Verbal/Nonverbal

Christoph Keller
October 6 – November 13, 2010

Verbal/Nonverbal, 2010

Single-channel video, HD

Duration 20:00 min

The video shows a number of test subjects against a neutral, white background, either individually or in pairs, in the context of an experimental test protocol where they have to breath into and from a ballon. Before long, something curious occurs: their faces relax noticeably. Several subjects begin laughing aloud. 

 

Photo © Carsten Eisfeld

Verbal/Nonverbal, 2010

Single-channel video, HD

Duration 20:00 min

The video shows a number of test subjects against a neutral, white background, either individually or in pairs, in the context of an experimental test protocol where they have to breath into and from a ballon. Before long, something curious occurs: their faces relax noticeably. Several subjects begin laughing aloud. 

 

Photo © Carsten Eisfeld

3 Selbstversuche, 2008 (wall, back)

Includes 3 video works

 

Whirling until I drop, 2008

Video, silent

Duration 05:00 min
The artist can be seen filming himself while he begins to rotate on his own axis. His gaze remains focused directly at the camera. He spins around for five minutes, until finally, when the movements become uncontrollable due to dizziness, falls to the floor.

 

Let it out - babbling, 2008

Video, sound

Duration 10:00 min

The artist begins speaking in English quickly and spontaneously without any definite purpose. Whether regarding its spoken contents or its progression, this test was not preceded by any preparations.

 

Ohnmacht durch Hyperventilation, 2008

Video, sound

Duration 11:00 min

The work consists of 5 versions of an autoexperiment in which the artist appears, crouches down, hyperventilates 7-10 times, and then stands up and presses down suddenly on his solar plexus with both hands. As a consequence, he loses consciousness and collapses in front of the camera, where lies motionless for approximately 10 seconds. 

 

Photo © Carsten Eisfeld

3 Selbstversuche, 2008 (wall, back)

Includes 3 vieo works

 

Whirling until I drop, 2008

Video, silent

Duration 05:00 min

The artist can be seen filming himself while he begins to rotate on his own axis. His gaze remains focused directly at the camera. He spins around for five minutes, until finally, when the movements become uncontrollable due to dizziness, falls to the floor.

 

Let it out - babbling, 2008

Video, sound

Duration 10:00 min

The artist begins speaking in English quickly and spontaneously without any definite purpose. Whether regarding its spoken contents or its progression, this test was not preceded by any preparations.

 

Ohnmacht durch Hyperventilation, 2008

Video, sound

Duration 11:00 min

The work consists of 5 versions of an autoexperiment in which the artist appears, crouches down, hyperventilates 7-10 times, and then stands up and presses down suddenly on his solar plexus with both hands. As a consequence, he loses consciousness and collapses in front of the camera, where lies motionless for approximately 10 seconds. 

 

Photo © Carsten Eisfeld

Stage set for

Verbal/Nonverbal, 2010

Single-channel video, HD

Duration 20:00 min

The video shot here shows a number of test subjects against the neutral, white background, either individually or in pairs, in the context of an experimental test protocol where they have to breath into ballons.

 

Photo © Florian Lüdde

Visiting a contemporary art museum under hypnosis, 2006 

One-channel video with two streams, HD, sound

Duration 23:00 minutes

In order to prepare for this work, the artist took lessons from a professional hypnotist, let himself be hypnotized, and also hypnotized others. The video shows how the artist, under hypnosis, walks through the corridor of an imaginary art museum and describes the artworks that he sees there.

 

Photo © Carsten Eisfeld

Visiting a contemporary art museum under hypnosis, 2006 

One-channel video with two streams, HD, sound

Duration 23:00 min

In order to prepare for this work, the artist took lessons from a professional hypnotist, let himself be hypnotized, and also hypnotized others. The video shows how the artist, under hypnosis, walks through the corridor of an imaginary art museum and describes the artworks that he sees there.

 

Photo © Carsten Eisfeld

Visiting a contemporary art museum under hypnosis, 2006 

One-channel video with two streams, HD, sound

Duration 23:00 min

In order to prepare for this work, the artist took lessons from a professional hypnotist, let himself be hypnotized, and also hypnotized others. The video shows how the artist, under hypnosis, walks through the corridor of an imaginary art museum and describes the artworks that he sees there.

 

Photo © Tony Izaaks

Visiting a contemporary art museum under hypnosis, 2006 

One-channel video with two streams, HD, sound

Duration 23:00 min

In order to prepare for this work, the artist took lessons from a professional hypnotist, let himself be hypnotized, and also hypnotized others. The video shows how the artist, under hypnosis, walks through the corridor of an imaginary art museum and describes the artworks that he sees there.

 

Photo © Tony Izaaks

Verbal / Nonverbal, 2010

InkJet print on Hahnemühle PhotoRag 305 g

The video, from which the image derives, shows a number of test subjects against a neutral, white background, either individually or in pairs, in the context of an experimental test protocol where they have to breath into ballons.

 

Photo © Christoph Keller

Deux Cieux, 2007-2010

Video, sound

Duration 60:00 min

The work documents a contemporary shamanic ritual at the sacred site of a menhir located in the forests of western France. 

 

Photo © Christoph Keller

Verbal/Nonverbal

Christoph Keller
October 6 – November 13, 2010
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The video Verbal/Nonverbal  shows a number of test subjects against a neutral, white background, either individually or in pairs, in the context of an experimental test protocol. Each subject seats him or herself in an office chair, breathes deeply, concentrates, each appearing somewhat nervous. Each then places a balloon to his or her lips and breathes into it; the balloon then expands and contracts with each inhalation and exhalation. Before long, something curious occurs: their faces relax noticeably. Several subjects begin laughing aloud. A few attempt to repress these outbursts of hilarity. Others appear mentally absent. Still others attempt to articulate their experiences verbally. The intensity of these emotional responses careens out of control, their hilarity is irrepressible. Their laughter is infectious, yet one observes that an element must be present which somehow enhances the potential for affect and empathy. For a moment, all of the lightness of the world seems no further away than a balloon—and yet remains nonetheless evanescent.

 

The video piece Verbal/Nonverbal alludes to the construction and deconstruction of the self. And yet its images do not retreat toward mental states or introspection, but instead foreground a politically legible motif in the context of a collective autoexperiment which involves the overcoming of the self and its construction of the world.

 

Alongside this recently completed work, the exhibition features additional thematically related videos. To some extent, as in Visiting a Contemporary Art Museum und Hypnosis (2006) or 3 Selbstversuche zur Trance (2008), it is a question of autoexperimentation on the part of the artist, while other works entail investigations of other states of consciousness and their depiction. Other works as well belong to the context of the new exhibition. Leading to the very boundaries of language is the video installation Interpreters (2008), in which a simultaneous interpreter who translates in two directions reflects on their work. For the Hypnosis Film Project (2007), Keller has compiled a single film with various scenes dealing with hypnosis from the history of cinema. The video Deux Cieux (2007) documents a contemporary possession ritual in the forests of western France. Since the early film retrograd (2000), which deals with the medical film history of the Charité Berlin, and Encyclopaedia Cinematographica (2001), has been a cycle encompassing three broad thematic fields: the archive and its transitoriness; the rituals of science; and techniques of the self and of its overcoming.

 

The works of Christoph Keller often resemble experimental test protocols, ones which incorporate the viewer. They reflect upon scientific models in the artistic context, positioning and challenging both artist and beholder as experimental subjects. Rational conceptions of the world are confronted now with the spatial and aesthetic experiences of art.

 

Stefan Heidenreich

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