March SIRK
Sluik / Kurpershoek, 1986 - 1991, 21'46''

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The opening image of an eagle has the effect that 'March SIRK' is immediately associated with a rhetoric of power, heritage and tradition, which is continued in shots of a palace, a neglected park, and a hall full of family portraits. These images, initially accompanied by organ music, are later combined with the sound of a marching crowd. What we next perceive appears to be a long chain of associations: explosions, the repetitive image of soldiers marching, the sound of drums, a statue, a crackling radio, and somewhere too a modern house bearing the words 'Lwen China Restaurant'. Maintaining a powerful symbolism, 'March SIRK' plays with the multiple connotations of the figures of the eagle and the lion, which - both linked to German and European history - brig to mind memories of military and political delusions of grandeur. The traces of this megalomania become visible in seemingly insignificant details such as a Chinese restaurant in the German countryside, or in jerky images of a fight between an eagle and a cat. However, not only do all these images evoke symbolic associations with the past, but they also rather specifically refer to an anecdote from the novel by Louis Ferdinand Cline, 'D'un chteau l'autre' (1957, English title: 'Castle to Castle'). The majority of the images were recorded in the southern German city of Sigmaringen, to which the French Vichy government fled after the end of World War II. Cline himself - with his wife Lucette and his cat Bbert - lived at the Hotel Zum Lwen, which later became a Chinese restaurant. Cline was scared to death of the 'yellow peril', and, even towards the end of his life (1961) could be heard shouting: "The yellow troops are in Le Havre!" The possibility of reproducing history in a different context indicates that it is not yet finalized, that the rhetoric of power keeps repeating itself, although the memory of the war that came with it has long since faded. The almost ironic sentence that appears on the screen at the end of the video alludes to this ambivalence: "Where cats and birds of prey meet in times of war."

'SIRK' refers to 'circle'.

  • Date: 1986 - 1991
  • Length: 21'46''
  • Type: Video
  • Participants: Reinier Kurpershoek, Ron Sluik
  • Copyrights: All rights reserved (c) LIMA
  • Genre: discourse / essay
  • Keywords: representation, history, memory, power, culture, politics, war, violence