Beyond Repetition: Victor Burgin’s Loops
This chapter focuses on two video installation pieces by the artist and theorist Victor Burgin, The Little House (2005), which explores Rudolph Schindler’s King’s Road House in Los Angeles, and A Place to Read (2010), which includes a digital reconstruction of Sedad Hakkı Eldem’s Taslik Khave coffee house in Istanbul. Both are structured as loops. The chapter identifies and describes modes of repetition that do not operate according to the logic of the death drive, the Freudian repetition compulsion, or eternal recurrence without difference. Burgin’s videos repeat, but in a manner that is closer to Bergson’s philosophy: as four-dimensional spirals or cones that activate connections across multiple viewings and link present images to the past and future. Drawing on Deleuze’s and Bergson’s writings on déjà vu, the chapter analyzes key historical and formal features of Burgin’s videos, including their use of 3d modeling software and digitally created panoramas.