Sue de Beer b. 1973
The Quickening (2006)
Playlength 30 minutes
Originally an installation: single channel video with sculptural elements


'The Quickening' was shot in an abandoned tobacco factory in Berlin in November 2005 - a building with no heat, running water, and electricity pulled from power lines on the street outside the building. De Beer had the exterior doors of the building welded shut before shooting to prevent squatters from looting the film equipment. The Berlin electro-clash group the 'Cobra Killers' (Gina D'Orio and Annika Trost') play the unnamed lead charters in the film. The shoot took place over an 11 day period, with the cast and crew locked into the building in the morning, and exiting the set in the Berlin evening, after the sun had set.

"Sue de Beer's latest video, "The Quickening", 2006, is a morality tale without a moral, a murder mystery with no solution. It's set in Puritan New England - although de Beer seems unconcerned with creating the realist mis-en-scene of the conventional period piece. The movie puts incongruity to use as a narrative strategy. When John Denver launches into the second stanza of "The Eagle and the Hawk" following the unceremonious hanging of one of the characters, the music is jarring, but the effect is oddly felicitous. 

The story of "the Quickening" is fairly simple, beginning and ending with the unexplained murder of the two female leads (both of whom are chased, stabbed, then hung by an unidentified creature). These events themselves are bookended by excerpts, narrated by the male character (Travis Jeppesen), from Joris Karl Huysmans's 1903 preface to his 184 novel "À Rebours" (Against Nature). In a voiceover immediately following the demise of the first victim, Annika Line Trost, Gina V. D'Orio reads a passage from Johnathon Edwards's fiery sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" (1741), strenly excoriating the "wicked unbelievers," and in the scene that follows, a mysterious, hypnotic machine triggers a dream sequence in which D'Orio dances with forest animals in a leafy clearing. " David Velasco, Artforum, February 2007


RESOURCES:

These videos are being made available for noncommercial and educational use only. All rights to this recorded material belong to Sue de Beer. Used with permission of Sue de Beer.

Used with the kind permission of Marianne Boesky Gallery in NYC and Galerie Christian Ehrentraut in Berlin.