Summary

Wait 2000 is a video installation that is comprised of five suspended screens with back-projection and a soundtrack. The screens are all hung at the same height and an equal distance apart, and arranged in a semicircle.

Wait is a study of people caught on film during moments of great anticipation and their aftermath. It takes as its point of departure the dramatic tension surrounding the build-up towards the end of the last millennium and the moment the new one was ushered in. Sixteen character studies are presented in black and white, each one cropped close-up to fill the screen so that facial expressions and reactions are magnified. The events that trigger each response are unseen, which serves to intensify the focus on each person’s face and leaves the viewer to glean information from studying the details of the expression and body language.

One figure is filmed caught up in the revelry as the clock struck midnight on the eve of the new millennium; another, a football fan, waits for his team to score; an expectant relative watches keenly at an airport arrivals gate; a bridegroom waits to say ‘I do’. Goodwin slows down and loops his footage, presenting it in grainy black and white, investing the incidental gesture with great significance. Critic Catherine Elwes has pointed out how the emphasis here is on the gaze itself: ‘we watch the artist watching a person watching the clock and like the other protagonists we also wait.’ (Catherine Elwes, ‘Profile: People Watching’, Art Monthly, March 2000, p.23.)

Goodwin works with drawing, photography and film to pursue his investigation into portraiture and the many ways in which people interact with urban spaces and situations, whether physically or psychologically. As with many of his works, Wait uses the power of the zoom lens to set up a relationship between viewer and subject that combines both distance and intimacy, giving the viewer a sense of close personal involvement.

Wait is the third part in a trilogy of video installations which also includes About 1998 and Within 1998. Each of these works investigates the dynamics of urban public environments and explores the way in which people look at others and are in turn watched themselves. Wait was first shown at Tate Liverpool as part of the festival Video Positive in 2000 and was co-commissioned by Tate Liverpool and FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), Liverpool. The work was made in an edition of five. Tate’s copy is number one in the edition.

Further reading
The Other Side of Zero: Video Positive 2000, exhibition catalogue, Tate Liverpool 2000.
Neal Brown, ‘Dryden Goodwin’, Frieze, no.58, April 2001, p.34.

Helen Delaney
January 2010