Admiration and desire for one another as well as for the material and technical devices is inherent in every image we see. The camera / the technical eye; the gaze / the human eye is often sliding. We see long glances, busy hands and gestures, queer flirtations between humans as well as non-humans: A fag god shirt plays an important role, so too does a glamorous pink shower curtain.
Watching İpek Hamzaoğlu, Laura Nitsch and Sophie Thun doing their work, through their cameras, tracing each other, as much as they trace other people’s gaze, is rather personal. And at the same time we are following filmmakers doing their job: Departing from a commission to artistically accompany the implementation of the Austrian pavilion during the Venice Biennale 2019 and its representative artist Renate Bertlmann, this year’s girl becomes a film on making moving images together, as artists and friends, professionally and collectively. The three filmmakers unravel as protagonists of their own material – besides Renate Bertlmann – they become this year’s girl(s) as well; a circumstance perhaps not everyone within the audience might recognise: As a spectator we are thrown into a reference system where some of the tools for decryption might be missing, making the film a very intimate fragment. In parallel, it shows the prestigious aspects of this high-attention-economy-event – with all of its camera teams and expertisms – which the filmmakers are part of as well. Still, it remains vague, as if it’s either in ironic distance or in admiration for this specific part of the art world, or both. When for instance, the camera follows Renate Bertlmann while walking performatively through the Austrian pavilion (always focusing slightly more on the fuss around her then on the artist herself) or when the camera of the collective seemingly coincidentally tracks the police and their guard dog while patrolling the area of the closely monitored Biennale.
and I’ll focus on your eye and not your camera eye, I think
İpek Hamzaoğlu, Laura Nitsch and Sophie Thun weave their networks of friends, accomplices, associates and references over time and space. Chronology is as fuzzy as it is sometimes incomprehensible: It often remains unclear what is being filmed, with what kind of device, and by whom. This is the multitude come to life in manners and modes of working together: Positions and styles change and overlap, always a bit uncertain and opaque, as is my position to write this text, to be a protagonist in the movie and to sing in one of the scenes depicting the choir Mala Sirena. Being part of a choir is just another way to work collectively. Where the result becomes so much more than voices adding up, in other words, one voice upon another voice upon another voice. Rather, they rise in a polyphony together that becomes a body larger than their individual parts. The camera – sometimes in the rhythm of the choir’s sound – pans across the room, at times almost beyond recognition, just to stop on one of the faces. The imagery could be read as a metaphor for modes of listening to a choir, where only rarely a singular voice can be distinguished from the multitude. Only plurality is able to create this specific kind of music, and more distinctly, this very specific kind of film.