Dirt Site

(1990, 15:50', SD, stereo)

 

 A text about the universe and its creation, as mirrors or counterfeit, is printed on a black background. The entire film is a sort of exploration of the obscure side of things. Shots taken with a hand-held camera show rather dilapidated buildings, buildings where, from the inside, it is difficult to say which parts are the living accommodation, offices or working areas. There are a lot of windows and the camera occasionally stops at one; the type of picture then changes and we can see pictures of reptiles in very humid vivariums, with a heavy, suffocating atmosphere. During all this time, a woman's voice off the screen reads out a narrative text to the first person which relates a dreamlike experience, hence the story forms a sort of permanently activated loop. Engraved texts (tombstones or ancient commemorative steles) accentuate the archaeological impression given by the images of ruins and saurians. The contemporary world, however, with its plastic materials and metal machines, takes over and the film ends with an image of mechanical movement (the machine cannot really be identified), a sort of interminable screw. Silence and darkness form the final abyss where everything dissolves. In the aesthetic tradition of the rest of his work, with Dirt Site, Alexander Hahn offers a narrative, visual mediation on the theme of origin and decay. The text functions through the use of recurrent metaphors (sunlight as intelligence) and by aphorisms that express detachment or disenchantment colored with wisdom. The characteristic of this film in relation to Viewers of Optics or Aviation Memories resides in the almost complete unity of the place that accentuates the logic of withdrawal into oneself. The archaic, terrifying symbolism of the crocodiles is also a specific element of this film, one of Alexander Hahn's only films to introduce pictures of animals.

(Lysianne Léchaut-Hirt, in New Media Encyclopedia)

 

The tape has won several festival prizes such as the Grand Prix of the 1992 Festival International du Jeune Vidéo, Montréal/CA or Work of Excellence at the 1990 Tokyo Video Festival.