Der Westen Lebt

1983, 4:30 min, color, sound

Der Westen Lebt is a highly charged work, a powerful visual metaphor of desire within the symbolism of Western cultural mythology. A man and a woman fighting for a kiss collide on-screen with a repeated film fragment of the thrusting pistons of an oncoming train. The couple's erotic interplay is at once passionate, violent and ironic.

The artists create a riveting tension between propulsive motion and frustrated action: The train rushes forward only to have its movement impeded by vom Bruch's staccato repeat-edits. The rapid-fire video switching, which creates a composite text of the couple seen simultaneously with the train, ultimately obscures the image. Even the driving, rhythmic soundtrack is constructed from hypnotically repetitive audio fragments. Fusing cultural iconography and personal imagery, vom Bruch and Fendel construct a post-Freudian self-portrait that positions desire within the context of the apparatuses of historical, cinematic and sexual representation.