Saturday, February 01, 2014


DocPoint Vanishing Point, Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 1 Feb 2014.
Prints from sixpackfilm. Total duration 82 min
In the presence of VALIE EXPORT, introduced by Mika Taanila.

Programme notes by Mika Taanila.

Special bonus: Tapp und Tastkino (AT 1968) 2 min, Betacam SP PAL, seen two days ago, was repeated.

Delta. Ein Stück
AT 1976–77, 17 min
Cinematography: Mike Steiner. Production: Mike Steiner / Intermedia Art Team Studiogalerie, Berlin.
Betacam SP PAL, English subtitles

"The bond between the shoulders is replaced by a binding attached to the hand. I write the following with a severely restricted hand: The power of the powerless is silence. At the tip of the triangular plane, which is repeatedly struck by a fist in a cast - as a form of expression, to make an utterance, to find one’s own sound. (...) The triangle becomes a hatchet. With the hatchet in hand, the field of action is destroyed, as the power of women lies not in the tiresome representation of how easy they are to please, on the way from Virgin Mary to lawfully wedded wife, we have found detours from married life, diversions that create a final gulf/cut between the trade-offs between body and mind." (VALIE EXPORT)

AA: Expanding the boundaries of performance. A symbolic action towards a metal delta, chalking the words "Wort" - "Antwort" - "Verantwortung" while enduring a male pig voice repeating the curse "dreckige Sau". Face painted, touching the mirror, facing the audience in the mirror.

AT 1984, colour, 18 min
Cinematography: Fritz Köberl; Sound: Hans Hartel; Actress: Irmelin Hoffer, Production: VALIE EXPORT Filmproduktion, Wien.
16 mm

"My work in the area of short film focuses on working out what is essential to a film, to define it as a self-sufficient and closed artistic system; so that I can make use of the single operators, such as image and sound and expand on their creative possibilities of association. The actual significant operators such as film strip, framing, image content, image construction, montage, movement of the camera, visual effects, the interaction of the visual with the audio, etc., are combined with the cultural codes to create a syntactic construction, out of which a film is born." (VALIE EXPORT)

AA: My favourite VALIE EXPORT film in these two shows: a metastudy in reflection. Splitting the image, reflecting on the reflection, exposing the actress's naked body, juxtaposing it with its image. The positive and the negative. Colour and black and white. Projecting the image on the page of a book. The waves reach the beach. Writing the word WELLE (the wave). The feet in the sand, and in a cast. The image has been doubled, then it is split in four ways. A beautiful print.

Elfriede Jelinek. News from Home 18.8.88
AT 1988, colour, 31 min
Cinematography: Peter Roehsler. Sound: Hannes Deinböck. Production: ORF Wien.
Betacam SP PAL

"Writer Elfriede Jelinek has repeatedly made statements about her television-watching habits. She watches a great deal, a wide variety of what is broadcast, though rarely for pleasure or the purpose of gaining knowledge. On the contrary, the TV program is one of her favorite objects of study. Three separate times on a particular day, while sitting in a comfy TV chair, she commented on Austrian TV news for VALIE EXPORT." (Brigitta Burger-Utzer)

AA: A straight record of the Nobel prize winner Elfriede Jelinek's acerbic running commentary on television news, the topics ranging from - a German hostage crisis tragically botched by the police - Zia the president of Pakistan being killed in an airplane explosion - Haider's populist proclamations - Bush as a candidat for presidency - Mandela - steel workers get to produce plant humus.

AT 1997, 4 min, colour, silent
Location: Salzburger Landesklinik-PMU

"A medical camera films the vaginal area of performer VALIE EXPORT. It penetrates her body. In the same way as in various installations that investigate the origin of the voice through filming of the glottis, the vagina's interior is made visible here for the purpose of demonstrating what happens inside the body." (Brigitta Burger-Utzer)

AA: Endoscopic camera footage from inside her vagina. Red meat.  

I turn over the pictures of my voice in my head
AT 2009, colour, 12 min
The performance produced for the Venezia Biennale.
Betacam SP PAL. Original in German, with English subtitles

"The rebellious voice, the split voice. The voice is suture, the voice is seam, the voice is cut, the voice is tear, the voice is my identity, it is not body or spirit, it is not language or image, it is sign, it is a sign of the images, it is a sign of sensuality. It is a sign of symbols, it is boundary. It speaks the "split body," it is hidden in the clothing of the body, it is always somewhere else. The breath of life is its source." (VALIE EXPORT: Segment from the spoken text)

"How strenuous it is to speak! Particularly in a video intended to be seen from the outside! In VALIE EXPORT's video, the inside is turned to the outside. This does not happen by itself, it has to be forced. The voice has to come from a larynx displayed from the inside out. For this, a device is needed. How strenuous it is to let the voice out! Often, exertion comes from things and beings that should not be let out. Wild animals? The voice is the wild animal, which should be restrained from the outside world, but the struggle here is the eruption. The eruption of the voice-volcano. This voice is not silent. The purpose of this device is to hold back the voice so that it can be studied; so the active vocal chords can be observed. But there the voice, suddenly, forces itself out through an opening, which does not want to be opened! The outside is there, please, voice, come out! It can always come out, but only through this small device, which lays bare the vocal labia, lapped around by saliva, by juices - a woman's only means of representation - something fluid, which otherwise you rarely get to see (therefore the more curious we are! Immediately you want to look inside. Please – go ahead!). The voice obtains consciousness through this laryngoscope, and can make essential statements such as she: speaks. The larynx is the emergence, in fact the permitting of emergence. Yes, that's what it's here for! It lets out what should be confined: the voice, in a language which someone, anyone must understand, yes, must! Otherwise there is no speech and the voice is of no use; so speak up, speech! From constant sealing: let it out and speak up! Leaving cover behind only to discover a pointed rifle. The voice has to leave cover; needing a device to sound things out to separate the voice from its home, the larynx, and to chase it off. The voice is forced to do something, which it likes to do anyway. This is the biggest effort: to do something that is permitted, but intrinsically separated from the world. It forges its path before it is entirely lost." (Excerpt from Elfriede Jelinek's text "Intolerated, impatient sealing (oh, voice!)")

AA: Laryngoscopic footage from inside her throat, with a focus on the larynx. "Die Stimme ist der Riss".

The last two films yet again transcend the boundaries of performance, going inside the performer, to the most intimate areas, yet revealing that there is nothing to see. The last two films in their rugged ugliness and awfulness are acts of utter demythologization. I also thought that if the last two films were merged, they could be called "Vagina Monologues".


Anton Asikainen said...

Applause for the closing joke! Nice one, as they say. I did not like the films in this screening - projections were truly ugly -, except Syntagma; I thought that the woman walking on the street and on various steps was VALIE and the naked model was Irmelin Hoffer?

Antti Alanen said...

Corrected based on your remark.