The Diamond

Emily Wardill


Film, 00:10:00.
Materials: 16 mm film

Collection: Courtesy of the artist.

Two stories are interwoven in The Diamond (Descartes’s Daughter). On the one hand the work is inspired by a myth concerning the French philosopher René Descartes. The spiritual father of Rationalism and modern philosophy is said to have developed a mechanical doll that was intended to replace his dead daughter and which was thrown overboard by superstitious sailors during a storm on his final voyage to Sweden.

In Wardill’s film the viewer is transported to a dreamlike setting, a darkened room where a girl is playing with a Nintendo Wii. Her outfit is a reference to the costumes of Etienne Jules Marey, the father of chronophotography, and she is enveloped by green light. This makes the scene look like a recreation of an unnamed film in which a diamond is protected by laser beams. This is where the second story, about a quest for a memory, comes into view. It is about the search for a film scene in which a diamond protected by laser beams is stolen by an automatic hand.

Fragmentation of form and content appear in both The Diamond and Game Keepers without Game. The voice-over in the film is fragmented like light passing through a prism and carries on a tense interaction with the ambiguous images.

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