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Tin House Reels: Keren Cytter

Literally “The Whisper of the Devi”, Keren Cytter’s “Les Ruissellements du Diable” is a story of obsessive imaginations and the ways in which we can both obliterate and subscribe to reality. Based on Julio Cortázar’s “Las babes des Diablo” (also the basis for Michelangelo Antonioni’s film Blowup), the narrative involves a man and a woman simultaneously telling a story, him speaking in the third person singular and her in the first person. This incongruity helps obliterate the line between reality and fiction.

Characterised by a non-linear, cyclical logic, Cytter’s films often consist of multiple layers of images; conversation; monologue, and narration systematically composed to undermine linguistic conventions and traditional interpretation schemata. Recalling amateur home movies and video diaries, these montages of impressions, memories, and imaginings are poetic and self-referential in composition. The artist creates intensified scenes drawn from everyday life in which the overwhelmingly artificial nature of the situations portrayed is echoed by the very means of their production.

Keren Cytter is an Israeli visual artist. After graduating from De ateliers in Amsterdam, Cytter has made several works that have been shown internationally including “the Date Series” (2004; a series of short narratives written, filmed and produced in the period of one year), “The Victim” (2006, awarded the prestigious Bâloise Art Prize at Art Basel), “Repulsion” ( 2005; after on Polanski’s Repulsion), and “The Milk Man“(2003).

For her latest project, Vengeance (a seven-part video narrative epic), Cytter takes her own currently changing life situation as inspiration. Having recently moved to New York, Cytter adopted the US TV-platform of the “daily soap” as a structural format to processes classic themes of drama in personal relationships: love, envy, betrayal, and vengeance. Cytter’s characters perform exaggerated scenes of soap genre clichés, such as cheating on partners, and professions of love. Unlike her older series of video works and their intimate settings, the scenes in Vengeance were filmed at 15 different places around Staten Island and New Jersey, including restaurants, hotels, parks, apartments, and streets. A total of 50 actors, most of them professionals, fulfill their social functions with blank faces. They provide a projection space for the beliefs and stereotypes of each viewer.

Tin House Reels is a weekly feature on The Open Bar dedicated to the craft of short filmmaking. Curated by Ilana Simons, the series features videos by artists who are forming interesting new relationships between images and words.

We are now accepting submissions for Tin House Reels. Please upload your previously unpublished videos of 15 minutes or less to Youtube or Vimeo and send a link of your work to tinhousereels@gmail.com

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