Ich mache die Schmerzprobe (I do the Pain Test)

1984, 6:25 min, color, sound

The crack of a whip repeats insistently throughout this provocative work, which posits male body-building as a charged metaphor for authoritarian structures. With this undercurrent of discipline and punishment, Odenbach conflates the construction of the physical body with the psychological, pain with pleasure, seduction with oppression. Fragmented images of a man working out on exercise machines are intercut with Baroque statuary and architecture, and male action scenes from Hollywood films. Isolated in panels that divide the screen into a triptych, the movements of the exercise machines become threatening, the exertions of the body-builder masochistic. Odenbach's ritual "pain test" of Western manhood and cultural tradition ends on a view through a tattered curtain.

Editors: Marcel Odenbach, M. Ferber. With: Gisbert Pohlmann, Manfred Darmer. Music: "Don Giovanni," Mozart. Produced by Video-Inn, Cologne.