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Fountain is an 80 minute feature length video with original music throughout released as a double record online with the intent of release on DVD and other physical formats, as well as a collection of over 350 still images.
2017 was a record year for wildfires in California. It was also the 100th anniversary of the first exhibition of Marcel Duchamp's iconic work, Fountain.
During the first part of the year, Marshall Rendina photographed and shot videos of many fountains and other water sources in Los Angeles after spending time in Ojai for a permaculture workshop and retreat near the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts where Duchamp once resided. Feeling forewarned by the unusual dryness of the climate and the mismanagement of the resources in Los Angeles in order to deal with environmental concerns, the work was produced over several months in early to mid 2017 when the rains returned once again. If only the troubles ended then - later in the year after completing the score for the video, the Thomas Fire quickly surrounded Ojai and grew to become the largest in the state's history. The Beatrice Wood Center was spared but many other homes and buildings were destroyed including the roof of the structure that was built during the permaculture workshop at the Ojai Foundation.
Many of the images are distressing but the film captures the serenity of flowing water throughout. A fountain the size of a city block is being torn apart by jackhammers in one scene, while in others, there is the painful irony of water bottles of various brands floating down the waterways of Los Angeles or being stuffed in the drains of fountains, and the not so obvious irony of umbrellas no longer in use having been thrown into a fountain. The fountain continues to change in its function or lack thereof, being merely an architectural form representing purity, vitality, and prosperity in recent memory. It has been used in baptism and religious ritual, for scrying and reflection, drinking, bathing, and perhaps now as a toilet and trash receptacle with no water to fulfill its purpose, either symbolic or functional, reversing Duchamp’s concept.
Recordings of the score can be heard here: