Praxis 8 – 12 Scenes

Dietmar Brehm | Austria | 2010 | 25m
color | sound | Betacam SP PAL

I’ll probably continue making the Praxis series until rigor mortis makes me drop the camera.—Dietmar Brehm

The Praxis series, begun in 2007, has become a favorite project in Dietmar Brehm’s varied catalogue of film works; apparently, as the filmmaker claimed dryly, it will keep him busy for the rest of his life. Praxis 8 comprises 12 digitally altered scenes numbered in succession, from 49 to 60: They represent variations on found and original footage, primarily from the Seventies and Eighties. Classic Brehm motifs—cryptic details of unidentified porn and home movies; persistent noise soundtracks; a naked, tied-up model in a bondage movie; ironically placed kitsch objects; and the filmmaker’s face, shadowed by dark glasses—are synthesized and electronically refined in Praxis 8. Some mysterious events take place: A deformed, two-headed man closes his eyes in slow motion; a movie shot on vacation at the water takes on a different character in a dangerously skewed perspective; a human brain in a jar is seen through colorful filters; and a few isolated frames of Monroe copy Jayne Mansfield are stylized into a mini-horror film. Praxis 8 then ends in the nearly silent scene 60, at almost six minutes this film’s longest fragment. It literally bares its teeth along with silhouettes of filmed strangers: body parts and partial bodies. In Dietmar Brehm’s drastic comedies, however, more than just the physical is examined, the medium itself is the subject of investigation—with virtually obscene transparency, in a kind of x-rated x-ray that doesn’t stop at the human skin. At the same time the space delineated by the various stages in the material—from grainy Super 8 to the unreal sharpness of high-definition digital images—will extend to the pressure chamber where the psychological series of perception tests takes place: Brehm’s cinema is a Rorschach test with direct access to the subconscious.—Stefan Grissemann

Screens as part of Bitches Brew.

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