I [beat (it)]

© Generali Foundation Collection—Permanent Loan to the Museum der Moderne Salzburg © Bildrecht


I [beat (it)], 1978

Video, color, sound, 4 min 2 sec Performer: VALIE EXPORT Photography: Michael Ballhaus Produced by: Michael Steiner


Artwork text

Motto: Life is in our own hands even if we skid and move through it with great difficulty. However, if we do not strike out against it, we will disappear. Material: 3 monitors, 3 video-tapes, 8 shackles made of lead, leaden gloves, 1 photo of a woman (lying on the floor), a canister of lubrication oil, a continuous tape-loop, an automatic amplifier. The three monitors form a triangle. On the screens are three dogs, yelping at us. This triangle and the barking represent the constant inspection directed at us by fatherland, Mother Nature, and (masculine) ideology. The triangle of the monitors stands for an entire concatenation of trinities, beginning with the hallowed father, son, and Holy Ghost and ending with the profane configuration; man, sex, and morals. A photograph of a recumbent woman is situated in the middle of this triangle. I move towards this image with spiraling steps, strewing lubricating oil all the while. My movements, however, are of an extreme nature since my extremities (legs and arms) are burdened. The eight movable joints of my extremities are encompassed by lead manacles and fastened with leather thongs in such a way as to obstruct free movement. My hands are encased in lead gloves: only with great effort can my hands continue to serve as a means of production. The freedom and complete movement of my arm and leg joints are greatly handicapped. My limbs hang from my torso like functionless extensions of my bodily being. The oil is ambivalent: it smoothes the waves of the sea; makes it congeal but causes one to lose one’s footing on land. A calm and humbled state should reign. These are the gliding, lubricating method used to satisfy society’s desire for frictionless communication—even at the price of the destruction of the many. (VALIE EXPORT)

Lending history
2006 Lausanne, CH, LUFF Underground Film Festifval