ALEXANDER HAHN

electronic media artist

 

 

 

 

State of Being

(1982, 19:27',  b/w SD, stereo)

 

Psychotronic short revolving around the psychotropic Sanidin. Shot with 1/2" Sony portapack.

With David McGrievey, Hanspeter Keller, Steve Whitesell, Kristin Lund, and the voices of Christine Hatfull, Mel Carpenter, and Michael Duffy

 

This video begins to the musical theme from the American TV series Mission Impossible; this sets a tone reminiscent of televisual thrillers and clichés. A secret agent is conducting an investigation on the effects of a drug, Sanidin, supposed to pacify the soul, but which has disastrous secondary effects: aggressivity, suicidal tendencies. The film is a mixture of pictures filmed by Alexander Hahn with actors, extracts from television news, extracts from pharmacological documentaries, fixed images (photographs) well-known landscapes, archive images of crowds, accidents, fires; electronic effects are given to some of the images. The whole gives a very realistic impression: it is almost believable. As in The Outer Plant, this film made in New York in the early Eighties, inspired by televisual culture, combines all sorts of comments on the relationships between reality and the images given of it, as well as the limits of human reason in a classic fiction work. Hahn shows considerable interest in the images found (found footage), and is already beginning to explore the manipulation techniques that are to become his personal trademark in future work. The interest of this work, which can now be perceived as the germ of subsequent accomplishment, is inherent in Hahn's capacity for grouping together all sorts of images from diverse sources into a very personal visual continuum; the film's montage is very astute, the humor of the cuts counterbalances the force of comment that often verges on moralization. Whilst later films, installations and writing are very marked by the exploration of the subconscious, it could be said that this film is an ironic vision of the televisual culture subconscious, with promises of happiness which have difficulty in concealing stupidity and violence.

 

(Lysianne Léchaut-Hirt, in New Media Encyclopedia)