‘Just another montage (confessions of an Art Guard)’

Dafna Maimon’s take on arts industry workers, recent art school graduates, art guards and the dreams and fears of the people at the frontline of cultural institutions. The protagonists use black parcan theatre lights on mic stands to frame their monologues. A white light too strong. Lights. Camera. Action.The repetitious scenes were almost nausea inducing in their hammy under/overacted delivery. Exquisitely bland dialogue, sometimes directed to audience members or the unwitting gallery visitor who becomes part of the narrative. Tiny, intoxicating scenes that would be repeated over the course of an hour.

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Inane moving of lights. Incessant moving of the framing devices. The power a directed light has to focus energy and create an immediate stage is profound. The spotlight gives license to the characters to deliver lines in much the same way that social networking platforms or micro-blogging services gives licence to transmit little traumas, everyday desires and narcissistic impulses. These individuals prepare their monologues for the amorphous mass, one liners that are both media-conscious and personal. They recite language to the ether, not a directed conversational language, but a never-ending stream of quotes, self-critical comments and weak commands. The dialogue of mediated individualism. I felt we were trapped in the lucid daydreaming IM chats of bored gallery sitters and wannabe curators.

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Melodramatic pauses and romantic dialogue interspersed with asides to the audience “If this was a film I would be shot over the shoulder in medium close-up”. Characters moving in highly artificial arcs. The pacing is drawn out and gives ample room for slippage, coincidences and accidents. A character sighs and delivers a highly breathy and despairing “Help. The website is stuck again”. This is anti-depressant operatic tragedy set to the scale of 21st century comment culture.

09/01/10. W139, Warmoesstraat 139, Amsterdam

Directed by Dafna Maimon

Performers: Anu Vahtra, Lot Meijers, Steven de Jong, Timothy Moore