But later he fell into utter folly.
He played on a horn of hollow shell till the waves echoed,
and challenged the gods themselves to compete with him.
But Triton in jealousy entrapped his mortal rival
and drowned him - if we can believe in such a deed -
where the water foams among the rocks.
(Virgil The Aeneid 6.171-74)



The video work is based on the story of Misenus, the trumpeter of Aeneas, who lost his life shortly after rea­ching the Italian mainland. According to legend, he was foolish enough to let his horn resound across the sea. The sea god, Triton, took this as a provocation, and caused him to be instantly drowned in the foaming waves between the rocks. The title of the work is taken from the name of the headland in Italy which is named after the unfortunate trumpetter.

The installation consists of three video screens and a photograp­hic work which is hung on the wall opposite the video screens. The photographic work depicts a wall of leaves and branches. The three videotapes are subdivided into two parts, with a transitional part lasting almost four minutes in between.
The first part (Misenus Aeolides) represents the coast where Misenus was drowned. This part consists of images recorded on locati­on in the Aeolian islands of Italy. In this point, the installation deviates from the location of the actual story. This deviation is connected with the fact that Misenus was one of the sons of Aeolus, the ancient god of the winds, who was supposed to dwell on Vulcano - an island which is part of the Aeolian archipelago.
The second part (Miseno/Averno) is more connected to the place where Misenus drowned. Here the image gradually turns from the coast - also recorded on Vulcano - to a panoramic view of Lake Avernus. In ancient mythology, this lake formed the entrance to the underworld - the underworld which Misenus' captain had to visit before he could start carrying out his task of founding the city which would rule the world. Lake Avernus is a crater lake near Napels and is situated in the immediate vicinity of the headland which is called after Misenus. In the panoramic images near at the end of the video tapes, both lake and headland can be seen.
The transitional part is dominated by Tritons' waves; this is the part in which Misenus is drowned.

As with the installation PALINURO, with which MISENO is closely connected, the protagonist himself is not depicted. But whereas in PALINURO we get to know Palinurus through the images of his mind's eye, in MISENO the layers of images which are interwoven with the main motif are of a more associative nature.
In the first part, the layers of images have a pronounced military flavour, due to Misenus' position as rouser of the troops of Aeneas. This choice is partly determined by the fact that round the headland of Miseno at the time of Virgil, Augustus founded an important naval port which was to play an important role in esta­blishing his supremacy. The transitional part is about death, not just because of Misenus himself, but also because of the extensive descriptions of funeral rites which are so often encountered in Virgil's work. In the second part Virgil becomes a clandestine critic: the cost of the empire (see further the information on PALINU­O) is exposed in more explicit terms and related to our own time. This is par­tially effected by means of the main motif which ends with Lake Avernus as it is today; in addition, there are images of the cul­ture and infrastructure of our time, which are interwoven on various levels throughout the main motif. They are partly taken from the collection of TV images which was put together in the first half of 1989 for PALINURO, as well as from a supplementary series, collected between the end of 1989 and June 1990. This is also the case with the first part and the transitional part.
To bridge the period of time that the installation is not running, a forth tape in the opposite wall sends out sounds which were recorded in the vicinity of Lake Avernus. This tape stops automatically at the moment that the installation is started up by the viewer.

The remix on this DVD is a configuration of three pictures in picture designed for one video projection on three panels and projection screen or wall.

(ndk 1990/2003) 


'(...) In Miseno, the protagonist Miseno is conspicuous by his absence. The stratified visual material, however, graphically evokes Misenus' experiences and the epic nature of Virgil's work. By the lyrical and expressive use of landscape and seascape images, filmed at the original sites, De Koning breathes new life into the story of Misenus, without illustrating it in the literal sense. The abstract images of nature, strengthened by the sounds and the music, emphasize the mythical and timeless character of Virgil's epic tales. Videotaped fragments, taken from the TV, reflecting our own present culture and its military aspects in particular, invade the screen from time to time. De Koning's Miseno is a poetically and visually potent work - it is also a highly topical continuation of Virgil's magisterial 'Aeneas' (...)'

uit: https://www.li-ma.nl/lima/catalogue/art/nol-de-koning/miseno/2821#



> go to Miseno remix on Vimeo (mp4)


concept and script Nol de Koning, camera Louk Vreeswijk, editing Ivo van Stiphout, sound Rob Glotzbach, music advisor Pien Sta­des, postproduction MonteVideo, Amsterdam, voice of Sibyl Gabrielle Clark, Misenus' horn a chord from Louis Andriessen MAUSOLEUM, music part I Morton Feldman BASS CLARINET AND PERCUSSION, Harry Sparnaay bass clarinet, Johan Faber percussion, music part II Pien Stades AVERNUS;
three videotapes 32'30", colour, sound (stereo), one audiotape, three video screens, photograph 120 x 120 cm

remix (2003)
concept Nol de Koning, online editing Ramon Coelho, postproduction Netherlands Media Art Institute Montevideo/ TimeBasedArts, Amsterdam; 32'41"


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