Als könnte es auch mir an den Kragen gehen
Marcel Odenbach, 1983, 37'08''

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In the title "As if I were seized by the Collar from behind", Odenbach expresses his extremely personal reaction to the media as a sudden violent act that surprises and strangles him. But while this gives the impression of a frightening isolated incident, the work makes an even more dramatic picture of the mental strangulation being subjected to us everyday. The body of images he appropriates are diverse and deliberately recognizable. Footage from battles, Goya's "The Shooting of 3 May 1808" and Hollywood car-chase scenes overload the consciousness. The montage is entirely violent, but we should not be surprised. Some of these images have come to represent the iconic emblems of the time, such as clips from Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining' and footage from the ttempted assassination of Ronald Reagan. With the addition of his signature technique of showing multiple scenes in cropped bands across the screen, the intensity of the violence is made even more concentrated and claustrophobic. The psychologically tense view of someone pacing back and forth is juxtaposed with news footage, and reality and fiction become indistinguishable. Even so, Odenbach maintains a certain order to his edit, and the entire piece functions as a disturbing catalogue of violence, compiling groups of scenes as lessons in a course on violence in the media. This is paced by the recurring presence of steady rhythms, such as a ritualistic drum beat, the metal taps of a stick run across prison bars and the looping image of a knife slashing a poster of a woman's eyes. The result is Odenbach at his most sadistic, a startling unveiling of what we deny as associated with us as actually scars engraved on the human psyche. But we are all the perpetrators, Odenbach claims, for we are the passive viewers. The piece concludes with a long shot of a man watching what we assume to be television, smoking a cigarette lazily as the utmost representation of the insolent voyeurism of most media consumers today.
(Elaine W. Ho)

  • Date: 1983
  • Length: 37'08''
  • Type: Video
  • Copyrights: All rights reserved (c) LIMA
  • Genre: sound (artwork genre)
  • Keywords: collage, sampling, perception, mass media, violence