Dutch Moves

Dalibor Martinis

1986, 53:00 minutes, colour


In a room with a view of picturesque Amsterdam square, the phone rings. A man with a shaved head enters the room and picks up the receiver. Apparently someone has just reminded him that an important TV programme is about to begin, because he hurriedly sits in front of the TV set and turns it on by remote control. He swiftly switches channels until he finds the programme he was obviously looking for. We see naked bodies of a young man and a woman on the bed, dead. The murderer probably surprised them while they were making love or... click, the channels switch and we are in the middle of a sixteenth century historical play. The ambassadors of two rival kingdoms heatedly discuss a diplomatic incident which... click, the "mighty viewer" has decided to switch channels again - and so it goes on, just as we become involved in events on the screen, he abruptly presses the button and we are watching something else. Why is he doing this? Is he trying to discern an order in the seemingly random arrangement of TV channels? Is it possible that the secret agents on channel 12 are linked with the young couple on channel 7, and they in turn with the ambassadors on channel 3? Why is the quaint Dutch landscape suddenly turned upside down? This puzzle reveals a characteristic shared by all participants; although each of them tries to observe without being seen - they all eventually become objects in somebody's view. Except, perhaps, the TV-viewer.

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Critical Writing

Javne Tajne (Public Secrets), 2006. Zagreb: Nakladnici Publishers, 2006.
Harmonious and hazardous couplings: Laboratory exercises in mutuality
by Nada Beros. Martinis Observatorium, 1997. Venezia: Venezia Biennale, 1997.
Video Art Croation-Style
by Mary-Lou Zeitoun. EYE WEEKLY, June 10, 1993.