Next Level - Two-channel video 2007

Next Level is a two-channel video work that on one level explores the phenomenon of cutters (people who experience an irresistible urge to cut themselves or otherwise hurt themselves). This phenomenon represents a desperate strategy to return to the Real of the body. Cutting is a radical attempt to (re) gain a hold on reality against the unbearable anxiety of perceiving oneself as nonexistent. Here though, in contradiction, we experience what normal exists as a private act as a perfomative display. In stark contrast, the video imitates that of the style of another phenomenon, that of the Suicide-Bomber/Martyr Videos. For suicide bombers self-destruction is a way to reach the Real thing, real production and improvement. This particular pattern of communication, the public statement, is the relative point of impact, which is always meant to play a more crucial role than the action itself, unlike that of the cutter. Within the video this action is reversed, we see a figure sitting casually in the privacy of his home, whose disjointed movement causes an unfamiliarity and tension. He then proceeds to cut himself while appearing to engage with the camera. Overlaid is a found narrative describing the perfect human and how the room is boundless and radiant with light. It is an empty room. There are no boundaries. On a second monitor we see CCTV footage of a Palestinian woman attempting to detonate an explosive belt she is wearing. This is overlaid with the pre-recorded testimony of the Martyr. With the suicide-bomber what counts is the virtual publicity and the attention gained from the action, (unlike that of the cutter). One can conclude here, that the importance of such actions lies in the staged statement as such, while the actions themselves are secondary despite their magnitude. While viewing this video we question the performative aspects of the action being documented, as we can that of the suicide-bombers testimony, but what links both these actions is the desire of the individual to locate themselves within some form of perceived reality.