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Fermata Series

video, continuous loop
fermata instant row
Related Work
fermata hockey thumb
fermata dive
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fermata track
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fermata installation 1 thumb
"Brian Patrick Franklin: Economy of the Pre-Heroic"
A recent Nike Ad professes in its jingle, "It's not where you start, it's where you finish," but for the work of Brian Franklin, it is always the start. Sporting events are all about the spectacle of the finish, the athlete performing to their greatest capabilities, the glory of the win, and the way in which that most marketable moment is turned into sales, sponsorships, advertisements, and endorsements. Franklin, however, uses a sporting event to examine the moment of most anxiety, when all outcomes are possible, where no top athlete has yet come to show her grandeur in action, where there is not yet a star able to sell shoes through their mere image.
In his Fermata Videos, Franklin with meticulous perfection, digitally loops athletes bracing themselves for the would be athletic performance, just prior to the moment of glory into a seamless and unsettling infinitum. The outcome of these videos is a distillation of the sporting event down to the moment of maximized unease with the athlete's minimum exertion, the moment of the pre-heroic. In "Fermata: Track," runners in their set positions, subtly shifting with tension at their blocks, ceaselessly attempt to perfect their stance for the supposed upcoming race. In another loop, A diver stands on the edge of the board, the only movement is the first small bounce to start momentum in physical and psychological preparation. Held in incessant repeat of one of the least saleable moments in the spectacle of sporting events, Franklin's video loops are in a refrain of the hushed and highly charged. The viewer uncomfortably waits, fully anticipating that which Franklin denies them, some momentous action to relieve the endless loop of anxiety. Franklin strips the event of its spectacle and creates a cyclical unease surrounding an event that will never be fulfilled by a score, a win, or a loss. All results are possible, or rather impossible, as the fermata will never come to finale.
It is through time submerged in anxiety that the viewer begins to search for something more. It is here that the spectators of the event are shifted to a level on par with the athlete. The audience of the event comes into focus, sitting on edge with a refrain of hushed anticipation, nervously shifting and waiting. Through the reduction of the athlete to the same plane of focus as the spectator, and through the infinite loop of preparation, Franklin denies consumption of the spectacle, denies the heroism. All that is left to consume is the endless anxiety of the pre.
- Jamie Disarno
The Blindside

"...videos from [Franklin's] Fermata series allude to the "fermata" in music, which is a term for a note, chord, or rest that is sustained at the performer's discretion for a duration longer than the indicated time value.  Franklin's videos are continuous loops of athletes such as Jesse Owens, an Olympian diver, or tennis players about to propel themselves into their respective 'moments of truth.'  Adjusting their foothold, buttressing their muscular pitch, and steeling both psychological and physical will, these moments are the preamble—taut with all that is invested in the pursuit of perfection—to full-throttle force.  Expecting exquisite coordination, grace, speed, and exactness, we hold our breath.  And as spectators, we share in the 'fermata' of the moment.  The video triptych played simultaneously on a loop renders the interminable suspension into a kind of purgatorial black hole of tense, unconsummated propulsion."
- Carina Evangelista
DCCA Gretchen Hupfel Curator of Contemporary Art

Illinois State University, 5620 School of Art, 214A Center for the Visual Arts, Normal, IL 61761