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Valie Export Author(s): Gary Indiana and Valie Export Reviewed work(s): Source: BOMB, No. 3 (1982), pp.

10-11 Published by: New Art Publications Stable URL: . Accessed: 09/05/2012 14:35
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VIENNA/BUDAPEST/ VIENNA, AUGUST 1981 aboutacGaryIndiana: Whydon'tyou tellme first who was involved in it, and what tionissmuSy who was in it is doingnow? everyone after Vienneseliterary the Valie Export: It started The settled downa little. Gruppe, group,theWiener included first (he'sa Nitsch,and Frohner generation normal painter now.) They made plastics, or on withmaterial empty lying the street, sculptures bottles,chairs.Like Happeningsin Americain the same period. Used objects,thingsthat had been that thrown away.After cameOttoMuehlwho was Brus. lateron Gnther comingfrom painting; films? short G: Duringthistimeyou weremaking VE: No, I started later.I wasn'tin Vienna at the When I came to Vienna I of beginning Actionism. withall these becamefriends people,butI wasn'tdowith them I began with expanded ing things not Cinema. I was very influenced, so muchbyAcin but tionism itself, bythewholemovement thecity. We movement. hadbigscandals, Itwas a really great sometimes againstthepolitique;ithelpedme to brActionism of outmyideas. The content Viennese ing I was not so important. did myactionsin another worknever artists way,withvideo. The Actionism butto docued withmedia. They made films, yes, but menttheir work. Lateron I made 16mmfilms, didn'twork in Austriaany longer. the Actionists and Nitschwas outside Bruswas in Berlin, Vienna, and so was Muehl. GI: One thing you all had in commonwas thebig scandal you made in Vienna. VE: Sure. For example I won a prize fora small I PingPong.The evening gotmyprize politicalfilm, I showedtheTapp und TastCinema."Is thata film? wrotethenextday,"We don't No!" thenewspaper have witches time,butif now, we livein a modern we want witches,we musttake Valie Exportand and burnher!She letspeopletouchherbreasts, she says, celluloidyou can burnbut Valie Exportyou can't." There was a greatcampaignagainstme in Austria. GI: People also reacted badly to Invisible Adversaries. 10 VE: Yes, because of this strange shot wherethey believedI was cutting a bird,and a mouse.We up havethisorganization cango to ifyouthink that you falsehas beenwritten aboutyou; I went something thereand said, "Let's take a look at the film, and done it."Theysaid you'llsee thatI haven'tactually would take a look. I didn'thearfrom them for they I months. askedagainand they maybetwo or three said they takea look, and thatI had doneit.For did two months,something terrible written was about me every daysinthepaperbythis few manSchtabel, who has a column. FinallyI broughta lawsuit I to the againsthim and he was forced print letter senthim.After said Adverthis, everybody Invisible saries ran so long because of this.But thiswasn't true. The box officefigureswere much higher before. Berlin. they've But it's moneyfrom changed mayors, now Weizacker. And he's on the right. I Anyway, want to make filmsabout Vienna and in Vienna- not Austria, in justVienna. I'm not interested thecountryside, mountains all this.Just and the the to cultureof Vienna- itwouldbe interesting bring Or two history. together townswitha broken-down witha place like New York,withitsyounghistory, that.

Vienna was, along GI: At the turnof the century, and artistic with Berlin,the intellectual capital of Europe, it isn't any more. You live inside the about it skeletonof all this; but clearlysomething fascinates you. Austria VE: Yes. This reallyis a dead place. First, doesn'thave a lot of money;second,ifyou livein a a small amount of GI: We weretalking otherday about how films socialistic system,they give the money for culture, and although they give it are financed Austria.There'sbeena change in like centers most goes to the tourist everywhere, VE: In thefinancial situation, We now havethe Salzburg, and the opera, and the rest is divided yes. Film Forderung, the same now as in Germany, equally, promotingmediocrity. it's Nothing new is and we also havethesubvention is givenenoughof an opportunity growup in this but to (subsidy), this forlow-budget films. WiththeForderung can climate. you havemore,butthewholebudget about25 million is deal there was a great whereat one time GI: In cities whichisn't much.Ifyoumakea film, schillings, very of a like ofvitality, Boston,there's lotofevidence the We you mustraise20% yourself. have no distribupast. The moneythe cityputsintothe artsalways tionsystem Austria, private in no to financing prothis glorioushistory, they're goes for preserving duce a film. really It's hardfor kinds film I the of very if afraid takeanyrealsteptowardsomething they to artistic films.So what can I do now in my make, don't know how it'sgoingto comeout. situation? subvention, The I which can get,is a small films. The T.F.B. VE: But in Austria budget,and I wantto makelarger that'snoteventrue, they all put are people from FinancialMinistry, Culture the the We the moneyinto the opera, into the Festspiele. theTradeUnion,also from television. the Ministry, liketheBauhaus, also had greatschoolsin Austria We knowthesepeople. Theyhaveno feeling art for don'tgive but and schoolsabout Otto Wagner, they films. itlooksreally for So bad filmmakers mein like a to continuethem.And it was a history, money Austria. the people here don't even know great history, GI: You got money fromZDF (GermanSecond about. Television Channel)forMenschenfrauen} house to the GI: Well, selling Wittgenstein's VE: A little less thanhalf.The otherhalffrom the Bulgarians but subvention, thatwas halfa yearlater. is VE: This is a very good example.Wittgenstein a and ofourhistory, they GI: Have you offers makefilms to outsideAustria? very givethe part important of moneyforMozart- butforone evening Mozart. VE: Yes, thenextone has Berlin it. BecauseI like in thinking. I is Berlin, feelit'scloseto Vienna,butBerlin bigger, Stupid - it'salso a dead town.Yearsago the GI: Yes, yougo to thisunprecedented of morebeautiful example arculture was thesame way as in Vienna,thepeople chitecture,and the Bulgarians have startedto it were movingbetweenthetwo cities.I wantto get redecorate and changeit.Theyevenown thehead

thatWittgenstein the sculpted, one pieceofsculpture d'affaire's thathe made,and it'ssitting thecharge on desk nextto theBet ax. am wash VE: Oh, they also wash theoperahouse,they thetheaters, costsa lot of money. this GI: I want to ask you about directing actorsand whattheproblems involved foryou. are VE: Itfs hard first all to findthe right of actorsin Austriabecause we have no film scene,so we also don'thavecinemaactors,and onlya smallgroupof cameramen.And it's difficult explain what I to want; I don't like to collaboratewiththe actor,I want the actorto do what I want. I alreadyknow what I wanton thescreen. GI: Let'stalkabout someofthetechniques Invisiin ble Adversaries. VE: In Menschenfrauen video was used whenever there'sa scene in the past tense. Video forme is anothermedium,it's also another way of thinking about cinematography. Invisible In AdversariesusI ed a lot of superimposition filmon video. In of I Menschenfrauen always used it to show a dead message,you can switchit on and off,it'sused to show past time. GI: And thestory Menschenfrauen of now itwill be too late. things GI: Theymakevery different decisions. instance For one of themkillsherself. VE: She was thegirlfriend had before, other he the two girlfriends focustheir the fight against manbut thiswomanleft situation start socialfight, this to a in her profession, but she recognized thatthe social was also dominated men.It'svery hardfor fight by her. She didn'treallywant to kill herself, just she wantedto leave all thesethings. This is whyI chose thisstrange way. She doesn'tdo itlikewomendo it with pills and so on, but withenergy, and fightis Also, electricity a material ing withelectricity. whichI had in myperformances, lastyears.So I the itup inthefilm. madea performance I with brought electric wires thiswas nota symbol, morelike but the gesellschafty gesellschaft always hurt, the will morethanhurt GI: What's thedifference you between first for the and thesecondfilm, whatdo youwanttodo difand in ferently yournextfilm? of you don't reallysee theroleschanging, women, even feminist women act like the housewife this is stillthedominant role roleforwomen. VE: I don't know about America, but thestrange is thingin Austria,in Europe, is thatfeminism a of intellectuals students, and those kindof group women. They'reworking theworkers, the for and but housewives, thesetwo groupsare notso much involvedin feminism. GI: Are you goingto keepmaking performances? VE: Not as often,because, beforewhen I made them, I was always speakingabout, "How is a womanstanding thissociety." in How shemust fight And basicallyit was from own againstsociety. my but you see, I no longerhave thisexexperience, because mylifehas changedoverthelast perience, fewyears;and I can't perform lie. 1 had it really a hardand I felt these all on very things myskin.Now thatmythinking changing, lifeis changing, is I my cannot make performances thesame content. with This doesn'tmean I will nevermake performances again. GI: You said that a certainkind of performance work thatyou did before wasn'treally possiblefor now. Butwouldyoudescribe someofyour youright performances? VE: The lastone I did was in Munich.I was on the stage,in a kindof birdcage, and I had a dog on the and stagein a cage, a birdthatwas in a birdcage, a mousethatwas in a birdcage, there and was a child in a crib who could stand up. The performance too, exactly beganwiththedog eating.I was eating thesame way,notquitethesamegiving someinit dividualexpressions. eat something normal To is in but in society, ifyoutouchyournoseor puta finger your ear, while eating then this is not normal After thatI had monitors, thevideo, and anymore. and I tried makethesamemovement thedogor to as thebird,or themouse,or thechild.I was inthecage and I was barking, thedog,and thedog,hearing like me, did it more; then I ran veryquicklylike the mouse back and forth, crying thechildfor or like maybehalfan hour.AndthenI wentintoan ecstatic state. Photos: PeterHermann 11

VE: I wantto workina more commercial to way, try the I out in it; for nextfilm, wantto bring an artfilm a commercial - it'sreally to difficult, figure way very out the language of cinema, its semanticand and it structure, to bring intoa commerpragmatic cial use; itdependsalso on thestory, dialogues the VE: In the beginning show the relationship I betif and anypicture, youhavethefantasies knowhow ween a man and fourwomen. One is a girlfriend to use media like and photography videoand film, who he wantsto startseeingagain but she doesn't with these you can bringa good storytogether want this. Anothergirlfriend pregnant is and he things. doesn't want the child, so she decides to have it GI: Are you writing screenplay yourself? the alone. One is his wifeand the last one is another by This means I have a modelto show difgirlfriend. VE: Yes, I'm working itnow.A womanwith on two ferent characters womenliving ourtime realof in men. ly justnormal,simplewomen,who wantto havea GI: You seem to have a very odd relationship with or at when friend, a man; and thefilm begins a point Austria,or withVienna. Becauseon theone hand all thesewomenwantto changesomething their in theymake it hard foryou to make movies,and on own life.Forexampleto havea childand notalways theotherhandthey choose youto represent Austria have an abortion;to have thisman aroundor to at theVeniceBiennale. leave him. It's not reallynormalforeveryman to have threeor fourgirlfriends, costsa lot of time it VE: Yes, it'sreally wanted crazy.The Commissaire and money energy, I think a wish, have and but it's to feminism be represented the Biennale. He to at this. I show all thisfrom man's viewpoint the and thoughthatit would be a success.And itwas. also from women's.These fourwomenare not the GI: I thinkfeminism mustbe moresubmerged in thatemancipated, looking thetruth, but for at really Austria thanin othercountries theUS, because like an age in whichtheyknowthatifthey don'tchange