by Sabine MARTE
2006 / Betacam SP / color / sound / 1S / 12' 00

After her Gras A/B Sabine Marte once again investigates a construct of meaning; she dedicates herself in the video Helen A/B + the Sea to romantic genre conventions and clichés. The film begins with an image, shot from a computer monitor, of two people on a beach who alternately point at the horizon. A voice over (done by Marte) whispers doubts concerning whether the scene is real, citing the representation's two-dimensional nature. A seagull gets ready to fly through the picture while the voice over gurgles and dies out.
Two-dimensionality, duality, (dual) relationships of body and voice, sound and image are subject to constant distortion, shifts, rejection and attraction. Filmic conventions such as a shot-countershot of a woman's and man's faces in the next scene reveal their formulaic character in the repetition and deceleration, which is controlled manually with the mouse.
As a result the musical soundtrack, which accompanies the seagull's renewed attempt to fly through the picture and arouses expectations of romance, enters the realm of the eerie.
We see the couple again: Accompanied by piano music, a woman's voice (from a dubbed version of Antonioni's Identificazione di una donna, 1983) declares from off camera: «You are my love,» and a man's voice answers: «Say it again.»
Irritations, blows and a yell are combined in a continuous repetition, while the couple's faces show boredom, amusement and skepticism in the face of what is happening (on the soundtrack rather than in the picture) or their role as actors brought to a standstill.
The construct of a promise is revealed here too, the subtext is again shifted to the level of the performative. Its equivalent is provided in the final scene: Two men unite in a dance-like movement which stems from action/reaction, pressure/counterpressure, closeness/distance. The manginess and constant deceleration of the picture is underlined by a distorted performance of the spiritual «Oh, When the Saints» by Marte's band Pendler. Both the scene and the song end before coming to a complete standstill. It could go on like this forever... (Claudia Slanar)


distribution format Digital file on server (SD)
screen 4/3 (single screen)
speed 25 fps
sound sound
rental fee 41,00 €