This video could be seen as a diagram, an attempt to initiate a space situated beyond the norms of language. At all times, Ralf Marsault is to be seen, although he is probably not quite there at the same time. This choreographed space acts as a point of view that is a multitude. Therefore, it could/would then be used by Walter Richter to escape his victimized status, and, by this mean, eventually be freed.
Walter Willi Erich Richter, born on September 24th 1907 in Lichterfeld-Ost. (Berlin), was arrested for « Unnatural Lust » (widernatürlicher Unzucht), and deported in July 1942 to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, under the identification number 44640. He died there on July 28th 1942. A text and four black and white photographs silkscreened on a board of metal, exhibited inside the camp, remind visitors of his time in the camp.
Walter would not hide his longing for wearing women’s clothing. He was even designing dresses for himself out of crêpe paper. An image shows him in one of his creations. On another one a calm smile appears on his face. These images are obviously polysemic, and the location of their exhibition multiplies their meaning’s complexity.
However, that expression of equanimity on his face, tied up with the very materiality of crêpe paper, produces a shift in the spectrum of representation. And this subtle fold, between the smile and the texture of the paper, seems to demand that Walter should break free of his status of victim. Indeed, the impression of something like a delicate trembling suggests an action, and leads towards the choreography of a move.
Heeding this call, figuring oneself at its incidence, could bring any one to become its medium. As if the urgency of an escape, without premeditation and full understanding, or even any hope of achieving anything, was inevitable. Confronted also with what seemed to call for the weapon of tears, it seemed hardly possible to deny the charge of a risk taking.
On the 13th March 2013 in Kreuzdorf Wagenburg (Berlin), I produced and gathered some artefacts for a mediation. None of them were absolutely necessary or even symbolic as such. They revealed themselves thru the kinetic potential of their form, the visual and sonic imprint or traces they could leave.
The next day, I went to the walls of the north-east edge of Sachsenhausen concentration camp. I stood outside. There, I improvised a movement, perceived intuitively and initiated voluntarily, that could design a kind of mediumistic space. A field or a transfer-form, possibly useful for Walter Richter. Something that could help him to ease an escape, allow a flight out.
During this ritual, two witnesses were present : Marc Martin, who was filming it, and Sylvio Hofmann, who remained a silent watcher.
For the recording of my improvised movement, I had wanted one long uninterrupted take. However, the camera stopped recording for a second during the process. The camera operator is convinced he was not responsible for the glitch. Was it a subconsciously deliberate mistake ? Was the cold or a technical failure from the camera responsible ? Which factor permitted this break in the recording ? ...Chance ? One cannot but think that this hiatus remains a metaphor of some kind of escape from observation, refusal to be controlled.
Because I did not come back totally unaffected by the experience either. Though remaining quite rational, with a clear awareness of my inhibitions or clumsy movements, and being under the influence of no drugs of any kind, I was struck for an instant by a kind of overtaking. A form of outtake, that could be synchronous to the blip in filming.
At least, what is it to think about the strength of this fold, between a smile and the texture of the crêpe paper, that urged my acting and led me to this strange kind of trance ?
The recording restarted immediately after the missing second. Was that pure chance or some inevitable thing ? What does it mean ? And why did it happen ? To what end ?