Die Forelle (The Trout) Installation view
About the video
Die Forelle (The Trout) is a synchronised video installation consisting of two cubic monitors that have been placed next to each other on plinths; each shows a separate video. The one screen shows a life-size, full-face portrait of the artist posed before a light background. The other screen shows a trout, also life-size, that is swimming in front of an identical background. In the course of the video, the trout is deprived of its water, while the woman in the other video is submerged under water. Each image is cropped in such a way that the containers as well as the sources of the water remain unseen. Under these reductive experimental conditions, the habitats of human being and fish are exchanged and their subsequent reactions are exposed to view.
The first video begins with the bust-image of a young woman; she breathes calmly and gazes almost motionlessly at the viewer. Suddenly the sound of water is heard; shortly thereafter, it makes its way into the bottom of the imaged space and gradually rises. The monitor thus sug- gests a container, an aquarium that is being filled. As soon as the water has reached the level of the young woman’s mouth, she begins to drink it. However, she is soon unable to make any more gains against the steadily rising water and is forced to hold her breath. She patiently and mo- tionlessly waits in the water, while her gaze seems strangely absent. In the meantime, the water reaches the upper edge of the image and begins to fall again; when her nose and then her mouth finally re-emerge, she immediately begins to breathlessly gasp for air. The water continues to drain off until it has completely disappeared from the cube.
At the beginning of the second video, a trout swims about in the water without ever leaving the space defined by the monitor. Thus, the illusion of the monitor as container is created here as well. The water level gradually sinks – synchronised with the rising of the water in the first video. The fish has less and less water in which to swim and its freedom of movement becomes more and more restricted, until it is left on dry ground for a brief moment. It flops around in the empty container while the young woman on the other monitor holds her breath under water. For a frac- tion of a second, the trout lies there motionlessly – as though dead – until the water begins to rise again, after which it falteringly renews its swimming motions. Shortly afterwards, the young woman in the adjacent monitor begins to breathe again as the water level sinks.