Repeating The End (2007), is a new, three screen video work by New York-based artist, Les LeVeque and a hallucination about the eternal return of mass culture’s images, perpetual war, and the conditions of spectatorship.
In Repeating The End, LeVeque re-edits the first 7.5 minutes of Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979), originally framed by the duration of the song, The End by The Doors. Using this foreboding introductory segment as his material “beginning,” LeVeque both smashes up and elongates a sample of this Vietnam war film, the effect of which is to both speed it up and to slow it down simultaneously. LeVeque’s effort becomes an hallucinatory, four hour elaboration replicating, fracturing, and shifting the film’s original structure-
which itself begins with The End-in a game of multiplication and dislocation: LeVeque’s video becomes a digital kaleidoscope of visual and sonic feedback, inducing a kind of trance-like response in the viewer. To achieve this kaleidoscopic effect, the artist employs a simple, algorhythmic structure, replicating, spinning, and flipping each frame from the original film 32 times in a kind of funhouse-gone-awry digital gamesmanship, with perceptual effects on the viewer that are at once psychological and physiological- effects that are powerfully disorienting, but also curiously visceral. Evident is the manner in which the viewer constructs the pattern of movement, spun out of otherwise static images. This artifice- this pattern of “movement” the eye elects to see-is also an analogy for other temporal fictions, including the way we perceive beginnings and ends. More darkly, LeVeque’s looping re-edit induces the spectator, perhaps, to grasp the underlying reality: the specter of perpetual war, with the Vietnam conflict having “ended” 32 years ago.