gunfight / bloodpour, 2001
stills from dual channel video
continuous loop dvd projection
The use of digital media in our video work allows for the manipulation of time and space, by mimicking classic movie making trickery with the use of new technology. This combination of old and new film making techniques creates a new stylistic form and acts satirically in relation to Hollywood produced action films.
In Gun Fight, two women, one blonde and one brunette of similar build, wear identical gray uniforms and run around in a staged gunfight. The performance takes place in a monochrome minimalist set with various shades of gray. The props are reminiscent of gallery pedestals or cinder block structures and act as both obstacles and shields within the set. The characters tote gray guns that shoot fake blood. The result is a slow progression from a pristine set and clean clothing to a blood splattered set and soiled clothing.
In the editing process, approximately every half-second a cut is made and the time is manipulated in varying lengths that range from real time to 1000% faster. Each segment is mathematically calculated and specifically sped to either accentuate or detract from various actions, paying close attention to body and shadow movements. Stylistically, we have made the choice to fade in as well as out from gray. This allows for the background coloration to remain constant, yet the characters, props and action slowly appear and disappear in both time and space.
In Blood Pour, the same two characters are present in the set after the action in Gun Fight has occurred. One character is laying on the floor, while the other enters the scene to stand over her. Each takes a turn pouring a container of fake blood onto the other. The result is that both characters lay still in a pool of blood. In contrast to Gun Fight, Blood Pour’s speed is manipulated to approximately half of real time. In combination with the silence this acts to accentuate the subtleties of movement in the space drawing out the action. Similarly, the stylistic choice of the fade in and out to gray is used.
Similar to all our work, we use non-collaborative actions and re-contextualize them in a collaborative manor. In the Gun Fight and Blood Pour video we examine violence with no aggressor and no victim, both characters act as equal participants, although their unique personality traits surface. In Gun Fight the guns do not shoot bullets, but shoot blood. In Blood Pour the blood is poured onto the characters, the characters do not physically bleed. Both methods of blood application make reference to the result of violence without showing any of the actual aggression inherent in violence, similar to children’s play. The use of the gray color palette emphasizes a contrived neutral space where this dangerous action does not normally occur. In Gun Fight the silence and jump cuts make reference to old silent films, where the silence magnifies the action. We make a parody of female action films (girls with guns), and explore this by making stylistic choices inherent in western and action films, such as the slow motion dying scene. Film trickery is made obvious with references to films such as Godard’s Weekend.
all images © Diana Shpungin & Nicole Engelmann 2000-2007