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Enemy of the Good
Single channel video. Running time 4:56, 2007

Taking its title from the Voltaire quote, “the perfect is the enemy of the good,” Janet Biggs’ single channel video, Enemy of the Good, 2008, explores the isolation, obsession, and driving desire required to be the best in the world at a chosen discipline.

Enemy of the Good opens with a lone tuxedoed figure striding through Santiago Calatrava’s City of Arts and Sciences, a science fiction inspiring, utopian monument to culture. Lacking other human presence, the figure is left to navigate a course through the deserted cityscape and by extension a course through his own driving desire. The solo piano soundtrack mimics Calatrava's angular, soaring architecture, establishing a tension in the search.

The figure enters a cone shaped portal only to emerge onto a stage. He strides across the stage and pauses to bow next to a grand piano. The camera pans the empty hall and returns to the figure as he seats himself. The pianist caresses the keys and then dives into the same solo piece for piano that was the soundtrack for his journey through the City of Arts and Sciences. The piece builds to a crescendo as he flies up and down the keys.

After the pianist’s final bow, he leaves the stage only to emerge back into the Calatrava landscape, complete with the returning soundtrack. This endless cycle reveals the repetition and intensity in the impossible search for perfection.

 

Video excerpt:

 

Video still from "Enemy of the Good." ©2007, Janet Biggs. Calatrava, Valencia  Video still from "Enemy of the Good." ©2007, Janet Biggs.

Video still from "Enemy of the Good." ©2007, Janet Biggs.  Video still from "Enemy of the Good." ©2007, Janet Biggs.  Video still from "Enemy of the Good." ©2007, Janet Biggs.

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