a film by Martin Arnold

VIDEO-INSTALLATION | 2002 | Austria | 60 min | Color | Digital

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The avant-garde filmmaker Martin Arnold subjects a legendary American horror movie of 1941 to radical cinematographic surgery. Actors disappear thanks to digital technology, leaving the cinematic space to become the actual leading actor in a precise and absurdly comical new interpretation. Arnold transforms the original movie "The Invisible Ghost", in which a wife hypnotises her husband into a murder plot, into "Deanimated" - a study in the increasing disintegration of actor movies; at its close the camera's eye wanders through sets devoid of human life where the lights literally seem to have gone out. Death becomes, in "Deanimated", the fury of disappearence which gives witness to an "unbearable transition beyond existence" (Georges Bataille). The madness has been inscribed into the faces. The ecstasy of effacement, the annihilation of being, the hypostatisation of the inorganic, the searching glance, which no longer meets with any species of recognition - those are the relays which prepare the transition to a catatonic rigidity. (Thomas Miessgang) Martin Arnold: DEANIMATED from October 11 at the Kunsthalle Wien Martin Arnold created three new works for the "Deanimated" exhibition: "Deanimated" embarks on the radical depopulation of the screen and the auditorium; in "Dissociated" and "Forsaken", he employs double projections for breaking up the traditional "picture frame" situation of the cinema. For the two double projections the eye of the observer needs to liberate itself from the central perspective and adjust itself anew in order to discover individual axes of sight and time windows in the simultaneity of cinematographic events. While Arnold's earlier films dealt with the moment of over-emphasis through the repetition of the ever-alike, the subject of the "Deanimated" films is the idea of disappearing. This old motif, familiar from crime and horror movies, is intensified and escalated here: Essential protagonists of the plot are deleted from the film by 'digital compositing', the mouths of couples engaged in a dialogue are morphed closed, orchestral film music surges up to add a dramatic emphasis to non-events. What remains are only traces of events, scanty circumstantial evidence of happenings whose origins are left unexplained: dust whirling up, the sound of gunshots, the horror reflected on the face of a woman recoiling from the void. The "Deanimated" exhibition infuses the well-oiled Hollywood storytelling machine with a stutter, depicting the system of great narratives in a state of disintegration. "Martin Arnold does not aim at replacing old tales by new ones but at reporting the real presence of that which is absent. Colours, contrasts and rhythms touch the observer in a sphere not related to language and logic", says the director. "They communicate on deeper levels. I would say that the discussion in which they participate is situated in the realm of the unconscious."

Director: Martin ArnoldSound: Johann Neumeister, Peter Seher, Lisa Rozman, Thomas WoschitzProduction Management: Amour Fou
Funding: Filmfonds Wien, BKA.kunst, Land Niederösterreich Kultur