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Luke Duncalfe
						DogStar Laika


A video absorbed with a sense of the frictionless movement of space, and the soundbite of a rarefied era, DogStar Laika stands in detached tribute to the first space traveller, Laika the space dog; never reclaimed.

DogStar Laika was produced with an ease-of-interpretation for clients of a dealer gallery in mind, and draws on the painterly aesthetics of abstract landscapes and a Malevich-like construction of a Soviet space module, to win them over. For further ease, its timing plays gently on expectation for an audience unaccustomed to moving image; it is a measured time-line that unwinds at a storyteller's pace.

The imagery for the video was largely sourced on the Internet and animated through a process of first undoing the image and then applying keyframed movement and filters to provoke change. Snippets of sound from the American Apollo space mission, and the Russian space module Sputnik's actual transmission were interspersed as sonic mini-narratives to give a validity and a doubtful historicity, that the work never deserved.

The video is compiled as three sequences that are ramped up against each other in what has become a typical stylistic gesture. As each describe their allotted third of the story, their edges rub hard in an unoiled transition from one to the next, which owes much to Eisenstein's theory of 'intellectual montage'; a mechanism that describes the drawing together of separated notions through the un-coordination of disparate sequences of images*. Like an orbit, the images and sound approach and navigate closely around their central idea, although, whatever central idea this video has remains a mystery to me, suspecting it uses the narrative of Laika as its distraction.

* My interpretation, possibly false.



The Bold and the Beautiful, Exhibition of 13 Selected 4 th Year Students From Elam,
              Grantham Galleries (old Chiaroscuro), Auckland, 2002
              Shown: on a single monitor

Live@Elam, University of Auckland, Auckland, 2002
              Shown: as a screening

Paris / Berlin International Meetings (Rencontres Internationales),
              roARaTorio transmedia, Paris, Berlin, 2003
              Shown: Projected outside around Paris and Berlin, and in indoor screenings


Project Images

Orbit Scene 2002
Still from Video

DogStar Scene 2002
Still from Video
Sputnik Scene 2002
Still from Video

Book Review of 'Sputnik Sweetheart'
New Zealand Listener

Storyboarding 2002
From journal
Storyboarding 2002
From journal


Related Material

The essay "Russian Space Dogs" Melissa Snowden USA, 1999
RealAudio sound file of Laika's life signs as transmitted from Sputnik I
'All About Laika' page of space-dog related resources
The Laika Internet Memorial


View Video

View DogStar Laika 3:02

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After viewing, consider adding your feedback to this page. Further ideas about sputniks and spacedogs are very welcome, as are comments about what ideas were sparked during your encounter.