—A Film With No Intention, 2022
Video-installation composed by 3 video-projections: HD video, colour, sound, 8’25’’; brown velvet curtain; 7 photographs, 40 x 50 cm. each
In 1978, the filmmaker Chantal Akerman made an autobiographical film and titled it Les rendez-vous d ́Anna. In the film, Anna, a film director, travels through Northern Europe promoting her latest film. During the trip, the character has various encounters in which she interacts with others from a distant proximity that places her on a parallel existential plane; touch, trust and sex all seem possible, but belonging does not. In 2001 we titled an exhibition Viaje itinerante hacia alguna parte (Itinerant Journey to Somewhere) -- in other words, presence without a known destination, without any desire to settle in a specific place other than the journey itself. The need for perpetual movement, the suffocation of everyday life, the renunciation of what most people understand as life, are similarly perceived through Akerman’s chilly images in her film, as well as through the chilly conversations that display a seeming domestication even of that which, at that time, and still now, might be described as abject.
Una película sin ninguna intención (A Film With No Intention) is inspired by a brief fragment -- only a few seconds -- of the aforementioned Akerman film. The action places the protagonist alone in a nondescript hotel room. Anna has just entered. She goes to the windows and, before opening one of them, draws back a sheer curtain in order to observe an industrial city outside. The scene does not reproduce the original script of the film. If it had been faithful to what was written, the world that the protagonist contemplates from the window would have been visually shared with the public; but ultimately, in the images we can only see the protagonist from behind, looking outward. What interested us most about this seemingly insignificant scene was its ability to evoke the life experience of those of us who, due to different circumstances, do not fit into the hegemonic model of coexistence. Isolation, incomprehension, distance, body. Anna leaves that room and pretends to interact with the others. In Una película sin ninguna intención, A. (a polysemic abbreviation in reference to Franz Kafka's character K., to whom Akerman also may have referred) occupies an indefinite space in front of three windows, a sheer curtain, and an opaque curtain. Unlike Anna, A. never leaves that physical space.
Thus begins an endless solitary choreography. A. opens and closes the sheer curtain. A. opens and closes the curtain in a slow, thoughtful rhythm. A. pauses and looks through the window, through the sheer curtain, through the curtain. A. feels out of place; her existence passes by; she is aware of her inability to adapt, and of the inability of others to adapt to her as well. Like most of our previous characters, she inhabits an intense interior solitude, but now A. decides to enter an eternal dance with that exterior that castrates her desires and uses the concept of reality as a weapon against the emancipative power of our minds. If the feeling of estrangement was a constant in Akerman's work, A. also knows what dislocation is, always foreign, or adopted, or tolerated... A transgender person is a permanent social foreigner whose habitat is the diaspora.
Performer: Bendi González
Image and sound: Doblepárpado
Installation views at Elba Benítez gallery, Madrid. Exhibition: A Film With No Intention. After Chantal Akerman, February 2022.
A Film With No Intention (Script), #1, 2022
A Film With No Intention (Script), #2, 2022
A Film With No Intention (Script), #3, 2022
A Film With No Intention (Script), #4, 2022
A Film With No Intention (Script), #5, 2022
A Film With No Intention (Script), #6, 2022
A Film With No Intention (After and Before), 2022
[Photographs of installation views: Luis Asín and Jonás Bel]