Fall (An Allegory) 

Triangle Space, London, UK - August 2008

Time is a state: the flame in which there lives the salamander of the human soul.’
Andrei Tarkovsky

‘Fall (An Allegory)’ is a studio performance designed specifically for its documentation as moving image. Here the overt symbolism of the penultimate scene of Andrei Tarkovsky's film Nostalghia (1983) is fragmented into an allegorical text comprised of word, image, object and action. This text, which was scripted, is divided into five sections (light; object; trace; image; fall) and performed at five consecutive locations or ‘stations’ spanning the length of the Triangle Space at Chelsea College of Art. Each station consisted of a backdrop of white paper as well as props including a lighter, candles, clay, charcoal pencil, Polaroid camera, bowl of water, salt, blue ink, video projection and black paint. The actions, performed at each station and employing these various props, are documented on HD video through a single extended take and tracking shot. Although we worked intuitively while devising this work, in retrospect we conceive of the process as one that refracts – or, perhaps better, fragments – the symbolic unity of Tarkovsky’s original film image through an ‘allegorical’ script. The result is a construction of allegory as moving image that encapsulates our appreciation of Tarkovsky’s film image as a complex symbol wrapped in time.

See index below for other works relating to 'Fall (An Allegory)' including:

  • Gorchakov's Wish
  • Alba Lunedì’
  • Kino Haiku
  • Parrhesia
  • To Forget. Of Air.
  • Immolation Triptych

Please see also our Publications page for information on ‘Time, Place and Empathy: The Poetics and Phenomenology of Andrei Tarkovsky's Film Image’ (Visual Studies, Volume 28:1; p. 1-16). Informed by this constellation of works, this essay draws together our research into Tarkovsky’s theory and practice of the film image.

Fall (An Allegory) - live

Betsy Trotwood, London, UK - July 2008


We also presented a version of ‘Fall (An Allegory)' in front of a live audience. Here we performed a series of actions on a stage set consisting of a table, bowl of water and microphone. The backdrop consisted of a large sheet of white paper on which were projected scanned images of drawings. Props included a lighter, candle, white flour, charcoal pencil and Polaroid camera.

The performance lasted 9min 04sec.