directors lounge special screening
Petra Lottje + Curtis Burz
auf der spur — on track
Thursday, 29 September 2011, 21h
Z-Bar, Bergstraße 2, 10115 Berlin-Mitte
Directors Lounge presents a programme with Petra Lottje and Curtis Burz. The artists have the differing backgrounds of Fine Art practice, and the documentary tradition of European Cinema consecutively, and they both address the problems of social relations. These relations may be seen as "on track" or "off track". It is ambivalent as the specific uses of media and recordings open the work for different interpretations. In both bodies of work we may find a very personal take on their subject and a strong artificiality in the produced media images.
In “Jedes Zimmer Hinter Einer Tür" (Every Room Behind A Door) Petra Lottje stages the female part of dialogues in diverse films, using the German dubbing voices and borrowing her lips to the sound like it is practice with the "playback mime singers" on TV. However, the lip-sync is not perfect in some parts, the settings seems not to fit correctly but still, and over time, the viewer gets the impression of honest enacting instead of parody. One reason for that impression may be the very understated acting of Petra Lottje. Her minimal gestures and mimic, reminding of Buster Keaton, leave ample space for projections by the viewer. (Buster Keaton's "poker face" was a novelty in cinema at that time. Some film critics see him as the starting point of modern cinema, where the actor on close-up shows only minimal expressions in order to become the mirror for emotional projections by the viewers). Thus over time of watching the film "Jedes Zimmer Hinter Einer Tür" and the programme as a whole, the acting of Lottje seems to become more and more "real".
The distinct kind of artificiality of Curtis Burz's film creates a similarity to Petra Lotje's work. The stories, told by individuals, turn into fiction, and in some ways become role models. Curtis uses this technique mainly for protection of his interview partners, to keep their anonymity. Partly, he also shoots on original locations, which gives the pictures an authenticity the viewer can feel, on the other hand, it also reminds of TV techniques. The kind of artificiality, however, does not dilute the stories, but transforms them into short fiction, with the result of the viewer having the choice to identify, or not to do so. In any case, Petra Lottje also has shifted her subject from the every dominating theme of Hollywood, love, to the questions of perspectives in life. ("Vorher, Jetzt & Später" / Before, Now and Later and "Loope"). As a conclusion, with their work both artists address the reality of media, which has such a deep impact on our view of the world, and of life. More over, if we read Burz's stories as fiction, the interpretation could go further saying that the story side-lines, which in mainstream and soap films just give some spicy colourful backgrounds to the plot, really are stories that should be told from their own first-person point of view.
(Klaus W. Eisenlohr Sept 2011)