minute 23

An ear-pearcing sound. Painful. Like a swarm of hornets out to attack. I can almost feel them entering my head, my ear. This aggressive sound is framed by a rather dramatic sounding composition of tones in the beginning and the end. This one comes much closer to music as the piercing sound in between. It is almost a relieve when it returns to redeem the hurting noise, joining the last seconds of this minute. This music rises tension, a kind of expectation that something cruel is going to happen. I hear something marching or a machine producing a monotonous but rising sound. For a moment I feel as if I was watching a crime fiction.

This minute is violent, aggressive, torturing. The images tell quite a different story though. I try to focus on them and their message. In order to do so, I have to turn off the sound several times. This piercing noise, which I refuse to call music, is to stressful. My heart beats faster and all I want to do is to cover my ears. It almost makes me angry. It is like pouring acid into someones eyes while the same is watching Beuys „chair and fat“. Why disturbing the one who wants to consume your art? There is a point in disturbing your audience in order to provoke some kind of emotion, but this is far beyond provocation. It is an act of violence.
Without acustic distraction I am able to see repitition in the images. It begins with a new image: A wooden ferris wheel in front of a row of small buildings, a scenerie looking like an old western town. The wheel is turning, wooden baskets, most probably supposed to hold people, are tangling around. In the back of it, a church tower.
The decay of the film material has an interesting effect in this piece. It covers the scene in a flickering way as if it was purposely hiding something, just like a black vail or a coat. Again tension arises. I get the sense of a secret surrounding the scenery.

A secret that remains covered. The next scene, much lighter, without any obvious blemishes, does not lead to any enlightment though. A scenery of warmth and roughness. I see a desert and some buildings, again a tower in the back. This might be the first subtile connection between the scenes. The other is much more obvious: A bearded man with a cap and a sash around his chest is turning in circles; The turning of the ferris wheel translated into human action. His eyes closed, he seems to be turning in trance, very fast, very iterant. His face expresses exhaustion. Next to him, two other man doing the same, but much slower. This I can tell despite the slow motion that the sequence is shown in. In the back are other man, some of them monotonously clap on drums, while others simply watch.

I can't tell how much longer he woul have turned his circles. A cut interrupts his trance. The last two seconds of this minute are devoted to complete darkness, a flickering image of decay. It looks like a fire place on the ground with all flickering flames meeting in the middle. Having a second, a third and a fourth look at these two seconds I can see hands working, meeting in the middle of the screen again. A person bends over.

Both scenes, the ferris wheel and the man turning, obviously take part in different areas of this world, one in a desertly environment and the other in a town imaginable part of for the western world a few decades ago. Nevertheless both share the image of rotation. They do this in a fairly distinguishable manner. The first scene shows a ferris wheel turning in a city, no human can be seen. A black veil covers the image. It appears like a ghostly town. Ghosts and death are two things closely related.

The second scene, in contrary, is full of life and energy, portraying a man turning in circles, seemingly bringing his body and mind into another sphere.
Within only 58 seconds and in a disturbing manner, this minute brings together death and life. Disturbing as the sounds escorting it rather draw to the first than the second. It is as if the turning man's destiny was to be foretold by the tension rising sounds accompanying not only the ghost town, but his appearance as well.

Marthe-Sophie Berkenheide