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Bridget Walker [Videonale.14]

 

Helen Benigson [Videonale.14] x

The Future Queen of the Screen, 2011, 9:18 min., colour, sound [Videonale.14]

Video extract

The to-date most extensive video by Englishwoman Helen Benigson, “The Future of the Queen of the Screen”, combines contrasting visual worlds: the South London borough of Peckham and panoramic views of the beaches of the Dead Sea alternate with a virtual desertscape. The main protagonists are two female hip-hop dancers who compete both in real and in fictitious dance competitions in the shape of avatars and upload their choreographies to an internet platform. This narrative montage is interrupted by sequences showing a woman adrift in the sea, an appearance by the artist herself. Benigson’s video art is characterised by a complex visual language. Over-saturated colours and partially psychedelic elements are combined to form collage-like passages which blend impressions of nature with aggressive hip-hop gestures. What becomes particularly apparent here is the antagonism of ‘wet and dry’, accentuated by the lines of text and the sequence of images. On top of this, feminine attributes like the graduation of pink colouring in the shots, cross fading using larger than life sushi bites, rosebuds and also the female body are used in an aggressive fashion. The polemic interaction of image material, off commentary and musical accompaniment using rap by Beningson’s alter ego “Princess Belsize Dollar” persistently evokes sexual connotations and provocatively draws on the treatment of female sexuality in the internet age.

Ann-Kathrin Täuber

 

Clemens Krauss & Benjamin Heisenberg [Videonale.14] x

ER, 2012, 5:15 min., Sound, Colour [Videonale.14]

Film sequences, taken amateurishly with a handheld camera, are strung together. They document the life of a fictitious character known only as “Er”. The subject is a boy, described as psychopathic, who grows up in a rural environment near the German-Austrian border and blackmails his parents with outbursts of rage and simulated epileptic fits. A computer-generated voice relates this boy’s history, but in several places the found-footage material does not match the text. Although the voice carries on without a break, scattered film material and coloured areas repeatedly interrupt the individual film sequences. A feeling of uncertainty about the person described creeps up on the viewer and the total lack of emotion in the digitally-generated voice adds to this.
The film material comes from the private collection of Austrian artist Clemens Krauss and German film director Benjamin Heisenberg. Since their adolescence they have created an enormous amount of video material, which they edited in 2011 to produce the film collage “Er”.

Jennifer Eggert

 

Daniel Laufer [Videonale.14] x

Fifth Wall, 2011, 8:13 min., sound, colour [Videonale.14]

“Fifth Wall” is based on a Chassidic parable. It tells of two men who were each given the job of decorating one half of a house. While one of them carries out his task conscientiously, the other is lazy and takes his time. In the last moment however, he manages to paint his half of the house with pitch, and this reflects the other’s work in its glistening surface. The text is interrupted by film sequences. Laufer carries the viewer off to a mediterranean villa. Switching between views of the landscape and the interior of the villa, the camera follows the actors as they move through the house or its surroundings. But what their actions and conversations mean is not clear. The figure of a writer, who writes down the story as it unfolds, acts as a direct bridge to the parable. The reflection motif can be seen at many places in the video. With the work’s title, Laufer is making a word play on a similar term used in film and theatre studies – the Fourth Wall: An imaginary wall which, in the theatre, stands between the stage and the auditorium. In the world of video an additional fifth wall, the projection, forces itself between the observer and the image. Laufer comes dangerously close to this wall by interlacing the levels of reception and action. Just as the reflecting wall of the parable is able to project the work of the other man into the newly opened dimension of a fifth wall, enabling it to be perceived in a new way, so does Laufer explore the possibilities of the artistic medium video in his work.

Stefanie Krämer

 

Chang-Jin Lee [Videonale.14] x

Comfort Women Wanted, 2011, 46:48 (10) min., Sound, Black/White [Videonale.14]

In her film „Comfort women wanted“, Chang-Jin Lee tells the disturbing story of more than 200.000 young women who were misused as sex slaves by the Japanese army during the Second World War. The video comprises six episodes; the facts about the war crimes are related in highly personal interviews. The first interview, an introduction to this theme, is with one of the perpetrators, a former soldier of the Japanese army. For her film the artists also selected five women as witnesses of those times. They live in the Netherlands, China, Korea, Indonesia and Taiwan and were forced to work in brothels, which were known under the euphemistic name “comfort stations”. In the film we hear only the voices of those interviewed, on the screen we see black-and-white photographs with rapidly changing subtitles in English. These show us blurred pictures of the six protagonists. The women are representatives of the fate which thousands suffered. They came to terms with their destiny in various ways and have now found the courage to relate even the most intimate details of their fate. They are fighting for justice, for till today there has been no discussion in Japan about the problem of forced prostitution.

Anastasia Antropova

 

Mauricio Limón [Videonale.14] x

El primero que ría, 2012, 12:17 min., sound, colour [Videonale.14]

“El primero que ría” is a two-channel video which presents two business suited men with physical traits identifiable as those of the indigenous peoples of Mexico. Identical settings appear in both videos: a deserted landscape of shrubs and rocks. In one of the videos, a long shot of the pair provides a sense of space, while in the other the camera rotates slowly and constantly around the characters. The men play a variation of a French children’s game: “Le jeu de la barbichette”. Both players hold each other by the chin and recite a text which translates to: “I have you, / you have me / by the chin / The first one of us / to laugh / will get a slap.” While in the original version of the game the loser is slapped, in this setting he takes off a piece of clothing. The winner then holds him by the head and bends him over mimicking a fellatio. Nothing is playful about this game. Two men are trapped in an absurd loop, during which each of them plays his role with apathy and bears the consequences with resignation. They execute their actions in a severe mood, making the laughter sound artificial and forced. The process of undressing progressively exposes them to the desolate surroundings, making them appear defenseless, but also revealing them in their own physical nature. During this process, previously hidden marks on the bodies of these men are uncovered: tattoos and scars carve their skins strikingly. All these elements add up to a harsh denunciation of the present state of Mexican society. In the end, both men face each other completely naked and maintaining the initial position: holding each other by the chin.


Federico Alvarez Igarzábal

 

Melanie Manchot [Videonale.14] x

Leap after The Great Ecstasy, 2011, 20:03 (5:50) Min, Colour, Sound [Videonale.14]

 

 

 

Hardly any other sport seems, for a short moment, to approach the perfect illusion as closely as ski jumping. Year after year television once again shows us sportsmen who seem to sail weightlessly through the air, cheering spectators and euphoric reporters. The British artist Melanie Manchot’s images also examine these sporting events. Inspired by Werner Herzog’s documentary Die Ekstase des Bildschnitzers Steiner (1974), however, she presents the spectacle in a different light. An alpine landscape at night, surrounded by Swiss mountains, the snow-covered, pristine ski-jump, the monotonous sound of snow machines, the dazzling floodlights. All these turn the venue into a picturesque scene in which the frenzy of the competition is not yet visible. The scenes of this two-channel video work are shown in parallel. In them Manchot contradicts the typical impression given by the television reports, that most of the ski jumpers are superhuman. During the competition the camera observes the young contestants in the waiting room while they are readying themselves for the decisive jump. Close-ups of their faces reveal not merely their concentration and their focussing on victory, but also the tension and the nervousness just before it’s their turn. Unlike the TV pictures, however, Manchot denies us the resolution– the liberation of a successful landing – by leaving the typical picture of their flight to the viewer. Only an acoustic reference – the hiss of their skis on the in-run – provides an impression of the decisive moment, the take off, when all tension falls away.

Agnieszka Smyrek

 

Dani Marti [Videonale.14] x

Bacon's Dog, 2010, 11:30 min, Colour, Sound [Videonale.14]

A naked man lies on an unmade bed. Arms and legs stretched out, his body at rest. The picture disappears into the darkness and is replaced by a close-up of the man’s torso and his right arm. The following sequences show, in details or as full shots, the bodies of two men who indulge in their sexual desires or lie exhausted beside one another. Sometimes the scenes alternate between the screens of the two-channel work, sometimes they are visible on both at the same time. In the room we hear the strident noise of traffic, the ticking of a clock. We also hear sounds made by the protagonists and their thoughts. The video by Spanish artist Dani Marti is the intimate snapshot of the first sexual experience of Peter Fay, a 65 year old author, curator and art collector from Sydney. In his portrayal Marti, who himself appears in the role of the other man, lays emphasis on the hands, which serve both as an instrument for experiencing an unknown body and also to satisfy the sexual drive. They feel, touch and grasp the other person and further a new self-awareness. Before it came to physical intimacy between the two men, Peters laid his soul bare. In emails, which Marti handled in his video “My Sad Captain”, he gave an account of his childhood, his longings and his wishes without holding anything back. Both works were simultaneously premiered in Sydney in 2010.

Sonja Schacht

 

Frances Scholz [Videonale.14] x

Episodes of Starlite I-V, 2011-12, 50 min., Sound, Colour [Episode the Fifth "Manse of Manor Tril"] [Videonale.14]

Pictures projected on a woman’s naked body and on untouched landscapes act as the stage for the battle of the sexes. The film “Episodes of Starlight 1-V” (2011-2012) by artist and film maker Frances Scholz is based on a fantasy-tale by the American science fiction author Mark von Schlegell. In five episodes the film illustrates the concept of a matriarchal monarchy threatened by male opponents. The scene of the story is a fictional continent shaped like the body of a goddess. As inspiration, the naked female body repeatedly emerges from the various zones of the overlaid projections. The episodes demonstrate the stages of the creation of a myth by combining elements such as musical performance, theatre and light and documenting them. In irregular sequences, the tale shows extracts from the making-of of a mythical, imaginary film, while fragments of the original tale can be heard off-camera. The work modifies archetypes of fantasy genre by showing them from the perspective of art and of the female sex. This abstract film attempts to develop its own iconography separately from the traditional art-historical role. Its purpose is to reverse this, to show it “as a fantasy of pure light, pure filmic art and painting” (Frances Scholz), free of gender roles and idealised pictures.

Veronika Kornas und Sabine Schiffer

 

Evamaria Schaller [Videonale.14] x

Die Wilderin von Montafon, 2011, 21:20 min., sound, colour [Videonale.14]

The eye tracks across a mountain panorama, from afar it fixes on the details of a cabin, bird song can be heard. The first scene in Eva Maria Schaller’s “Die Wilderin von Montafon” (The poacher of Montafon) shows a picturesque idyll. Pictures of mountains, wild rivers and green forests run through the whole film. Nature is the defining motif and in places the film is reminiscent of a “Heimatfilm” (homeland film). These idylls are interrupted by surreal scenes in which a young woman binds herself to a tree using cling film, or runs through the wood wearing antlers, just like a hunted deer. The protagonist does not merely live in the middle of nature, she literally merges with it. Documentary-like scenes, in which an older huntress appears, are edited into this surreal tale. The hunting scenes of the younger and the older woman are woven into a puzzling storyline whose incongruent visual language is reinforced by the use of various film formats. Close-ups of water, hide, meat and wood give the film a strong haptic effect. The artist, who is also the actress, examines the historical figure of the Wilderin von Montafon, who was active in the Austrian mountains in the 1980s. Since it was not possible to depict the poacher herself, the artist interpreted the events after her own fashion.

Stefanie Maria Weisshorn

 

Lina Selander [Videonale.14] x

Anteroom of the Real, 2012, 14 min., no sound, colour [Videonale.14]

In “Anteroom of the Real” Lila Selander uses photographs to tell a tale running backwards in time. The photographs are stacked on a black background, which gives the appearance of a passe-partout frame. Every few seconds the topmost picture is removed by a woman’s hand, revealing the one underneath. Lina Selander takes the viewer “by the hand” and leads them through a sequence of photographs back to the starting point of the tale.

Bit by bit, the viewer is confronted with the catastrophe of the Chernoby atomic power station and its effects. To start with, they see pictures of the deserted, ruined city Prypjat: The camera’s journeys through the empty rooms of a school or a factory show the destruction of the settlement. The tension rises as the sequence of photographs runs towards the final picture. This shows a hand on one of the power station’s control switches, visualising the instant which led to the far-reaching catastrophe of April 26 1986. The film is notable for the absence of sound and its unmoving pictures. In this way the emphasis lies on the photographs shown and their inherent tale.

Daniela Pöstinger

 

Martin Skauen [Videonale.14] x

Slideshow Johnny, 2012, 18 min., sound, colour [Videonale.14]

In his video, Martin Skauen shows the life and creative activities of Johnny, a fictional artist. In six episodes an unkempt young man appears and presents his scurrilous works in various ways – as a slide show, an appearance on stage, a philosophical writing session in a toilet, or a pseudoscientific experiment. Images and words appear in unusual combinations and strongly influence the public’s perception and reaction. The use of canned laughter, reminiscent of a sitcom, turns the viewers into part of a fictional audience and encourages them to become involved in what is taking place. As the episodes unfold, the viewer witnesses a gradual change in the relationship between the artist and his public. With the addition of material from other sources, the original situation develops from a small scale performance to an esoteric spectacular with an almost worshipful horde of spectators.

The content and point of reference of the video refer to current trends and media appearances of our time and prompt us to think about the impact of the media nowadays. The variability of people’s cheerfulness and the unpredictable logic of the masses is held against the artist’s attempts, now helpless, now exalted, to meet the tastes of the masses.

Jacqueline Knöll

 

Gabriele Stellbaum [Videonale.14] x

Honest Lies, 2011, 9:45 min., sound, colour [Videonale.14]

Night-time. Under the electric strip lighting a woman wearing old-fashioned clothes drives an old-timer through a deserted car park, seemingly without a goal. On the back seat sits a young girl. Now and then the driver looks back at her with an expression of concern.  The camera records signs which say “one way only” or “no entry”. Although the leading lady says nothing, we hear her hypnotic voice: She is letting us listen to her thoughts on morals, responsibility, and the feeling of helplessness of the opposition to an unspecified totalitarian system. The images repeatedly illustrate what she is thinking when long tracking-shots film the endless labyrinth of the car park and her voice speaks about an “architecture of lies”. The flow is interrupted by leaps in time and picture taken outside the car park in a wood or on a boat. An orange-coloured file, which is passed on during secret handovers  accompanied by music from a spy film, has symbolic meaning. While the solitary car drives back and forwards on the parking deck, the voice speaks about the possibilities of undercover operations and blackmail. Arrows point in numerous directions, but for her there seems to be no way out of the situation. The viewer is held captive in the woman’s inner conflict and accompanies her on her never ending drive round the park house. But are her stories true or are they perhaps only metaphors for her thoughts?

Kim Mildebrath 

 

Arthur Tuoto [Videonale.14] x

Mãos Mortas, 2012, 05:42 min., sound, black/white [Videonale.14]

At the very beginning of the video voices can be heard. Nothing can be seen. Haltingl off-screen voices discuss their relationship and the depth of their love. The black of the screen is relieved by the dialogue from the film J’entends plus la guitarre (1991, Director: Philippe Garrel). Flickering white spots break through the monochrome black of the screen, just like early cinema films. Suddenly we hear music. It looks as though a second part of the film is about to begin. The screen still stays dark, but with the white flashes stills of Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe also appear, conjuring up a previous era of the cinema. Both the music and the editing suggest movement in the stills. A piano plays the same melody over and over again, waking an association with the musical accompaniment of silent films, strengthening the kinematic effect and lending the pulsating appearance of the images a life of its own. In fact though, the crackling sound recalls the surface noise of a record player which, just like the flickering of the black and white images, seems like interference. The film ends as abruptly as it started. The last photograph catches the kiss of two lovers. The music falls silent. It is dark again.

Christian Mertmann

 

Bridget Walker [Videonale.14] x

Le Spectre Silencieux du Mouvement, 2012, 6:27 min., sound, colour [Videonale.14]

Can animation and reality merge, not just as a film effect but also in everyday life? “The Silent Spectre of Motion” plays with this idea when the artist, dressed as a ghost, plays a game of deception using various media. The genres drawing, comics, animation and documentation are literally stirred together. The three-part video work begins with two academics who discuss and then solve a rebus, accompanied by an abstract series of geometrical patterns reminiscent of an aggressive video game. In the second section of the video the artist transforms herself into a ghost. Walker cuts a piece of material out of her white cloak and changes this into a manuscript scroll. This gives rise to numerous manuscripts, each of which is unfurled. In this way are revealed, for example, the plans of military equipment which animation techniques then bring to life. The final part is documentary and records the experiment of fiction which has become reality. People from the immediate surroundings are interviewed about the artist’s transformation into a ghost, letting the real and imaginary world merge into one another. The question about the possibility or impossibility of what has taken place remains unanswered.

Alexander Pütz

 

Gernot Wieland [Videonale.14] x

Things that leave me sleepless, 2012, 20:46 min., sound, colour [Videonale.14]

The video is about the history of US (eating) culture, religiousness, a best friendship and where heroes are produced. In the style of a lecture performance, Gernot Wieland’s video “Things that leave me sleepless” introduces us to partly real and partly imaginary events and experiences of everyday life in America and Austria. The speaker is sitting at a lectern on which a microphone, a glass of water and a laptop stand. His lecture is in English and the background is a PowerPoint presentation showing pictures which illustrate his lecture. These include photographs of people, sketches by Wieland and the invitation to a birthday party, full of colourful clouds. The two main themes of his tale are his school exchange in the USA and his friendship with his best friend Christian; these he combines with theoretical aspects of psychoanalysis (Freud, Lacan), the theory and history of art (White Cube, Tatlin), and cultural-historical topics (the American Myth). This mixture of personal, biographical experiences dressed up with academic general knowledge creates an amusing confrontation between cultural stereotypes and the academic use of language, based here upon the modern theme of the hero in the USA. Whether the work is a persiflage on contemporary, theory-saturated artistic life or a poetic performative work of art is an open question.

Sabine Halver

 

Anna Zett [Videonale.14] x

Dinosaur.gif, 2014, 20:59 min., sound, colour [Videonale.14]

»Gertie, be a good girl and bow to the audience.«

»The beast looked upon the face of beauty, and beauty stayed his hand. And from that day forward, he was as one dead.«

»Welcome to Jurassic Park!«

In her video essay, film maker and author Anna Zett mirrors the institution of the cinema with its genre of dinosaur and King-Kong films. From the early days of cinema with animation and stop motion to the digital breakthrough in the 1990s, the artist shows us the various stages of this multifaceted world of screenland. Besides Steven Spielberg’s JURASSIC PARK (1993) and Joe Johnston’s sequels, classics like GERTIE THE DINOSAUR (1914) and KING KONG (1933) must not be omitted – all of them made using the most advanced technology of their time. Technology is also the star of Zett’s video. Not only as its theme but in its structure: She works with a series of GIF-images, each with its own commentary, which in a programme scroll upwards one after the other and act as a media-aesthetic framework. The presentation of the dinosaurs is to be seen somewhat contradictorily: On the one hand Zett’s work presents them as relicts of prehistoric times, on the other as the emblem of the latest technology, as, for example, in Spielberg’s science-fiction-horror film. Will the new technology triumph over the older one? Will the plot be destroyed by new filmic technologies? These are the questions the artist asks in DINOSAUR.GIF, a homage to screenland but also a form of nostalgic criticism on the modernisation of film.

Xhesika Hoxha

 

Tobias Yves Zintel [Videonale.14] x

Earthly Powers, 2011, 38:00 min., sound, colour [Videonale.14]

Deserted hotels, run down bungalows and garbage are all that remain to remind us of the Catskills of the 50s to the 70s. In those days, this region in Upstate New York was a holiday paradise offering vaudevilles, comedy shows and Broadway pre-releases. In Zintel’s experimental documentary, the Munich band Pollyester perform in those summer resorts, nowadays a mere shadow of their past selves. Between musical performances and views of abandoned places, the inhabitants of the small artists’ colony talk about their lives in the Catskill Mountains. The Church of The Little Green Man, a deconsecrated church with a maypole, where Mike Osterhout celebrates anti-dogmatic performance masses with his community, is the central meeting point for several generations: with his photo series, Raymon Elouza documents  the structural change and challenges the American dream as an anachronism. Al Defino, who accompanied Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and other stars on his guitar during the resort’s glory days. tells of better times. New York producer Josh Druckman, who moved there and turned an old farmhouse into a recording studio, is also portrayed. The former dancer Beverly Spiri contributes her voice to the Pollyester recordings made there. Zintel’s work, named after Anthony Burgess’ novel “Earthly Power”, mixes documentary and incidental material, refers back to the visual language of music clips and explores the possibilities of artistic appropriation.

Larissa Berger

Videonale.14 (February 15 – April 7, 2013 at Kunstmuseum Bonn)

2116 submssions (from 70 countries)

41 selected works

Competition Jury:
Heike Ander, Katerina Valdivia Bruch, Keren Cytter, Philipp Fürnkäs, Jennifer Gassmann, Tasja Langenbach, Rolf Quaghebeur, Sabine Maria Schmidt, Olaf Stüber

The Videonale Award was received by Christian Jankowski („Casting Jesus“).

Artistic director: Tasja Langenbach

More information at:  v14.videonale.org