+ otherwise pictures llc


goldfish variations

2014  |  video  |  bw / color  |  sound  |  15:30 min min
Holly Fisher
Lois V Vierk


“Not being fish, how do we know their happiness?” – Zhou Dongqing (1291)

Goldfish Variations, like its companion piece thinktank, is made from one minute of footage filmed with an IPhone in a Chinese restaurant in Berlin, reworked via 18 layers of shifting video. Music for each is by avant-garde composer Lois V Vierk, whose work is influenced by Japanese Gagaku music, and here is the result of layered sounds of the four instruments of a string quartet. Each may be projected and/or looped for continuous viewing as a wall installation piece.

thinktank is a few minutes shorter, same music with a single cut in mid-section, and with a slippery floating text ‘hacked’ into the continuous flow of imagery, in response to current events breaking (January, 2013) as I was in the process of cutting/exploring this piece. While Variations is purely meditative, thinktank may spark a more edgy sort of contemplation…

Interesting to note that the subject of my undergraduate thesis was of a long Chinese handscroll entitled: The Pleasures of Fishes, by Sung painter Zhou Dongqing, dated 1291. The inscription at the end of the painting, written by the artist who grew up close to Taoist center at Mount Longhu, (Dragon Tiger Mountain), is translated like so:

Not being fish, how do we know their happiness?

But we may express our feelings in our painting.

In order to probe the subtleties of the ordinary,

We must describe the indescribable.

–The Collection Online, The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Expanding from the 6 tracks I used in making my recent trio en rose, this project was cut on 18 video tracks from a single minute of IPhone footage. And continuing my penchant for recycling, Goldfish Variations was in essence my template for making thinktank, which I proceeded to hack as if an NSA spy operator.

As an exercise in perception, the two should be exhibited together but as two distinct pieces, each looped with its own darkened space and monitor.


I think it works beautifully (I was going to say ‘swimmingly’)! …congratulations of the birth of another wonderful piece of cinema.

–John Gianvito, filmmaker, professor

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