by Johannes HAMMEL
2013 / color / sound / 1S / 10' 00

The film begins in the dark of a narrow hallway. The camera pans and George W. Johnson´s tinny laughter from the “Laughing Song,” recorded in 1898 as part of the Edison brown wax series, lies over the images like a cynical commentary. A cut leads from the corridor into the bedroom where there is a transistor radio next to a bed with a flattened bedspread. In the stairway, the light flickers, gentle droning mixes into the sinister music, fragments of a sentimental melody seep into the soundtrack. A concrete housing complex is visible through the living room curtain.
Rooms proclaims the investigative, strictly subjective gaze of the amateur film: anonymous couples appear, pose or pretend to be unobserved, they celebrate, drink, and kiss. The wallpaper, curtains, and house coats are dominated by floral patterns. Gentle waves of a golden sea roll onto the beach, like in an animated wall mural. After a surreal interlude—a group of flamingos wades through a room with ankle-deep water—the camera´s gaze, from the fire-ladder of a house, falls onto the streets of what looks like an American city. What story is being told here?
Johannes Hammel´s films are (and pose) material questions: how do pictorial surfaces refer to their times of origin, and the reasons for their production? How do backdrops differ from original sites of action? And how easy is it to falsify circumstantial evidence found in film material: in interiors, and in textile designs? Rooms is not about spatial effects, but about the aesthetic norms of old home movies, about Super-8- and identity projections—and, for example, about the double instability of interior light and film lighting. Appearances can´t be trusted: the border between authentic and faked images is wafer-thin. (Stefan Grissemann)


distribution format Digital file on server (PAL)
screen 4/3 (single screen)
speed 25 fps
sound sound
rental fee 34,00 €