Kay Rosen Sisyphus, 1991

InquiryKay Rosen - Sisyphus, 1991
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Video tape

7 min. 30 sec

Remastered in 2011 on DVD

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Sisyphus was created in 1991. The video draws on two sources to depict futility and hope, as well as observations about language: the Greek myth of Sisyphus, a mortal who was condemned by the gods to roll a boulder up a hill for eternity, only to have it roll down again; and phonetic peculiarities in the English language. In the video, Sisyphus is spelled seventy-two different ways, one name per frame, but never correctly. There may not be another word which has so many possible spellings, but the pronunciation never changes. Each failed iteration is accompanied by a drum roll followed by a ta-da, reflecting the descending trajectory of the rolling stone.

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