Ritual and Repetition

Hans Gindlesberger
March 1, 2007, 12:25 am
Filed under: Ritual and Repetition


I’m in the Wrong Film, 2006
2:38 min excerpt – Full Running Time 10 mins
Hans Gindlesberger – Buffalo New York


I’m in the Wrong Film is a body of work composed of a series of staged tableaus that interrogate the small town. Presented as a non-linear narrative, these photographic stills and moving images explore identity, memory, place, and the loss of belonging by probing the psychology of a transient character as he is inserted within a variety of constructed environments with which he must interact. This process references the theatre as well as silent film and places the otherwise realistic images at the threshold of a dreamlike space. The techniques employed in synthesizing the images are intentionally left ambiguous. While presenting themselves on the surface as truthful documents, each construction finds a way to falter and show its seams. This disruption of reality is an acknowledgement of the simulated space of the small town. Therefore, the actions of the character within this environment serve as a catalyst for the viewer to think about their engagement with the space around them.

As a result of its neglect or inability to modernize the American small town has fallen victim to economic decline. This decline leaves vacancies that can be seen physically in boarded up windows on Main Street as well as felt psychologically as the town is forced to consider its declining relevance in contemporary society. The community’s sense that it no longer belongs is, in turn, instilled in the people that live there. Consumed by uncertainty about their future, small towns often rush to embrace a nostalgic image of an idealized past with the intent of using it to return to economic viability. However, in imagining themselves as a mythical image that cannot be realized, these towns become simulated spaces. It is within this simulated space that this work explores the impact of home on individual identity. By probing the psychology of a wandering character as he engages a staged photographic environment the interconnectedness of identities of people and place is made apparent. The body of work is composed of self-contained narrative images that imply a cohesiveness that is never realized. Many of these images document a moment of epiphany for the character in which he is presented with an opportunity to make a decision. This repeated emphasis on the will of the character and the absence of decisive action in the midst of an indifferent, ambiguous universe renders these situations absurd.

In his aimlessness the character is a product of the changing relationship of the small town to mass society. Through the observance of his actions we can interrogate contemporary concerns about identity, authenticity, and the loss of belonging in our own homes. Repeatedly viewing these images places the viewer in the same ambiguous, uncertain position as the wandering protagonist. These photographic simulations seduce the viewer into accepting their artifice as natural. Therefore, as the actions of the character disrupt his environment the images serve as a catalyst for the viewer to consider their own sense of place.



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