Notes on Film 02
Video, 96 min, 2005
with Ursula Strauss, Lutz Wiskemann
Music: Bernhard Lang
Camera: Dariusz Kowalski
Realisation: Norbert Pfaffenbichler
In a delusion repetition is based on repetitions, difference is based on differences. The repetitions are repeated, the differentiating elements are differentiated.
This experiment on the theme of difference and repetition combines methods employed in structural film with elements of narrative cinema. Moments from the life of a heterosexual couple were arranged in sequence on the basis of a simple alphanumeric editing concept.
Robert Frank’s film “O.K End Here” (USA, 1963) provided the content. Obviously, this work was greatly influenced by the Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni. Frank attempted to translate Antonioni’s film grammar to his own environment, the New York of the Beat Generation, in doing so ignoring film conventions to a large extent and producing highly individual visual compositions and sequences of cuts. The motivation to borrow from this work when making N. o. F. 02 was firstly the fact that the original source itself represented an attempt to translate an aesthetic form, and secondly because of its intentional disregard of the conventional rules of filmmaking. Furthermore N. o. F. 02 contains additional references to classics of the late Modern. The purpose of this mosaic of quotes is to question the way in which moving images work.
The element of repetition is inscribed into the medium of film in many different ways. One of the purposes of the filmmaking apparatus is identical repetition of the unchanging. In N. o. F. 02 this mindless, mechanical repetition serves as the basic framework of the elliptical, numerically based narrative. When a film is shot, the actors in front of the camera often have to act out each scene numerous times, and the director and editor decide later which take will be used in the final product. In the case of N. o. F. 02 this decision has been left up to the audience to a certain extent so as to create an open artwork. A system which is open as possible is incorporated into one which is rigid as possible. An unavoidable part of editing a film is watching it innumerable times in fragmentary form, and as a result the attention shifts from the content to formal details. The moving images become abstract in a certain sense, and N. o. F. 02 will enable the audience to experience this process. In commercial cinema the same stories are constantly recycled with the same means. This constant repetition of familiar and proven material is a consequence of the market’s logic. In observance of dramatic conventions, most fiction films progress toward a definite conclusion in a more or less straight line. In N. o. F. 02 this aspect is caricatured by means of the primitive linear editing technique. Because of video’s extreme harshness a radically contrary position is assumed with regard to the entertainment industry’s audiovisual products and also aesthetistic tendencies in the contemporary “avant-garde”?which is actually a misnomer. N. o. F. 02 does not “work” because neither “working” nor being instrumentalized can be the task of experimental film art. The musical accompaniment to this concept film is by composer Bernhard Lang.