Review: le jeu du pendu

Originally posted @ Wayward.

Les jeux anodins ne sont pas toujours les plus anodins

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le jeu du pendu par lamathilde

I recently saw this video again at FIFA. I’d seen it on YouTube soon after lamathilde posted it and I asked her if it could also be featured in NMP: she chose NMP’s love issue–a perfect fit–which comes out Nov 1, 2011. But I don’t want to wait until then to write about it.

I think I could spend some time reflecting on how watching a video online and on the ‘big screen’ are part of the same technolandscape now, and to go with that, that I really don’t understand the reluctance to post video art on the web. I don’t think everyone has to, at least not for all videos at all times, but I think certain works, presented within a particular framework and context are essential in these digital times. As someone who likes to review video art, having access to a version online is key for me to watch.now.overandoveragain. I think I’ve watched le jeu du pendu twenty times now, and I thank the internet for that.

I guess my point is that lamathilde’s generous offerings, in the form of video online – and le jeu du pendu in particular – speaks to a particular political viewpoint that equates the sharing of ideas with the possibility of larger and more unpredictable conversations that are long, long, overdue.

What I love about lamathilde, and about her work (these things cannot really be separated after all) is her political sensibilities. She knows how and when to exude power and how to surrender to it. le jeu du pendu is testament to this and to lamathilde’s unwavering attention to ideas of community, love, and the communicative potential of art. These are elements that stand out for me and that seem to make her voice so present in her work. With this voice – spirit, heart, mind, and body – lamathilde recounts her brother’s hanging using the morbid game of ‘hangman’ as a narrative device. The voice vacillates between that of storyteller, sister, and artist, and is in moments necessarily sarcastic, frustrated, tender, sad, authoritative, and forgiving.

In only 1 minute and 39 seconds, lamathildes draws links between death, gender, discourses of power, capitalist values, and the butterfly effect. Through the weaving process of these important themes and by referring to a game largely based on guessing rather than strategy, lamathilde invites the viewer to ponder accountability–how individual actions are each important to the overall well-being of family, community, humanity, and ultimately, oneself.

Mél Hogan, April 2, 2011.

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