Klaus vom Bruch

Kölnischer Kunstverein

Klaus vom Bruch’s video installation, Jam-Jam-Projekt, 1993, asserts actuality through innovation, interaction, and provocation. His reference to Charlie Chaplin adds irony and humor, but beyond the playfulness of this work (or perhaps in the middle of it, depending on the viewer’s location) is a place of contemplation. The space of the Kunstverein offers possibilities for new visual perspectives. The walls and ceiling are more than just supports for the images; they become receivers and pathways. Projectors and monitors are more than transmitter—they create images. Just below the ceiling vom Bruch has hung a figure eight onto which the monitors and projectors are attached. It is an elevated movie machine from which monitors and projectors travel through the room. At various places different images are shown; their subject is movement in the broadest sense. For example, images of Walter Ulbricht, the former premier of the German Democratic Republic, and Muammar el Qaddafi are projected. Both power figures have an almost operettalike quality as enlarged television images. On the opposite wall there are images from a Jacques Tati film: quiet, seemingly senseless, yet promising meaning, and packed with tension and anticipation.

The effect of the entire piece, underlined by a direct feed from Sky News every hour, has the quality of spectacle—in the sense of a drama. The actors are technology, the media, the images, the projectors, the monitors, the sound; the viewers must interact and cannot withdraw from the spectacle. The otherness of the video installation is simply too grand, too overwhelming. Media reality, image reality, and spatial reality form the trinity of a new hyperactual video reality, more concerned with seeing from afar than from seeing far; it is unfocused, imprecise. Somehow it is hyperreal. This installation can make the viewer insecure, but—and this may be a result of the playful structure of the piece—one always knows that the threatening mixture of media can be turned off.

Nobert Messler

Translated from the German by Charles V. Miller.