Ping Pong, 1968
Film, N-8mm, black and white, silent, solid screen,
table tennis rackets and ping pong balls
3 min (loop)
Projection area approx. 150 x 200 cm
One must try to hit the points that appear on the screen with the bat and ball. A film featuring play—a feature film. Free of semantics, the relationship between viewer and screen becomes clear: stimulus and reaction. The aesthetics of a conventional film is a physiology of behavior, its manner of communication an event in perception. Ping Pong makes explicit the power relationship between producer (director, screen) and consumer (viewer). What the eye tells the brain here is a trigger for motor reflexes and reactions.
Ping Pong reveals ideological relationships. Viewer and screen are partners in a game whose rules are dictated by the director of the film, on the condition that screen and viewer agree on a transaction. In this sense, the consumer reacts actively. Nothing shows the dominant character of the screen (as the director’s manipulative medium) better than this: No matter how much the viewer plays a role and plays with the screen, it changes nothing, or at best, only little, about his or her status as a consumer. (VALIE EXPORT)