THE END OF SOMETHING will have it’s festival premiere at 39. Kasseler Dokfest in Kassel, Germany from 15.-20.11.22 in the exhibition “Monitoring”:

THE END OF SOMETHING | Video | 15 min | 2021 | Paris

“In the last summer before the corona pandemic, a techno-religious spectacle unfolds underneath the Eiffel Tower – a touristic ritual of life to those who came before, to those who will come in the future, and to those who are present now.

A final fireworks display in the summer sky of late capitalism, with promises of romantic love & eternal beauty. A daydream of mass tourism – the blessing and curse of Paris.”

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reviewed by Kim Schoen

Wilhelm’s use of slow motion in his video The End of Something, shot all around the Eiffel Tower in Paris, right before the pandemic hit, allows us to view the moments before, during and after the taking of a photograph. The extension of time that comes from shifting 25 frames per second to 50 fps, reminds us that a photograph is but a single ‘frame’. 

What is allowed to unfold is the magisterial amount of work our bodies (which include our brains) do in just a fraction of a second. Just how much perception is going on in our eyes and brains and bodies in these fractions! The downward turn of an eye telegraphing disdain or embarrassment before a motion is even completed. The self-consciousness before the radiance of a smile. We watch a mother push up the white-jeaned knee of her young daughter because presumably her pose will look better that way, but then we see her knee flop back down to the side until an instruction is yelled out. The small child pulls her knee back up again obediently and arches her back. What has she learned about life in that second, that tiny moment?

So much can be learned from this intense scrutiny, or shall we say witnessing: humans witnessing other humans witnessing themselves. This reflection on the photograph and how we want to see ourselves is perfectly done through another lens, that of video. Wilhelm allows us to witness the manifold complexity that exists in the very brief act of taking a photograph.

It can appear distressing, the baubles and bangles of souvenir-ship, small chains of Eiffel Tower key rings choking the arms of immigrant salesmen, the puckered lips of a fake kiss for the camera, class differences manifesting in gestures and glances. In one particularly dense scene, a woman in a sweatsuit dotted with sequined mouths asks for money in a park and is instead given a crust of bread by a well-dressed woman who we have previously seen swigging from a champagne bottle alone, tossing those same crusts of bread to small sparrows with delight. The gifter grimaces at the initial request but then, as the moment unfolds, her eyes fill with regret as she realizes what she has done. These micro moments, in which lives are broken down and made, can be devastating. In another, more reassuring scene, we see a man’s hand moving to rest on his bride’s stomach—offering her comfort and warmth without a thought. Just an instinct—a flash frame, really— to care.

The End of Something ends with a firework display at the Eiffel Tower, explosions dark and glittering, for a moment drawing our attention away from ourselves, and our witnessing, to the thing witnessed that is not us.


MONITORING – Exhibition for Time-Based Media Art | Kasseler Kulturbahnhof

The exhibition Monitoring presents artworks which include film, audiovisual, digital or media-critical approaches into Installation. It provides a forum for media art and presents well-established artists and promising up-and-coming talents. The thematic focus and the curatorial concept of the exhibition are composed based on received submissions of an open call by a Jury of cultural workers, artists, and curators. All works in the exhibition are nominated for the Golden Cube for the best media installation, which is endowed with 3,500 €. The award is donated by the software company Micromata GmbH.

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