Melanie Manchot at Imapkt Festival 2010, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Panorama 5: An Exchange of Gestures and Emotions
Saturday, October 16 2010 21:00
Fight – Melanie Manchot (Groot-Brittannië, 2009, 16mm/file, 05:00 min.)
Spat – Melanie Manchot (Groot-Brittannië, 2010, 16mm/file, 08:00 min.)
Trilogie of Reconstructions, 2009 – 2010
The relationship between documentation and staged situations is central to Melanie Manchot’ practice. Rather than employing portraiture as a mode to represent identity, Manchot’s projects propose to record and mediate relations. The protagonists in her films re-enact personal and intimate encounters, taking place in public spaces. In the film Kiss the spectator sees two young people kiss during a nighttime bus ride, oblivious to their surroundings, or is witness in Fight to a confrontation between a bicycle messenger and a member of the Hells Angels motorcycle club. A third film, Spat shows an elderly couple fighting. The camera closes in, revealing the heated gestures to be deaf sign language – only face to face communication is possible.
Hence her three new films could be seen as performative portraits of relationships: those between the two protagonists in each of the films yet also in an expanded sense the triangular relations between the camera, the subject and the viewers. The accompanying studio photographs of the participants remove them from the seemingly real-life situation depicted in the film. Here, the viewer is confronted face-to-face with the portrait and its subjects, rather than observing their actions as an invisible voyeur. Hence through the studio portraits the performativity is further investigated, extending ideas about staging and documenting through the formal elements of photography.