This video presents a
series of filmed excerpts from performances and actions by Thomas Hirschhorn
dating from 1995 to 1999. The film follows the trajectory of the artist’s
political and social commitment through his art.
The excerpts of the following performances and actions are listed here according to their order of appearance in Integrated Videos (some performances were done several times):
“Flugplatz Welt / World Airport,” 1999; “Rolex, etc., Freunlich Aufstieg und Skulptur-Sortier-Station-Dokumentation,” 1998; “Record-Jonas,” 1997; “Very Derivated Products,” 1998; “Merci-Bus,” 1996; “Skulptur-Sortier-Station,” 1997; “Zentraltisch,” 1997; “Robert Walser Kiosk,” 1998; “Swiss Army Knife,” 1998; “Ingeborg Bachmann Altar,” 1998; “Time to go,” 1997; “Swiss Converter,” 1998; “Virus Ausstellung,” 1996; “Mondrian Autel,” 1997; “Les Bêtes, les Plaintifs, les Politiques,” 1995; “Diorama,” 1997; “24/24, 7/7, Blauer Schwebender Raum,” 1997; “Transformator,” 1997; “Spinoza Moment,” 1998; “Lascaux III,” 1997.
The montage of these different excerpts borrows from the style seen in advertising and television. Treated like products, each one, stamped with a round blue logo in which the words “Integrated Videos” are inscribed, lasts for the same length of time and is identified by a title in bright large letters. The sequences play out according to an identical pattern, a woman’s voice marking the overall rhythm as she recites the alphabet. In a suave tone she says in German, “A wie…” (A as in…). A second voice answers, “A wie…” then pronounces words beginning with the letter a. There is nothing random about the selection of words that are spoken, which are explicitly intended to denounce the social and economic situation of the world. The words pronounced for each letter, A, B, C and so on, are repeated by a chorus of female voices. The intoned refrain enumerates a primer of misfortunes and injustices in startling contrast to the seductive tone with which this caustic alphabet is spelled out. The contrast created by the polished mise en scène of the images, deftly edited according to marketing strategies, is no less shocking.
A short excerpt from the primer:
A wie Angst (fear) Armut (poverty).../C wie Cash, Chemiotherapie (chemotherapy).../D wie Demut (humility), Diskriminierung (discrimination).../F wie Folter (torture) Fanatismus (fanaticism).../H wie Hass (hate) Hunger.../K wie Krieg (war).../M wie Macht (power) Militär (military).../O wie Opfer (victim).../S wie Sorge (worry) Sucht (addiction).../T wie Tod (death).../X wie Xenophobie (Xenophobia).
Three or four words are pronounced per letter. The alphabet is recited twice from A to Z, the third time stopping at the letter K. Behind these light and lively appearances of advertising style, the litany becomes obsessive, raising a number of uncomfortable questions about society and the economy and the way political and governmental authorities deal with them.