Pit and the Pendulum

1971 | 00:12:22 | United States | B&W | Mono | 4:3 | 1/2" open reel video

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Performance

add to cart
add to wish list

The artist uses wire to suspend a block of ice in a pit-like industrial space. He swings the ice block, which is lit by a similarly swinging light bulb on a separate pendulum.

Kos places small game traps in a circle on the floor underneath the light bulb. He opens sterno cans on a metal sheet and empties the contents over some wadding. He lights the pile of sterno and places the fire under the ice block, then rotates the light bulb around the game traps. Since it is a double pendulum, the ice also rotates in a sympathetic vibration. The light bulb set off the traps, which are heard snapping shut. Any single trap could shatter the bulb and kill the light source. The camera shows the ice swinging over the fire, and eventually all the traps are set off. The camera angle changes to show the artist pushing the ice block over the flame and breaking the ice up against the wall. Sounds of ice dripping resonate in the concrete pit. The fire and ice are both diminished as the dripping from the ice block puts out the fire.

This title is also available on Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos.