WHAT GERTRUDE STEIN SAID
2017, 05:10 minutes, colour, English
There is in the writing of Gertrude Stein an unequivocal insistence to strip away all meaning from words. To do away with the conventions of subject, sentence, and genre – to circumvent the exact meaning of language – for the sake of liberating the word of its habitual associations as sign. Through Stein the modern project acquires the notion of repetition and de-contextualization, the negation of chronological narrative, and the rejection of authoritarian organization found in grammar, syntax, and plot. Forms which Stein considered rigid, inflexible, and part of the web of hierarchical thinking. Simulating Stein’s process of disembodiment I have removed the figures of the man and the woman in Manet’s painting and reintroduced them into another scene, another context, where a different set of meanings can be ascribed. The suspended up and down repetition of the boat undermines the progression of a linear narrative arch – the figures loose their original idyllic meaning – and assume a more ambiguous relationship emphasized anew through the insertion of Stein’s text (as sub-titles tracking across the bottom of the frame). The mix of elements asserts an internal dialectic that centers on the fixed positionality of the male and female figures in the boat.
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