Claudia Hart’s video loop Rose Pulse reduces the romantic soliloquy spoken by Shakespeare’s Juliet into a pulsing Times Square illuminated billboard that throbs like a message meant for the masses. As the background relentlessly changes colour, shifting from black to white; and the heavy lettering flashes as an unsteady sequence, so the accompanying soundtrack playfully draws attention to the notion of sentiment as a purchasable sensation. Critically in its transition from fable to form, A Rose is transformed into a consumable label, as attractive as any perfume or new technology. With this canonical line: “What’s in a name that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet”, Juliet explains that words are meaningless and truth lies only in pure being. Such a sentiment appears here as though an abrasive commercial that seeks to convince its audience to buy into the idea. Recalling the subversive style of American artist Barbara Kruger, the line is translated by Hart with dark irony into the branding of romantic love, whereby everything is up for sale.
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