Gusztáv Hámos: Selected Works

1981-87, 25:42 min, color, sound

To create Commercial, subtitled "one-minute adventures in the world of TV," Hámos and Christoph Dreher taped thirty hours of programming from Berlin television. This appropriated footage of slasher films, Westerns, cartoons and educational programs is set to the music of The Residents. Nine of the "commercials" are collected here. Superman is an early performance experimentation with video as mirror. In Snow White, the mirror is the reflexive focus of Hámos' irreverent retelling of the Grimms' fairy tale. Here, the voice of the all-seeing mirror, which is visualized as a spectrum of colors, illuminates the evil queen so that she is always seen "in another light." Told with raw black humor, Hámos' fractured fairy tale reflects an inventive play on the discourse of video and narcissism. Of the ritualistic Le Dernier Jour, Hámos writes: "At midnight on the last day of the year the Hungarians sing the National Anthem. It is a ritual to bid the past farewell and welcome the future. I sang the Hungarian anthem on 12-31-84 in the streets of Lyons. The last stanza declares: 'These people have done penance, atonement for the sins of the past, as well as the future.' This text reveals that the Hungarian people had an extraterrestrial origin. I have translated this cosmic consciousness into images."

Commercial: By Gusztav Hámos and Christoph Dreher. Music/Lyrics: The Residents.

Superman: With: Y Sa Lo. Editor: Kirk von Heflin. Music: Laurie Anderson.

Snow White: With: Cathy Haase. In German with English titles.

Le Dernier Jour: Singers: M.A. Hertz, Gusztav Hámos. In French with English titles.

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