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’.
Yola Icho, Enkidu rankX & Minna Partanen performing “The code is cold – manifesto” live @ Krankenhauskirche Wuhletal. More pictures by Sulamith Sallmann are to be found here >>
Upcomming events: guided tour – 25th @ 14:00 & 31st @ 16:00 „GLITCH / der Fehler im System als Saat der Kreativität“ Discussion and Narrativ (StoryNetWork ‘Overluminated’) with Enkidu rankX (artist), Pippa Chase (philosopher and FEMEN activist), Rachel Clarke (storyteller & theater activist)