BORIS + NATASCHA
A GUIDED MEDITATION ON 21st CENTURY ANXIETY (2007)
5 single-channel videos, 4:3, approx. 6:30 mins each
4 meta-narrative photographs, framed
‘RELAX INTO FEAR’ T-Shirts for museum’s staff
5 fabric booths with black paint and bench seats, DVD player, monitor, green switch, headphones
A series of five videos, Meditations #1-5 is a twisted re-imagining of self-help guided visualisations, albeit with a slightly more sinister bent. This is anti-relaxation for tough times.
While visualisations of this kind usually lead the viewer into the light, Meditations #1-5 welcomes us into a darker realm of self-doubt, anxiety, paranoia, angst and panic attacks. Shrouded in darkness and wearing headphones, the viewer actively chooses to start the video by pressing a green switch. The stylized, single-cut, fixed camera view shows a main character in their environment. This is combined with a hypnotic voiceover and a dark, contemplative score by composer David Parsons. The viewer is then lulled through a series of relaxation techniques to end up in a worst case scenario. It remains ambiguous whether the narrations stem from the character’s internal voice or speak to them.
The meta-narrative photos reveal how the video characters are connected.
MEDITATIONS #1-5 is a collaboration with Australian artist Natascha Stellmach. More on www.borisandnatascha.com.
Biennial of Contemporary Art in Le Havre 2008: The Partouche Award for Experimental Short Film.
- If you leave me can I come too?’, ACP Sydney (Australia)
- I took a deep breath’, PICA – Perth Institute of Contemporary Art / Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth (Australia)
- Balanceakt Sicherheit / Körber Photo-Award, Deichtorhallen Hamburg (Germany)
- Monitoring, Fridericianum Kassel (Germany)
- Biennale D’Art Contemporain Le Havre (France)
- Athens Video Art Festival (Greece)
Each video guides us into the transcendental depths of suburban paranoia and insecurity. The dialogue sways between internal monologue and instructional recording, ill-contained anxiety and painful self-consciousness. It’s enough to put me off yoga for a month.
Dan Mackinlay, Realtime Magazine (Australia)
BORIS + NATASCHA share a fascination with language and the discrepancy of diverse perspectives, which might have come straight from a Chandler novel.
MIKE STUBBS, Director FACT, Liverpool (UK)
From mild anxiety to amplified mental distress, it’s a convincing, deeply empathetic political critique.
Lisette Kaleveld, Thread Magazine (Australia)
This is strong stuff.
Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
A tongue-in-cheek exploration into a place where paranoia and panic-attacks reign supreme.
Ryan Lungu (Australia)
It really kind of put me in a strange, connected kind of mood, if that makes any sense.
Benjamin Penfold-Marwick, Hello Internet (Australia)
Despite its irony, it’s pretty heavy work.
The West Newspaper (Australia)
Meditations is a sardonic self-help exercise which leads viewers through an assortment 21st-century anxieties. Enter the darkness, clap on some headphones and try some ‘relaxation techniques’ that are anything but soothing.
Andrea Tomaz (Australia)