Human Comma Being
Video Installation • 2015

Human Comma Being is a documentary-based video and performance project that examines the complex interrelations of identity, body and self, making transparent the dimensions of the ego as a multilayered construction and projection. Repetitive text structures with techniques of film editing such as loops, asynchronicity and the staging of dream sequences and mise en scene characterize the working method of the project.

Installed in its first iteration at Künstlerhaus Bethanien the narrative two-channel video installation combines footage from performances with fictional and documentary video material. The video installation follows a complex story line that relates the actual practice of the artist’s mother, who has created a Victorian alter ego for herself living in the 1860’s to the practice of her fictional son, an artist working with self representation. Both, in turn, are linked to the playful creative manner in which the matriarchal bonobo primates structure the way they live together. They’re stories are however left incomplete as the “BBC” voice narrating the film, eventually emerges as her own real-life character and ends up falling into a lake depicted in her own film; the “B”-side screen. In the “B”-side this newly embodied voice embarks on her own path of self-discovery by “leaving her head behind” to allow for more sensual sides to awaken, (and ones she had been well-acquainted with in her previous existence of narrating the life of the bonobos).  Throughout the installation these multiple narrative strains and voices are connected, reconfigured, and reconstructed into a twisted psychoanalytic reading, where an entanglement of relations, fictions and projections is unavoidable.

While the 2-channel video installation was installed at the top floor of the institution, sculptural elements continued to the level below and functioned as a “prologue-space” throughout the exhibition. On the finnissage this space became the set for the performance Human Comma Being: Coda, which showcased the principle cast from the video, who seemingly stepped out of their filmed reality. Together they performed a semi-scripted self-reflexive choreography in which they analyzed the film they left behind over whiskey and cookies with the audience.

SITE and Details

2-Channel HD Video Installation, 2015
Duration: 52’00 minutes

Implemented at:
Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, within the solo-show Human Comma Being

NRW Forum, Düsseldorf, as part of the group show Ego Update curated by Alain Bieber

Principal Cast

Ulrica Maimon
Jonatan Habib-Enqvist
Sarah Calver
Cecilia Valenti
Michael Norton
Ethan Hayes-Chute

Human Comma Being, 2015, installation view Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Photo by David Brandt

Human Comma Being, 2015, installation view Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Photo by David Brandt

Human Comma Being, 2015, installation view Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Photo by David Brandt

Human Comma Being, 2015, installation view Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Photo by David Brandt

Human Comma Being, 2015, installation view Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Photo by David Brandt

Human Comma Being, 2015, 2 Channel HD Video, "A-Side", HD Video Still

Human Comma Being, 2015, 2 Channel HD Video, "A-Side", HD Video Still

Human Comma Being, 2015, 2 Channel HD Video, "A-Side", HD Video Still

Human Comma Being, 2015, 2 Channel HD Video, "A-Side", HD Video Still

Human Comma Being, 2015, 2 Channel HD Video, "A-Side", HD Video Still

Human Comma Being, 2015, 2 Channel HD Video, "A-Side", HD Video Still

Human Comma Being, 2015, 2 Channel HD Video, "A-Side", HD Video Still

Human Comma Being, 2015, 2 Channel HD Video, "A-Side", HD Video Still

Human Comma Being, 2015, 2 Channel HD Video, "A-Side", HD Video Still (o.g image David Slater)

Human Comma Being, 2015, 2 Channel HD Video, "A-Side", HD Video Still

Human Comma Being, 2015, 2 Channel HD Video, "A-Side", HD Video Still

Human Comma Being, 2015, 2 Channel HD Video, "B-Side", HD Video Still

Human Comma Being, 2015, 2 Channel HD Video, "B-Side", HD Video Still

Human Comma Being, 2015, 2 Channel HD Video, "B-Side", HD Video Still

Human Comma Being, 2015, 2 Channel HD Video, "B-Side", HD Video Still

Human Comma Being, 2015, 2 Channel HD Video, "B-Side", HD Video Still

Human Comma Being, 2015, 2 Channel HD Video, "B-Side", HD Video Still

Human Comma Being, 2015, 2 Channel HD Video, "B-Side", HD Video Still