Graduation project, Interactive video installation
Black Hair Vs. White Complexion: Arranged or “Deranged”?
(An Essay by Mr. Zlatan Gruborovic, Ph.D.)
In his latest interactive (reactive) installation project entitled “DERANGED” Mr. Doringer explores several important issues, which are questioned by many other contemporary artists at this moment. Firstly, there is the issue of distance of the viewer and the image (or the f/Figure) that s/he sees, which here is the key for their interaction. Secondly, there is the problem of gender and gendering of the depicted (or in this case: projected) f/Figure, which is at first determined by its silhouette, yet later undone by the removal of its hair, which is also firstly functions as its dress. Thirdly, there is the emotional (inter)action that this encounter between the viewer and the f/Figure (the projection within the installation work) stipulates, resulting in orchestrated voices that the f/Figure emits and the choreography that it performs. The issue of closeness and lure of the image is central here, since the closer the viewer comes to the image, the more (though against its will) it will reveal to her or him.
Perhaps now I need to distance myself from the lure of this work and give a clearer account and explanation of it. “DERANGED” is an interactive work that, according to Mr. Doringer, adapts itself to, or inhabits, every new space where it is exhibited in a new way. It consists of a dark corridor, painted in black, which the artists describes as inviting the viewer to move closer to the image. The image one sees when entering the exhibition space, or rather – the corridor, is that of what Mr. ,Doringer called a “Figure,” dressed in (her/his/its) hair. In that black corridor, the closer the viewer is to the image of the Figure, the more of the hair that determines its identity will be taken away. Yet, this will not happen as simply as it may appear: the Figure is (pre)programmed to react to the movement of the viewer by emitting vocals, and by showing something that reads as experiencing a certain unease, which is visualized by its attempts to remove the hair, that both determines (it) and hides its identity. Thus the Figure, as envisioned and described by Mr. Doringer, attempts to “pack” the hair, shrieks, moves fast in an accelerated choreography (which remains “cropped” or constrained by the dimension of the black corridor which frames, and in a way, dominates over both the viewer and the Figure). The result is an unpleasant encounter with an ambivalent image, which may be stopped by exiting the space/corridor. In the dark tunnel of the “DERANGED,” the movement of the viewer activates the video, resembling the forward and rewind function of a remote control (one could claim that in this installation the viewer is reduced to becoming a remote-controlling agent of the video), with the viewer in charge of the proximity and movement of the Figure. However, the viewer is not completely in control, as she or he experiences the painful removal of the exterior skeleton of the Figure’s identity, namely – of its hair.
Filmed in a sharp black-and-white contrast with a subordinated palette that includes the oversaturated colour of blue, the black hair is as active a subject here as the white body of the Figure. Gendered as feminine and depicted in form of a dress, which vanishes as the viewer increases her/his proximity to the projected image of the Figure, hair in this installation is an unstable signifier of identity, its inconsistence and final disappearance. Enveloping the body of the Figure first in form of a dress, in an accelerated choreography, its hair becomes packed and reduced to its normative position, as a crown on the Figure’s head. Thus it assumes different roles in defining the Figure and shows its insecurity regarding its position in the masquerade it helps it to perform. In the final stage, the hair is removed from the chest of the Figure, thus becoming an agent of gender exposure. The absence of the hair from the figure (re)presents the Figure as a new Subject, defined by visible anatomy that undoes the initial assumption of the viewer. Thus the Figure, stripped off its hair, changes its identity and presents itself anew to the viewer.
Such a dynamic constellation of the variables, in the spatial organisation of the physical body of the installation, as well as in the a-corpuscular image of the Figure makes this complex work by Mr. Doringer a compelling and complimenting addition to his diverse and controversial opus and perhaps even a crown (if not just a hair-) piece to his undergraduate degree.
interactive video installation
By Bogomir Doringer
Dancer: Anouk Froidevaux
Choreographer: Andreas Kuck
Make up Artist: David Stella
Hair: Yannis Kyriazos
Costume: Marija Kadelburg and Bogomir Doringer
Music: Natasha Bogojevich
Camera: Ben Geraerts
Camera assistant : Maarten Apeldoorn
Postproduction: Janneke Kupfer
Programming: Konstantin Leonenko
Assistents: Ivan Kadelburg, Marija Kadelburg, Maielin Timmerberg,Barbara Amalie Skovma, Debbie Wester,
SPECIAL THANK YOU TO Jans Possel and Philip Woo
Thanks to Martin Grotenburg and Material fonds in Amsterdam