Every Wandering Cloud

Tom Kalin

2005 | 00:07:00 | United States | English | Color | Stereo |

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: LGBTQ, Literature, Poetry

Every Wandering Cloud is the first installment in a series of experimental videos inspired by the writings of Oscar Wilde. Interweaving text from Wilde's "The Ballad of Reading Gaol" with hand-drawn animation derived from Eadweard Muybridge's Human and Animal Location, Every Wandering Cloud is a meditation on themes of freedom and imprisonment. The video juxtaposes an eclectic array of archival and contemporary imagery, including documentary footage and original Super-8 and digital video. By combining images from both past and present, Every Wandering Cloud creates an imaginary dialogue between the worlds of the late 19th/early 20th Centuries and today. In his deceptively simple ballad, Wilde explored the profound personal and social consequences of being a prisoner. Every Wandering Cloud similarly moves between public and private worlds. Every Wandering Cloud premiered at MoMA in January 2005, part of the PREMIERES series that marked the museum's re-opening in Manhattan.

"Wilde was arrested for homosexual offenses in 1895, having lost a libel suit against his lover's father, the Marquess of Queensbury. He was tried at the Old Bailey, found guilty of the charges, and sentenced to two years imprisonment. In 1897 he was released from Reading Gaol and went to France where he died three years later. "The Ballad of Reading Gaol" is his major artistic fruit during this dismal period and belongs to a literary genre of particular importance in Ireland. The choice of the ballad form is unusual for Wilde, but curiously apt for his purposes. For one thing, a ballad is a popular form, as befits a poem which takes sides with the common people against their judges and rulers. It has a simple, direct centrality of feeling about it, which contrasts sharply with the clinical detachment of much of Wilde’s other writing. Finally, the ballad, for all its emotional force, is essential a collective form, which avoids lyrical subjectivism to distil a kind of impersonal wisdom."

— Introduction by Terry Eagleton, "Plays, Prose, Writings and Poems, Oscar Wilde"

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Exhibitions + Festivals

Dallas Video Festival, 2006

Antimatter Underground Film Fest (Canada), 2006

Rotterdam International Film Festival (The Netherlands), 2006

Kasseler Dok Fest (film laden) (Germany), 2006



Athens Int'l Film/Video Festival (OH), 2007