by Barbara HAMMER
1991 / 16mm / color / sound / 1S / 10' 00

"Vital Signs", 1991, is a multi-media collage film/video that attempts to challenge some Western constructions of death as horrible and fearful by reversing this ideology. Instead of fear or aversion, death, in the form of a skeleton, is embraced, fed, clothed, walked with and made love to.

Vital Signs is a sign of the end of unitary construction, a hint of the breaking up of ideologies, the questioning of systems of representation both in the ethereal world of ideas and the mechanical and digital devices with which media makers maneuver.

from Calvin Ahlgren, Chronicle, San Francisco

"Waltzing cheek-to-cheek with a grinning skeleton, filmmaker Barbara Hammer sets the tone . . . Hammer's "Vital Signs" is dedicated to a trio of losses, including her late father and Curt McDowell, a fellow film maker who died of AIDS in 1987. Her recurring motif of a danse macabre makes a jarring symbol for the will to reconcile spirit and body; as she caresses and cradles the all-too-familiar form, Hammer fashions an artful, elegantly disturbing keynote address."


distribution format Digital file on server (PAL)
screen 4/3 (single screen)
speed 25 fps
sound sound
rental fee 38,00 €