The film installation is based on a script that plagiarizes from the texts of American punk poet Kathy Acker (1947–1997) as well as the chats and addresses of whistle-blower Chelsea Manning*, performed by the American artist Sharon Hayes. Acker’s poetic strategies of appropriating and recombining text fragments, as well as switching identities, provoke a re-reading of Manning’s public disclosures. Both, revealing important sensitive military and diplomatic documents through Wikileaks and exposing transgender identity is enacted in the performance as a strong resistance against imperial war and a transgression of the ways in which gender and sexuality are deployed in the service of the military.
The film’s “I” seems to dwell in a time and place of post-identity while at the same time juggling the violent burden of not only one but multiple defiant identities from different times and places. Performer Sharon Hayes delivers a speech in a setting that refers to an early reading by Kathy Acker in 1977. It takes place in the scenery of a deserted club, where the disco lights recall the lights of a searching helicopter. Hayes’ performance is filmed in one take but by two cameras, which seem to follow their own scores and which produce two–only slightly different–films at the same.
* Chelsea Manning was born Bradley Edward Manning and underwent hormone replacementtherapy. In 2013, she was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment after disclosing to WikiLeaks nearly three-quarters of a million classified or unclassified military and diplomatic documents.
from: Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz, Anja Casser, in collaboration with Electra (ed.), Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz. Aftershow, Sternberg Press, Berlin 2014.
Double projection HD, 2015, 16 min.
Performance: Sharon Hayes
Directors of Photography: Bernadette Paassen, Siri Klug
Sound: Christian Lutz
Music: Planningtorock Living It Out
Set Photography: Andrea Thal
Sounddesign: Rashad Becker
Color Correction: Matthias Behrens (Waveline)
Comissioned by Kunsthalle Zürich and Nottingham Contemporary
Generously supported by Volkart Stiftung
Installation views Kunsthalle Zürich, 2015 (Photos: Annik Wetter)