Devised in collaboration with Eleonora Roaro On the 30th of July 2007 both Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni died. These directors not only contributed to depicting modern man’s sense of incommunicability and alienation in a godless universe, but they also created a grammar of film more focused on images than narrative. Moreover, the role of women in their careers and private lives was similar, as they were often seen as muses (above all, Monica Vitti for Antonioni and Liv Ullmann for Ingmar Bergman).
The performance 30/07/2017 is a homage to both the directors that examines the idea of the muse and the role of gaze (Laura Mulvey, Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, 1975). Two women in two separate locations remain in front of the camera from sunrise to sunset and do nothing for the whole length of the day, as if something is always about to happen. The women do not eat or drink, nor comfort themselves in any way; their role is one of object only, reflecting the idea of a muse and extrapolating it into a reality for the women involved. The endless waiting becomes more and more exhausting, and the denial of basic human needs more and more difficult, showing what is beyond the image of beauty when it is only about withstanding the desire to do something else, to relax, to relieve the boredom. The women are in similar domestic environments, fulfilling similar roles, but they cannot see each other: they can only be seen live on a screen, and only while daylight exists; reinforcing the voyeuristic attitude of cinema and remarking upon the importance of light in film-making. At the same time, however, the live-stream method brings the contemporary into the scene, so that these muses are not of the golden age, but of now.
30/07/2017 A. was live from 06:05 to 20:54 (UCT+2) | 30/07/2017 B. was live from 05:42 to 21:03 (UCT+1) The live streams as they were recorded can be seen here: www.youtube.com/channel/UCWggD_0G2JU3Nca9Dujbx0A
Deleuze on Bergman's Persona “They are not identical because they resemble each other, but because they have lost individuation no less then socialization and communication. This is the operation of the close-up. The close-up does not divide one individual, any more than it reunites two: it suspends individuation. Than the single and ravaged face unites a part of one to a part of the other. At this point it no longer reflects nor feels anything, but merely experiences a mute fear. It absorbs two beings, and absorbs them into the void. And in the void it is itself the photogramme which burns, with Fear as its only affect. The facial close-up is both the face and its effacement. Bergman has pushed the nihilism of the face the furthest, that is its relationship in fear to the void or the absence, the fear of the face confronted with its nothingness.” (Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 1 The Movement-Image)
Deleuze on Antonioni “The imaginary gaze makes the real something imaginary, at the same time as it in turn becomes real and gives us back some reality. It is like a circuit which exchanges, corrects, selects and sends us off again… the characters were objectively emptied: they are suffering less from the absence of another than from their absence from themselves (for example, The Passenger). Hence, this space refers back again to the lost gaze of the being who is absent from the world as much as from himself, and, as Ollier says in a phrase which is true for the whole of Antonioni's work, replaces 'traditional drama with a kind of opticaldrama lived by the character’”. (Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 2 The Time-Image)