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Stefan Panhans

* 1967 in Hattingen, GER
Studied at the Merz Akademie in Stuttgart, GER, and at Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Hamburg, GER


Stefan Panhans x

Pool, 2004, 07:00 min., color, sound [VIDEONALE.10]

"Listen, it's like this: we're doing this production, and we need people who believe in themselves, who know who they are and aren't afraid to show it. Real characters, one-of-a-kind, self-confident young people. You just have to be yourself, but at your best, you know? Be yourself but at its top! ... "
The completely static camera is directed at a young woman sitting in her parked compact car. This focus has the effect of making the viewer feel he is sitting with her in the car and listening to her voice against the background of birds chirping, which somehow makes the scenery seem unreal. It soon becomes apparent that she is not talking to the viewer, but that he is instead a kind of voyeur, intruding upon the protagonist during a private moment. Her view is directed within, turned away from the camera lens. Although her monologue is addressed to a "you", it seems to be the recapitulation of a casting she has just participated in. The one-sidedness of her story makes the woman into an actress, and the content presents the bizarre rules of this metier - without a hint of emotion. The title Pool becomes a play on the concept of a "casting pool" - a selection of talents from which casting directors can simply help themselves. (Nadia Ismail)


Stefan Panhans x

Freeroam À Rebours, Mod#I.1, 2016, 16:13 min. [extract 03:36 min.], colour, sound [VIDEONALE.16]

Stefan Panhans’ Freeroam À Rebours, Mod#I.1 takes as its point of departure various shortcomings in the behavior of videogame avatars controlled by human players. These ›failure scenarios‹ are transposed onto the bodies of real performers, and recreated in the medium of film. Such ›failed behaviors‹ by game avatars – including displacement activities, idling behaviors, repeated failures to perform an action, the imperfect approximations of human movements and gestures – are generally considered to be the result of inadequacies and inability, especially in a society shaped by the pressures of functionality, economic imperatives and (self-)optimization. At the interface between experimental film, videoclip, performance and contemporary dance, Panhans’ film reworks these ›mistakes‹. It shows dancers and actors who have analyzed and rehearsed the flaws in the algorithmic patterns of avatar movements, caused by the moments of uncertainty or lack of concentration in the people controlling them. The performers ›reenact‹ these mistakes against backdrops and scenery borrowed from videogames, interspersed with sequences from the games. The camerawork closely echoes the ›camera‹ movements typical of videogames, and the performers interact with both their environment and the camera operators, whose movements form part of the choreography. The digital electronic music, composed especially for the film, resembles videogame music; together with the special montage editing techniques, it gives this engaging choreography of failure an underlying rhythm. As such, Panhans’ film gives expression to an artistic form of performative resistance ›à rebours‹ for our contemporary social situation, against the goal of functionalism. (Anne Greb)

*The complete version of the work can be requested from the artist.

Stefan Panhans