Looking and yet not looking

As a card-carrying member of the dislike-of-heights committee, I find the idea of this deeply compelling and repellent in equal measures. It’s a kind of vertigo porn:

Take your seat for a glimpse into the abyss

Anyone who suffers from vertigo should steer clear of Catherine Yass’s latest film installation, which is currently showing at the Centre for Contemporary Arts on Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street.

Commissioned by Artangel, and one of the highlights of Gi, the city’s biennial festival of contemporary art, High Wire records French wire-walker Didier Pasquette’s attempt to slink along a 150ft-long cable slung 31 storeys above ground between two tower blocks in the Red Road housing development in north-east Glasgow last July.

We watch Didier’s daredevilry on four screens, each of which presents a different perspective. Yass attached one of the cameras to a helmet worn by Pasquette, so that we can follow the stunt from the point of view of the high-wire artist, resulting in some heartbeat-thumping footage. Especially unnerving is the moment when he teeters on the edge of his concrete eyrie and looks down into the abyss.

Off he sets, his feet testing the taut wire and sliding along it with balletic grace. Soon he is silhouetted against the sky, at one with the odd gull that flits by, impervious to his precarious predicament. Then, suddenly, 35ft out, he wobbles and stops. A vicious wind tests his balance. His pole lurches alarmingly to one side. Read on here – if you dare…

In the meantime, here’s M Pasquette on YouTube talking about his stunt: