Jeremy Puren’s Video Journey

Last Friday I went to the Blank Gallery to see the last night of Jeremy Puren’s show. He showed the video he and Daniel Naude made of their road trip to Johannesburg from Cape Town. I’m resistant to loooooong arty videos but this one was DIFFERENT!


Jeremy and Daniel keep you going for 45 minutes with their absolutely manic happiness. Granted, about three quarters of the way through they start flagging a bit, and you start wondering how much further they have to drive.

As you can see in the pic above, the car is done up in a psychedelic fun mobile – well, you cant really see it properly. That thing on the back is a life size dummy with a mask and goggles, holding a huge plastic space age gun. There are butternuts strapped to the roof with terrified expressions painted on their faces. And the dummy has a lovely floaty cape that streams behind it all the way.

The video is edited by camera – but really well done. You have to have tried it yourself to realise the skill in making this seemingly random collection of shots. Especially the sequence where the travelers stop for (far too much) coffee next to the road. Shots of the little gas stove with an enamel cofee mug perched on it, with long haul trucks storming by in the background .

This trip was sort of a south african “Merry Pranksters” (Electric Kool-aid Acid test) on a smaller scale, with too much honey and strawberry flavoured yogurt. For example – Jeremy and Daniel play overtake a bus. They drive far enough ahead. Pull over. Pretend to fill their tank with petrol from a can as the bus drives past them. Start driving again. Pass the bus. Pull over. Pretend to fill their tank with petrol from a can as the bus drives past them. I dont know how many times they repeated this.

Watermelons were thrown at signs along the way:

This could so easily have been yet another boring student video, but somehow its really engaging. The entire trip they play the same song – a Chemical Brothers number – which is recorded by the camera so that it recurs throughout the video in a strange jumpy and disjointed way. Loved it. But it will be a while before I can face a squeeze bottle of honey again…

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