Review: David Rosetzky
Anna Zagala

At some point in David Rosetzky’s thirty-minute looped video Think of yourself as plural (2008), a camera slowly pans across five young people as they stride through the grass over a gently sloped hill of a nature reserve. Around them the world is coming to life; there’s still some pink in the sky, birds whistle and call to one another. This signature image – which Rosetzky has elaborated in different ways using alternative settings in previous video works – is a quiet and sublime counterpoint to the self-absorption that beset his beautiful protagonists. For a brief moment the natural world draws them out of themselves and they embody the serene self-possession they so furtively crave.

In Think of yourself as plural, Rosetzky continues his ongoing examination of subjectivity. His work inhabits the awkward period of early adulthood, a time of rapid self-actualisation, with acute insight. Wherever Rosetzky’s young people find themselves – window shopping, walking down the street, sitting over a coffee or sharing a taxi ride – they constantly check themselves to evaluate their behaviour or to scrutinise their feelings. When one admits, ‘I don’t want to be with someone who’s easily forgotten’, the plain vanity of the sentiment takes your breath away. But then, remember when you had such high hopes for yourself?

The piece has no recognisable narrative but its loosely arranged scenes are knitted together with a sense of temporal progression: day turns to night turns to day. Rosetzky utilises a range of formal art cinema techniques such as non-naturalistic dialogue and performance style as well as different kinds of voice-over. In addition to the actors on screen, a disembodied voice delivers New Age-ish sounding platitudes about emotional awareness in a distinctly emotionless monotone. Fragments of dialogue are repeated, creating a sense of common experience that is given visual expression when the figures collectively assemble a large-scale jigsaw of coloured shapes.

On a couple of occasions one of Rosetzky’s socially inhibited twenty-somethings breaks into dance. Their fluid and precise movements possess a striking formality much like the piece itself. Choreographed by Lucy Guerin, these passages – graceful, erotic and desperate – are observed with detached disinterest by others. But they are electrifying. Rosetzky gifts us these moments of intense solitude. They might be singularly experienced but collectively witnessed.


Anna Zagala is a Melbourne-based writer. This article was originally published in Art & Australia, vol 46 no 3, Autumn 2009. Reproduced with permission.