Hearsay of the Soul: A 5‑Channel Video Installation by Celebrated German Filmmaker Werner Herzog


David Lynch has embraced visu­al art and the pos­si­bil­i­ties of the new music indus­try. With Pina, Wim Wen­ders made one of the most acclaimed works in the lat­est, super­hero-filled wave of 3D movies. Jean-Luc Godard… well, I could­n’t quite tell you what he has got up to with his lat­est pic­ture, but it sounds con­cep­tu­al­ly and tech­no­log­i­cal­ly for­ward-look­ing indeed. Clear­ly, some of the cre­ators best suit­ed for the new cin­e­mat­ic real­i­ty in which we find our­selves also hap­pen to have already logged decades and decades in the craft. Wern­er Her­zog, direc­tor of Cave of For­got­ten Dreams, anoth­er one of the few recent 3D movies you still hear peo­ple talk­ing about, has exe­cut­ed his lat­est project not in the the­ater, but in a muse­um, and not as a tra­di­tion­al film, but as a five-chan­nel video instal­la­tion.

Hearsay of the Soul will run at the Get­ty Cen­ter, a par­tic­u­lar­ly well-known muse­um over­look­ing Los Ange­les — Her­zog’s city of res­i­dence and my own — from July 23 to Jan­u­ary 19. In it, Her­zog com­bines land­scape etch­ings by Dutch Gold­en Age mas­ter print­mak­er and Rem­brandt-influ­encer Her­cules Segers with music from two of Segers’ mod­ern coun­try­men, cel­list Ernst Rei­jseger and organ­ist Har­men Fraan­je. (Her­zog afi­ciona­dos will, in fact, rec­og­nize Rei­jseger’s work from the score of Cave of For­got­ten Dreams.) “They are like flash­lights held in our uncer­tain hands,” Herz­zog says of Segers’ images, “a fright­ened light that opens breach­es into the recess­es of a place that seems some­what known to us: our selves. We morph with these images. Her­cules Segers’s images and my films do not speak to each oth­er, but for a brief moment, I hope, they might dance with each oth­er.” You can glimpse a few of the instal­la­tion’s images and hear a few of its sounds just above.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Wern­er Her­zog and Cor­mac McCarthy Talk Sci­ence and Cul­ture

Errol Mor­ris and Wern­er Her­zog in Con­ver­sa­tion

Por­trait Wern­er Her­zog: The Director’s Auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal Short Film from 1986

Watch Wern­er Her­zog Eats His Shoe by Les Blank, Direc­tor of Qui­et, Quirky Films

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on lit­er­a­ture, film, cities, Asia, and aes­thet­ics. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­lesA Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

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