SOFT INCISIONS
curated by Nat Muller (NL)


Jan de Bruin, Jordan Crandall, Iratxe Jaio, Raed Yassin, and Andrijana Stojkovic.

In an era where on the one hand we are reigned by the staged exhibitionism and theatrics of reality TV and web cams, and on the other hand by the covert infringements on our privacy through policies of control and surveillance, the concept of mimesis is becoming increasingly unsettling. The line between representing – or rather registering – a reality, and claiming it to be authentic and true, versus a reality that might have been or could be, is very thin. We have somehow become conditioned to view and consume our realities as edited, augmented and performed: mediatised hyper-realities, in every sense of the word. Nonetheless, materiality does matter, and the televised blood on our screens, is very real for those who bleed. However, as consumers of mass media, we have forgotten what “the cut”, as edit, as blow, actually feels like.

The selection Soft Incisions is testimony to how we are – and still can be - seduced by the notion that we can capture, and by corollary represent, a sense, a flavour, a moment of that what “is out there’. How by softly, carefully, poetically presenting a slice of reality and magnifying it, we can pause at the contradictory performances of our everyday life, whether they fluctuate between the voyeuristic and that what is on display; or between that what is consensual, and that what is not. The incisions made, in the soft flesh of reality, by the selected artists, are as much exercises in elevating the mundane, as they are a call for forcing us to look anew with an open and critical lens.

Whether we are taken through Jan de Bruin’s subtle observations of human impatience and boredom; Jordan Crandall’s uneasy unveiled and surveilled intimacy; the urban marginals of Raed Yassin’s Beirut, or whether home becomes a niche carved out for the homeless (Andrijana Stojkovic), and where a speech act becomes an exercise in rehearsing an identity (Iratxe Jaio), all these artists insist on using their artistic scalpel to incise and amplify the dynamics of a reality, where as of yet, the ultimate fetish left, can only be “the real”.
Artist(s): Jan de Bruin
Title: Waiting for Felipe
Country of production: The Netherlands
Year of production: 2005

One-shot documentary film about two Italian police officers waiting for the end of their own inconvenience.

Artist(s): Jordan Crandall
Title: Homefront
Country of production: USA
Year of production: 2006

We begin with a monitor and end with a mirror. In between, two actors engage in an elaborate pas-de-deux. They are desirous of each other but their actions are infused with a presumptive suspicion. They analyze and deceive one another - and themselves - as they both solicit and block erotic contact. Circulating within the potent mixes of contemporary entertainment and security cultures, they embody mutually reinforcing mechanisms of pleasure and paranoia. In an increasingly militarized culture, there is a reciprocity between the way that control technologies function and the way that identity coalesces. Homefront performs an analysis of spectatorship and identification that is resonant with the new regime of mediatized security: a "security unconscious" projected into the cinematic lexicon.
Artist(s): Iratxe Jaio
Title: Fish lives in water
Country of production: Luxemburg/The Netherlands
Year of production: 2004

Since a language is not only a way to communicate but also a product of culture, teaching one implies teaching the culture it belongs to. This is how local language lessons become symbolic exchanges between communities. In "Fësch liewt am Waaser” (Fish lives in water) the language lesson is portrayed as if it was a staged performance.

Artist(s): Raed Yassin
Title: , Beirut
Country of production: Lebanon
Year of production: 2003

Yassin was searching for the urban side of Beirut through its marginal characters. During the process of making the video he discovered that Beirut is a suburb of an imaginary city: the street is the image which he loves most, yet also turns out to be a fake, similar to the images we produce and receive continuously: smiling without blinking, like a drug for peaceful sleep. Sweet Dreams!
Artist(s): Andrijana Stojkovic
Title: Kuca (Home)
Country of production: Serbia
Year of production: 1996

An elderly married couple does its best to maintain a sense of homeliness in exceptional circumstances. A sensitive observation of seemingly mundane and quotidian domestic tasks which in the end turn out to be quite extraordinary.