by Michaela SCHWENTNER
2002 / Betacam SP / b&w / sound / 1S / 5' 00


Surveillance methods are normally intended to ensure definite identification of their object and precise decoding of whatever information is contained in a message. But in her new video, michaela schwentner has created images to accompany the track
the_future_of_human_containment by Pure, using various computer programs rather than a camera.
A black amoeba-like shape moves in front of a white background.
Its edges are frayed and have the pixelled composition typical of enlarged video images. This stylization makes identification impossible, a non-recognition which continues on the acoustic level. Between reduced and recurrent successions of notes which set the rhythm, sounds and snatches of conversation are audible, though their source cannot be localized. The sounds and images seem to influence each other, and the soundtrack creates an arc of tension, thereby plunging the images into an eerie atmosphere. The figure's movements leave trails in the form of changing grids which affect the acoustic sequence and cross the screen like a search for the next broadcast frequency, capturing fragments of speech and sound on the way. The audio and visual levels present riddles and, despite intimations of a narrative structure, do not produce a conventional «meaning».

According to Vilém Flusser such images dissect text into computable dots which can be reassembled as desired. Therefore, decoding or interpreting the world is no longer necessary; one could say it is
redesigned from the inside out.
the_future_of_human_containment could be seen as an antithesis to the growing amount of control obtained through omnipresent recording of information, as an aesthetic and acoustic encryption machine which generates its own indecipherable codes.
(Andrea Pollach)


distribution format Digital file on server (PAL)
screen 4/3 (single screen)
speed 25 fps
sound sound
rental fee 23,00 €