HD video on double screen (2 x 16:9), 12:59 minSIMULTAN or duplicitous consent is a video installation inspired by Ingeborg Bachmann’s short story Simultan.
In the story, a simultaneous translator experiences a loss of self, and a sense of deep alienation from her own (professional) life, due to the incommensurability of various clashing languages, platitudes and social codes, none of which she assumes to be her own. The idea of a loss of identity and personal orientation is taken up in the staging of the video.Two separate kitchens served as stages, each occupied by one of two actress, both dressed alike. Each of the actresses was given a longer script, one in English, one in German. Both scripts were composed by way of automatic writing, and address the economic exploitation and exacerbation of psychological trauma, precarity, and a loss of orientation.
The scripts were supplemented with visual cues for the actresses that directed their manner of speaking.
Instructions were, for example, to read the text as fast as possible, to shout or whisper certain lines, to inject phrases like “SORRY!”, or to clear one’s throat.Through these Brechtian techniques the hasty, neurotic flow of the script is destroyed and mechanized. As the actresses were reading their scripts as fast as they could, I performed actions in the kitchen involving toast, fire, wine glasses, and water. The sounds produced by these actions served as the material for the musical soundtrack of the video. Most of the video footage is blurry, making it unclear how many actresses are involved in the video, and who is speaking in what language. Occasionally, a sharp image, a moment of clearity, orients the gaze of the viewer and gives hints as to what’s happening in the scenes displayed.