September 7, 2012

You I'll Be Following

On my final day in Stockholm, Claire and I went to Moderna Museet, to primarily see the the Yoko Ono exhibition Grapefruit, a collection of films, sculptures and text-based works all stemming from her 1964 self-published book of the same name. Grapefruit contained a collection of 'instructional pieces' describing actions to either be completed in a tangible form, or to exist solely in the imagination. Numerous film works of Ono's are visual interpretations of these instructions.  

Film No. 5 (Rape, or Chase) Rape with camera. 

One and a half hours, colour, synchronized sound. 
A cameraman will chase a girl on a street with a camera persistently until he corners her in an alley, and, if possible, until she is in a falling position. 
The cameraman will be taking a risk of offending the girl as the girl is somebody he picks up arbitrarily on the street, but there is a way to get around this.
 Depending on the budget, the chase should be made with girls of different age, etc. 
May chase boys and men as well. 
As the film progresses, and as it goes towards the end, the chase and the running should become slower and slower like in a dream, using a high-speed camera. 

Rape was the most intriguing film, made with John Lennon in London in 1969. While watching I could feel the twist in my stomach and a tension in my chest related to the precarious, downward-spiralling situation of 'the woman' (Eva Majlata, a 21 year old Hungarian actress who couldn't speak English) as a couple of men relentlessly pursued her through London - on foot, by taxi, even into an apartment. It readily captures and (due to the year it was made, clothes, make-up and therefore perhaps a detachment from one's present reality) inadvertently glamourizes the thrill of the chase, and the perverse nature of what is actually happening. 

The decadence in the style and aesthetic of the late sixties, are so embodied in this film I feel it has become a sort of time capsule. And what once was intended to have a more gritty, documentary presence about it, now is more fictionalized, just another glimpse of 'The Swingin' Sixties', no part of our present reality. The longer you watch the film, the more engrossed you become, but at the same time, the sense you, as the viewer is being taken for a ride, strengthens. It's all a set-up, just like every other film, and all other 'reality tv' - the woman was in on it all along. I guess it give us comfort to think like that, as to accept that she was involuntarily hounded makes it more difficult to watch - especially from today's viewpoint.

Rape succeeds because it interacts with the audience on many levels, as many Ono films do. It can be a heavy-handed social commentary, as John says - "We are showing how all of us are exposed and under pressure in our contemporary world. This isn't just about the Beatles. What is happening to this girl on the screen is happening in Biafra, Vietnam, everywhere." - or just a standard chase scene, albeit a rather subversive one.

In fact while I was immersed in this film I couldn't help but notice a young two year-old girl in front of the monitor next to mine fascinated by Ono's Film No.4 (Bottoms) - (the title tells you all you need to know really), and having a great time, much to her brash American mother's horror/ my amusement.

After wandering around a city for three days, it was quite nice to site down and follow someone else.

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