OWLS AT NOON Prelude: The Hollow Men

Apr 27–Jun 13, 2005

Chris Marker. OWLS AT NOON Prelude: The Hollow Men. 2005. Two-channel video (black and white, sound; 19 min.) on eight monitors. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired through the generous support of Adam Bartos and the Pannonia Foundation

This installation by Chris Marker, OWLS AT NOON Prelude: The Hollow Men, is the first element of a work in progress conceived specifically for The Yoshiko and Akio Morita Gallery. No filmmaker has embraced the digital image more enthusiastically than Marker. He has been making films for over fifty years, sifting through images that play with the concept of memory and exploring the paradoxes of time.

This nineteen-minute piece takes its starting point and its title from T.S. Eliot’s 1925 poem “The Hollow Men,” which reflected on the European wasteland that resulted from the first World War. Marker’s meditation mixes his thoughts on the the poem with images of wounded veterans and achingly beautiful women, evoking the hopelessness of those who lived through Europe’s near suicide. As this war comes back to haunt us in both the Balkans and the Middle East, Marker combs a vast beach of images to create an echo chamber in which the viewer can either remember or witness for the first time the reality of a civilization’s self-slaughter.

The continued presentation of Hollis Frampton’s Lemon (1969) and Gary Hill’s Inasmuch as It Is Always Already Taking Place (1990) is also featured in niches near the film and media gallery.

Co-organized by Mary Lea Bandy, The Celeste Bartos Chief Curator of Film and Media, The Museum of Modern Art, and Colin MacCabe, Distinguished Professor of English and Film, University of Pittsburgh.

OWLS AT NOON Prelude: The Hollow Men is made possible with the generous support of the Pannonia Foundation, with support from the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, New York.


Installation images

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit https://www.moma.org/research/circulating-film.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].