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HD Cinema (4:3) 1:10 min. color, stereo, 2021
Premiered at MoMA, NYC, Sat Oct 30th, 4 pm with a repeat screening on Nov 10 as part of “To The Lighthouse” series of programs curated by Mark McElhatten, Carte Blanche.
Like Jodie Mack's Wasteland No. 3, Grenier's latest film is slated to have its world premiere during MoMA's "To the Lighthouse" program, featuring films selected by Mark McElhatten. Wishbone, Grenier's new film, is just over one minute long, and according to its maker, it was something he created during the Covid lockdown. This makes sense, given that Wishbone is primarily about collapsing the distinction between inside and outside, with particular focus on the thin glass membranes (windows, windshields) that we use to mark that divide.
The basis of Wishbone is a still life on a tabletop near a window. In addition to a small figurine of a Buddha-like weightlifter, and a nondescript glass prism, the composition is anchored by the titular wishbone. It is situated inside two different drinking glasses, its branches contained as it tapers into a juncture that hovers between both containers. But this still life doesn't remain still for long. Grenier overlays the tabletop with a flowing river, complete with a rower in a tiny kayak. (Admittedly, this micro-figure reminded me of the old Ty-D-Bol commercials, with the little man paddling through the toilet.)
The second half of Wishbone is mostly superimposed on this first part, and it is comprised of footage shot from a car, as someone is driving through a forest road. Grenier's fractured superimposition makes it difficult to discern what is actually seen outside the windshield, versus what is merely reflected upon it. These are the sort of visual ambiguities that have long been a favored subject in Grenier's work (cf. 2011's Armoire or the more recent Commute from 2018), but of course they reflect a new level of anxiety in the wake of the pandemic. In its brevity, Wishbone is a bit like a commercial for the new normal, the simultaneous presence of our previous lives and its inaccessibility.