From 17 – 23 October 2013, Wendelien van Oldenborgh's films Instruction (2009), Supposing I Love You. And You also Love Me (2011), and Bete & Deise (2012) will be shown at mumok kino as part a series of performative events with the title Changer d’image /To Alter the Image at the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien (mumok) in Vienna.
Changer d’image /To Alter the Image started in April and continued in September and October 2013. Ten international filmmakers, artists or artist groups have been invited to reflect on the
process of filmmaking in the form of a live event. The focus is not on the end product of a
moving image project but in showing aspects which lead up to it: the forms of conceptualization, experimentation and research take.
Van Oldenborgh’s film Instruction (2009) begins with William Faulkner's famous quote from his book Requiem for a Nun: "The past is never dead. It`s not even past". It addresses the unresolved traumatic events of the Dutch military intervention in Indonesia following World War II, euphemistically called a 'police action'. The film casts a group of young cadets from the Royal Netherlands Military Academy who perform a script consisting of excerpts and quotes from different sources: personal diaries, historical broadcast transcripts related to the topic and essays, that all in a more or less direct way tackle collective responsibility and the heritage of the colonial past.
Supposing I love you. And you also love me (2011) is a montage of still images with dialogue. The work brings the voice of the Swiss-Egyptian philosopher Tariq Ramadan in exchange with a group of five young adults from Belgium and the Netherlands, against the background of a ‘de Stijl’ inspired broadcast building by Dutch architect and friend of Gerrit Rietveld, Piet Elling. Set up as an polyphonic mini-tragedy, with unrehearsed forms of performance and speech as the building stones in the argument, the youngsters act as the chorus in a playful interchange with the notions that are brought to the foreground by Tariq Ramadan. He shares his thoughts on diversity, fear and conflict and his short-lived engagement in the city of Rotterdam. The cast’s own experience and forms of expression and knowledge are guiding the script, whilst they address each other and the public.
The work is co-commissioned by the Danish Arts Council, If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution, and Wilfried Lentz, with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union, Flamin, and the Mondriaan Foundation
Van Oldenborgh’s film Bete & Deise (2012) stages an encounter between two women in Rio de Janeiro: Bete Mendes and Deise Tigrona. These women have – each in their own way – given meaning to the idea of a public voice. Bete Mendes (1949) has continued to maintain a political career alongside her acting career in popular television since the 1960s. Deise Tigrona (1979) is a Baile funk singer who in recent years rose to great popularity. She was forced to take a step back when it became too burdensome to combine her music career with her tough family life in Cidade de Deus.
Together these women talk about their experience with performance and their position in the public sphere, allowing for the contradictions they each carry within themselves to surface. Bete & Deise is the final work in a trilogy of works by Van Oldenborgh that have each come from a research into current changes in labour conditions and our understanding of the collective and the public voice and the role of cultural production in this.
Bete & Deise was commissioned by If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution for Edition IV (2011-2012), and was financially supported by the Mondrian Fund and Wilfried Lentz Gallery, Rotterdam. With thanks to Capacete Entretenimentos, Rio de Janeiro.