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2-channel video installation
SD 4:3

Non spoken

13' 43"


A narrow space with no apparent entrance or exit encloses a black staircase. On each end of the stairs stands a figure, motionless. Actor X descends the stairs. X arrives at the last step and returns to his initial position at the top of the stairs. For a short period of time, there appears to be no action. Subsequently, actor Y descends the stairs, only to return to his initial position. In turn, they repeat this action numerous times.


Sudden Death is shot in an unusual architectural construction – a space that can be rocked back and forth – approximately 300 x 120 x 700 cm. The structure contains a staircase, 4 metres long, with a sort of platform at both ends. On each platform, one actor is stationed. Depending on how the architectural construction is positioned in space, the actors either stand up or lie down. Actors X and Y are simultaneously recorded via two pinhole camera-eyes, each attached to a platform, just above an actor’s head. Each camera-eye, due to its wide-angle lens, captures both actors.


The architectural construction is slowly tilted when both actors are in a stationary position. Camera 1 films Actor X from up close and Actor Y from a long distance. Camera 2 films Actor X from a long distance and Actor Y from up close. By simultaneously capturing an apparently simple action from two opposite points of view and by installing the two resulting films the same way, i.e. opposite to each other, an intriguing visual disorder is engendered.


Note: In a game, ‘sudden death’ is a stage of the competition where play ends as soon as one competitor draws ahead of the other.

The film was screened or exhibited at:

  • MFA Glasgow, Tramway, Glasgow (UK), 2001

  • Hier & Nu, Thurn & Taxis, Brussels (BE), 2001

  • Times SQ. Gallery, New York City (US), 2001

  • Sudden Death, La Lettre Volée / Kanal 20, Brussels (BE), 2002

  • Meerspraak, De Witte Zaal, Ghent (BE), 2007

  • Restricted Area, De Garage / CC Mechelen (BE), 2014​


  • Produced by Wim Catrysse

  • Supported by the Flemish Government

  • Supported by The Glasgow School of Art (UK)

  • With: Maurice Doherty, Wim Catrysse

  • Technical supervision: Jim Lambert

  • Technical assistance: Ben Woodeson

  • Thanks to: Sam Ainsley, The Glasgow School of Art

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