Here you go… silence for days on end and then… well, don’t get used to it!
“Symbol Wald” 2:55 min, DV, 2002
“Symbol Wald” is somewhat of a hermetic movie as it examines the dimension of symbols as complex basis for our understanding of the / our world. It has been influenced by the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein and rephrasing his famous expression as a question: “…where do the limits of my language determine the limits of my world…”. Complex and often ambiguous symbolic ideas as opposed to distinctly unambiguous quasi iconic ideas shape our consciousness and allows for language to describe the in-between it is so often denied access to with its simple and constructive logic. I have written a short essay on the matter, if you want you can further dwell in this intellectual concept here (the essay is in German)…
The short is not a philosophical in itself though, instead it tries to reconcile the intellectual uncertainty mentioned above with the emotional uncertainty of our being in this world. There is a strange association I have with this emotional dilemma and the feeling I get being in the woods. Being torn between my French background (symbolized for me by the sea) and my German background (symbolized by the forest) I am equally divided between what you could call a more carnal and a more romantic view of the world that often times contradict each other. So it is with the two cultures I grew up in, the French and the German one. But the Forest has always evoked a very un-/protective feeling within me. I love being there as much as I fear it!
I did know I could not hold this up! But the main goal stays untouched: remastering and republishing my catalogue as you should being a digital artist. Codecs change, resolutions too and it is a good occasion the reassert the content and packaging of the stuff I have been producing for the last 15 years or so…
“Space – Nixon Remix” 3:41 min, DV, 2003
At height of the Afghan war (post 9/11) this video tried to bridge the historic gap between the Vietnam war & Nixon’s administration and the current events with George W. Bush in power. I don’t need to elaborate on the (military) history of Afghanistan and all its potential conquistadores starting with Alexander the Great… Afghanistan has always been an “object of desire” last not least for its opium production. But foremost it is the last gate between the Occident and the Orient geographically, culturally and politically. Now, more than 10 years later, nothing has really changed to my eyes. Afghanistan was not democratized, on the contrary, other countries like Syria, Iraq, Libya and so on have been Afghanized. And like Vietnam, Afghanistan has 40 years or more of instability and chaos waiting for…
“Space – Nixon Remix” also deals with the almost erotic relationship between high tech (i.e. space exploration during Nixon admin / bio tech during Bush admin), war (Afghanistan / Vietnam), politics (the politics of fear both parties used) and paranoia (self explanatory). The film was almost entirely live mixed to the music for 2003 was also the high time of my VJing activities and it is a testimony to that early, mainly clip based period of VJing when that art form was in its infancy.
After a short hiatus, let’s go on with our series ‘a film a day’. Today, let me present “Bastet”… This video is NSFW!
“Bastet” 2:46 min, DV, 2002
In Egyptian mythology the feminine takes many forms and disguises. One of the countless god-form and mythic figures that habit the Egyptian pantheon is Bastet. She is pretty close to what the Roman culture identifies as Venus and the Greek culture once called Aphrodite, a goddess of love and fertility. Yet it is not that simple. She is the nagging, youthful and (almost) virgin version of the woman, ‘ready for pregnancy’, in contrast to for example Sechmet, portrayed as a Lion which is more descriptive of a motherly yet fierce kind of a woman that already has given birth and now protects her own. You could say that, without uttering any personal preference, that she is the immature version of the female principle whilst other female goddesses like Sechmet (with whom she was later merged) or the fully accomplished (later) Isis represent more ‘grown up’ versions of that idea. There are many more interesting female characters in Egyptian mythology, take Maat (goddess of truth and justice) just to cite one example. But the here shown film focuses on the dichotomy between Bastet and Sechmet.
The film “Bastet” asks if there is such a thing a female (or gender) specifics, how these could be utilised and stereotyped and what our modern culture does with that. I once saw a movie, I guess it was a Tarantino one: an arms catalogue was shown where naked women presented automatic rifles. By the time I thought it was a perfect metaphor and a wonderful joke until I realized that this was actually real. Such catalogues indeed do exist… The video essay also hints at the close relationship between male dominated technology and the male sex (organ). This video is NSFW!
Today, some thoughts on the anthropocene, our relation to nature and the illusion of “the garden”.
„Inv_nat“ 3:30 min, DV, 2002
„Inv_nat“ explores the sensual relationship between 2 obvious antagonists pairings that are „nature vs. culture“ and “biology vs. technology”. In its aphoristic fashion, “inv_nat” establishes an erotic encounter between things we might find contradictory yet I believe these are not opposites but closely related and intertwined. When we speak of nature for example we think of the modern day garden that our planet has become. We have never lived in the wilderness or so it seems because the nature of the anthropocene is dominance over the wild i.e. barbaric through culture and technology resulting in culture. In other words culture is what we make of our biologic nature through usage of technology. The idea of untainted, untouched nature is a bucolic illusion, a dream of virginity, a fantasy that has found its in the fascist ideologies of the 20th century for they where rooted within those “back to nature” movements from the end of the 19th century. Take the “Volkskörper” (body of [a] people) metaphor used by the Nazis throughout their reign of terror and you’ll get what I mean.
“inv_nat” was produced for and displayed first during the exhibition “tiefergelegt” which took place in Berlin in 2002 and involved many artists that still form a collaboration network called Einheit_7 e.V..
In this series of posts I want to present to you one film a day from my video art / short film collection. I will here present remastered and annotated version of my former work starting with “city” from 2001.
„city“ 2:36 min, DV, 2001
The short „city“ was clearly influenced by the events of September 11, 2001. But it also draws its imagery and energy from the vibrant city that was Berlin in the late 90’s and early 2K’s. Nowadays (in 2014) it can be difficult imagining what open and undetermined ecosystem this city provided for its inhabitants. All the old structures had dissolved and newer ones had not yet formed. Berlin was then an open space with the promise of a free and imaginative lifestyle well hidden from the lurking eyes of neo-liberal investment bankers. It did not last very long.
Furthermore “city” deals with the permanent deconstruction / reconstruction of that organism that is a modern day metropolis but also to the permanent disorientation that goes with it. It finally is an homage to that great masterpiece that is “Berlin – Die Sinfonie der Großstadt” by Walter Ruttmann and furthermore to Dsiga Wertow and his “Man with the movie camera”.
This reminded me of a beautiful song by Susanne Vega called “solitude standing”. It features my friend and lover Sulamith Sallmann – a great photographer she is – and I invite you to get to know her work.
I love it when things go wrong. Just a little I guess. This hot city summer in Berlin is rewarding us with beautiful evenings and night skies. When trying to capture one (vain effort indeed) our newest toy, the Sony RX-100 (mark 1 mind you) did reward me with a shiny little fist degree glitch. And obviously it does not like the shallow depth of field it delivers… I liked how the little beast behaved though 😉
“glitch_pano_BLN_210714”, 3 Sony RX-100 panorama glitch collage (1st°), 8192x600px, 2014
“before the fuck”, social glitch, 4000x3000px, 2012-2013
Sometimes, no need for glitching, society glitches all by itself. Some call this post privacy art…
“before the fuck” is an ongoing series of digital stills taken from porn sites and chat pages in that particular moment, when the user / actor leaves the room and us with that distinctive feeling of loneliness and bleak despair. It is a look inside the sadness and harshness of modern day sexuality when confronted with ‘the market’.