Der Garten des M. Leretnac, 2008
16 mm film installation, b/w, sound, 8:45 min

Andreas Bunte’s new film draws on a number of ideas in connection with landscape and sculpture parks as total artworks, and in particular with the novels Locus Solus by Raymond Roussel (1914) and The Domain of Arnheim by Edgar Allan Poe (1847). Both these narratives revolve around eccentric landscape gardens as manifestations of an ideal location where the transformation of elemental nature into an overarching artwork has been a complete success.
Poe’s protagonist, wealthy Mr. Ellison, is reminiscent of Count Pückler-Muskau, whose writings on landscape architecture were also known to Poe. Pückler had started creating his approximately 500 hectare Bad Muskau landscape garden as early has 1815. Here, as well as later in Branitz, the count undertook immense material efforts in an attempt to realize his ideal of a walk-in landscape painting, meant to be reminiscent of those created by Claude Lorrain or Nicolas Poussin.
In contrast to the coherent visions of painting, literature and landscape architecture, the dream-like world constructed in Der Garten des M. Leretnac using simple, analogue effects remains fragmentary. With the help of multiple exposures and corresponding positive-negative masks, the image’s various elements are successively captured on a single negative. Shot footage is used in the film almost unedited. The traces of these technical procedures remain visibly embedded in the structure of the film, which particularly shows up in the transitions between different scenes, where the filmic collages again and again break up into their constituent parts. In the process, various exposure stages briefly take on an independent existence, creating new, almost abstract images.
The paper collages installed in Pückler’s park landscapes as “pseudo-machines” are revealed to be “machines for nothing”. The repetitive processes integrated in them such as dripping water, a vibrating guitar string or a rotating diamond, render time visible - as clocks do- without giving rise to anything else.
The visuals are accompanied by fragments from the Universe Symphony by American composer Charles Ives, which remained unfinished. It was Ives’ idea to have the symphony, in which he attempted no less than casting the world’s creation in sound, performed open air, with a number of orchestras scattered across the landscape, so that listeners could be carried downriver in boats from one movement to the next.