Imagine Language (Day_00, Day_03, Day_01)

“It’s about a man and a woman who no longer speak the same language. The dog they take on walks intervenes and speaks. How I’m going to do it, I don’t know. But the rest is easy,” Godard once commented about his film Adieu au langage. Eerily enough, these sentences come to mind while viewing Imagine Language (Day_00, Day_03, Day_01). In the age-old polemic of film and language, are the terms “adieu” and “imagine” in greater symbiosis than previously considered? Imagine that Chantal Kaufmann’s film initially gets going after the farewell from language. Imagine that language has returned in the course of the work but has not been allowed to occupy its old explanatory role — thus the verbally indecipherable endows it with a sense of magic.

Three days, three parts. A stream of images, songs, sounds — and writing: first, hacked into the computer, then in subtitle format. The subject matter stays both open and hermetic: mistake, errors, a space kept allegedly unmeaningful, thus the comprehensive exchange occurs in the interactions between sound-, word-, and moving image gestures. Streams of thought become memories, associations lead in rapid cuts from the pigeon to the arm on the steering wheel, or from the pigeon’s eye to the human eye; tiredness, the pigeon’s eye buzzes, the camera zooms into the three letters RAT. As an image flashes, thoughts crystallize before the writing officially formalizes them.

Finally, the driver sits by the river; she busies herself with a rubber band, before turning to the camera with an unexpected gesture. When art gazes at the world, there is always the hope the world will return the gaze. Here it does: laughing, with mirrored glasses and fake vampire teeth made of date pits. A date and a rendezvous: imagine they’re the same thing says language, before it disappears again. 

(Regina Schlagnitweit)

(Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt)


All language is a convention shared by at least a few. Of all languages, cinema’s own one has been being challenged for almost as long as it has been standing. That is its beauty, and sometimes its only luxury. Imagine Language portrays three days, three pieces of time that shape their own communication. Images and sounds coming directly from the light and temperature of this world; a poem, snatched from someone while they write on a computer; a series of subtitles that move the way thoughts do when they flow freely and anxiously in every direction. (Lucía Salas, Viennale 2022)

Orig. Title
Imagine Language (Day_00, Day_03, Day_01)
Year
2022
Countries
Austria, Switzerland
Duration
9 min
Director
Chantal Kaufmann
Category
experimental, artist film
Orig. Language
english
Subtitles
english
Credits
Director
Chantal Kaufmann
Cinematography
Chantal Kaufmann
Music
Annie Anxiety, Chantal Kaufmann
Editing
Chantal Kaufmann
Performer
Jonida Laçi
Available Formats
Digital File (prores, h264) (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
16:9
Sound Format
stereo
Frame Rate
25 fps
Color Format
colour