The Magic Carpet of Daniel Wurtzel

Please feast your soul on this video of the Magic Carpet installation (2011) by artist Daniel Wurtzel.

The piece is clearly inspired by the ‘plastic bag scene‘ from the film American Beauty (1999), seen below –

Scene from ‘American Beauty’ (1999)

Wurtzel is very transparent about this inspiration—he even uses the very music that Thomas Newman composed for the movie’s scene.

The dialog from the film offers an explanation of the beauty we experience:

“Do you want to see the most beautiful thing I ever filmed? It was one of those days when it’s a minute away from snowing. And there’s this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it, right? And this bag was just… dancing with me … like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. That’s the day I realized that there was this entire life behind things, and this incredibly benevolent force that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid. Ever. Video is a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember… I need to remember…”

‘…an entire life behind things…’, and it is that which Wurtzel helps us to remember by capturing it in his installation.

His installation consists of nothing more than strategically placed ventilators and a red scarf. The ventilators create the conditions, energy, and boundaries for the red scarf to ‘come alive’, but they is no way to predict the motions of the scarf. There’s a real element of life in the piece.

I’ve been drawn to such controlled, purposeful randomness for a while now, and I’ve seen it in the art work of Alexander CalderTim Knowles and Fabienne Verdier, in some architecture and industrial design, and even in the digital art pieces of Vasilis van Gemert—and to me they offer the highest form of beauty that man-made items can offer.