Die Distanz zwischen mir und meinen Verlusten

1983, 10:11 min, color, sound

In this startlingly original and highly charged work, Odenbach locates the construction of self and identity in the realm of vision, creating an enigmatic memory theater of popular and historical representation. The Romantic opera of Schubert's Erl King alternates with Burundi funeral songs as the dark musical accompaniment to this inquiry into personal and cultural loss and desire. Using a formal distancing device, Odenbach masks the screen with horizontal and vertical bands of black, allowing the viewer the partially blocked vision of a voyeur. The fragmented slivers of visible images — archival footage that suggests a Leni Riefenstahl film, pornographic film, playing cards, ambiguous objects manipulated by Odenbach — are rendered even more provocative by the censoring force of the black bands. While the concealing panels frustrate vision, the elusive images that are revealed suggest the existence of another reality "beneath" the surface — memory? the subconscious? Odenbach positions identity in a tense relation to history, culture and sexuality, where the self is only partially visible and partially knowable.

Scenario/Sound/Editor: Marcel Odenbach. Music: "Der Erl Koenig," Schubert; "Chant Avec Cithare," Burundi.