of work entitled The Language of the Rope based on my research and lessons in “wild west” performance skills. Wild west acts are influential precursors to the modern day rodeo. They were first begun by William Cody (legendary for his embellished exploits and an important figure in the construction of the mythology of the west) as a North American form of entertainment to rival the violent spectacles of skill and bravery of traditional European circus acts. My interest in this form of entertainment is to chronicle a nebulous world wherein – real and unreal – past and present – fact and fiction – violent and farcical are conjoined.

In learning to perform wild-west skills, I wasn’t interested in becoming a cowboy. I was instead interested in the spectacle of wild-west entertainment, of the many things that people have called “tricks” which are really skills that take considerable repetition and mastery to perform. In my videos I try to show footage, close to seeing it frame by frame, (making similar to photography), I am interested in what some say photography does best – that is its ability or amaze its audience.

One example of this is Crack, a ritualistic video that mixes eastern culture with cowboy western entertainment using a bullwhip. The resulting blend, shifts the traditional North American meaning of this form of activity, from a display of history, amusement and skill, to that of ritual, meditation and chance.



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