On The Shoulders of Giants
Scientists tend to complicate their ideas. Fortunately, artists can explain us how the world works. A rocket can also be launched with a scrap car, laboratories need not be averse of eroticism and the big questions of life can easily be answered in three minutes.
Vostok ’1 – Jan Andersen
France, 2008, 35mm > video, 02:45 min
“Vostok’” takes a humorous look at the USSR’s Vostok program, which was designed to put the first human in space. Andersen recreates the launches with a dilapidated station wagon. He conveys a sense of the ramshackle nature of each launch with his makeshift launch pads, sparklers and wooden beams propping up the station wagon. The astronaut’s spacesuit looks like someone had taken a winter coat, insulated pants and a biker’s helmet, and wrapped it all in aluminium foil. Actually, it looks a little better than the suit Yuri Gagarin wore. Please Note: Vostok part ’5, ’6 and ’7 are screened as part of ‘Panorama 9: Nation Analysis’
Manifest Destiny – Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukacs
The Netherlands, 2009, video, 17:30 min
In Manifest Destiny, Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukacs explore the boundaries of what we can perceive in time and space, fictionalizing this with a voice over that is based on real stories from scientists. The video reveals the limitations of our tinted imagination, while also showing how we desire to look beyond these boundaries and conquer new territories (our Manifest Destiny). For years the fictional scientist in the voice-over – based on interviews with real scientists – has been doing research on alien planets where there may be life. In contrast, the visual narrative tells about a journey within the existing mental framework, namely a trip through outdated visions of the moon and Mars, an imaginary planet, a savage, empty Earth, and finally an observatory, the point of departure for the unknown.
Sand Saga – Shana Moulton
USA, 2008, video, 10:32 min
In Sand Saga, Moulton’s alter ego Cynthia again gains access to a parallel universe via the transformative powers of New Age body treatments and domestic objects. After applying a facial beauty mask, she moves through an environment energized with South-western motifs and rituals, from sculpted heads and Georgia O’Keefe-like forms to sand painting and hot stone massage. Ultimately Cynthia is transported to a fantastical world and emerges transformed.
Vostok ’2 – Jan Andersen
France, 2008, 35mm > video, 02:36 min
Le Grand Content – Clemens Kögler & Karo Szmit
Austria, 2007, video, 03:57 min
The wild chains of associations set in motion by Le Grand Content are insidiously translated into the language of contemporary PowerPoint presentations: pie charts, graphs and tables. Le Grand Content is a subversive undertaking: It demonstrates how systematically disorientation can take place, how logical nonsense can seem. (Stefan Grissemann)
About a World – Corinna Schnitt
Germany 2007, video, 09:00 min
In “Von einer Welt” [“About a World”], the world is an idyllic Alpine landscape of forests and meadows. A man is striding through it, alone, to stand in the next scene on a meadow with a dozen nude women lying in high grass; each is draped. The man approaches each woman individually at times tenderly, at others more overtly. His attempts at making contact remain futile, as they produce no reaction at all. The women seem to have become part of nature, as if “from another world.” With minimalist staging devices, the artist opens a discourse on the forms of aphasia between the sexes, between body and intellect, between the emotional and the rational, between nature and culture, between one world and another.
Boy / Analysis: An Abridgement of Melanie Klein’s “Narrative of a Child Analysis” – Steve Reinke
USA, 2008, video, 05:26 min
Disrupted identities and unconscious dynamics are ever-recurring motives in Steve Reinke’s work. With great rhetorical suppleness he ties together observations and speculations on ego, sexuality, nostalgia and artistic practice. The content of the rogue computer animation ‘Boy / Analysis’ is perfectly illustrated by the integral title, namely, a drastic abbreviation of Melanie Klein’s 1961 key study on child psychology. The initial 93 sessions the psychoanalyst booked with a ten-year-old boy, are reduced down to 16 by Reinke, and thoroughly illuminated.
Vostok ’3 – Jan Andersen
France, 2008, 35mm > video, 02:21 min
Secret Machine – Reynold Reynolds
Germany, 2009, video, 14:00 min
In Secret Machine, a protagonist encounters an antagonist that is studying her, measuring her body and comparing her to units of space and time. Clocks rush and her movements are calculated on a grid: the eye is observed augmented through lenses; under water her breath is submitted to a resistance rate; needles are use to quantify her reactions and pain: and storing machines capture voice and motion. For the scientist measurement is understanding. While human nature appears confined in the framework and efforts of rationality, the aspiration of trapping the soul conduce the antagonist to imagine the improvable.
Hypno Project – Doug Fishbone
United Kingdom, 2009, video, 12:55 min
“This work examines how people react to stimuli under the influence of hypnosis. I was interested to see how an audience would respond to one of my video narratives after their conscious state had been altered. I filmed a group of 12 people, all of whom had been hypnotized by a professional stage hypnotist, as they watched a new video work I made using a range of subliminal images and other kinds of prompts. Each member of the audience was given specific suggestions while under trance, instructing them to behave in certain ways at different visual and aural cues. They were then woken, and filmed as they viewed the video. The results were remarkable, and there are some very unusual moments where people responded without any self-consciousness whatsoever. Their reactions raise a broad range of questions about manipulation and behavioural conditioning, and the relativity of perception from one individual to the next. How natural are our responses to our environment, and how accurate are our perceptions?”
Vostok ’4 – Jan Andersen
France, 2008, 35mm > video, 03:51 min