As I observed and watched the work on show I responded with a sense of uncertainity as viewer. Elements of the narratives made complete sense but they also were familiar and unfamiliar, unresolved and unsettled me in parts.
I engaged with more Sonst wer wie du? Who else like you? 2005; a film by Jeanne Faust and Jorn Zehe’s because it gave me a sense of the familiar, the vast lansdcape on view seemed familiar and known to me.
I viewed a vast open field through a fixed camera offset by large mountains, levelled and centered by a horizontal industrial townscape. It seemed like a contemporary pastoral image but it wasn’t. The sounds that are heard are industrially ‘Sheffield’ like which also contrasts and merges with the vast agricultural setting. The camera’s fixed view is only disturbed by the sound of a car arriving somewhere behind the camera. Slowly a young man in a red t shirt emerges in the distance and walks towards the camera. . In some ways the scene is stangely ambient his red t shirt offsets the green of the field, his role isn’t clear but yet I knew he was a worker, possibly migrant. While he is positioned left of centre closer to the camera, a conversation is struck up between the young man and a person behind the camera. He might be the camera operator and may not be. A confused conversation builds through polish, german and english he is asked by the character behind the camera to ‘get his ticket’ and did he ‘find something?’ The unidentified off screen character builds uncertainity for me, is it an official? Someone who holds power as they seem to hold a more dominat role. As the young worker leaves the scene nothing seems resolved in the conversation. His human presence is partnered by a combine harvester entering the screen. Where does he go? Where is he from? In many ways I sense a feeling of powerlessness as a result as nothing seems resolved.
Tessa Giblin’s gallery guide claims what issues part one of this part two show might address, particularly that a crisis may emerge while Ireland declines further into recession possibly effecting an upsurge in Irish Nationalism. This seems a little nebulous. The context of the work on show reflects centres of conflict in Europe and the impact of colonial powers and its systems it imposes. The strongest parralell presently is Ireland’s current recession and the vulnerability of the migrant worker trying to work legally or illegally and the implicit and explicit systems that control that experience. Not surprisingly I am interested to view how artists will view an Irish context before the period of crisis has hit.
Notes about the artists:
Jeanne Faust and Jorn Zehe are german artists living and working in Hamburg. Both have worked on a variety of video projects together and Faust is strongly influenced by Fassbinder. Faust’s intention is to confront and specualte on the viewers prior experience of film and television through her own film footage.