red carpet (red stripe painting; walking the line)

Lisa Birke

2013, 15:00 minutes, colour

TAPECODE 1051.12

“Red carpet” is an extended performance-for-video work filmed by the artist unaccompanied over the course of nine months. It follows a glamorous female figure in a black glittering gown, teetering down a seemingly endless red carpet—a carpet that cuts its way through an ever-changing landscape. Humorously unfettered by the obstacles in her way, we witness the heroine tripping over uneven surfaces, navigating through trees and dense grasses, plunging through a river crossing, maintaining equilibrium on a carpeted log, baring skin bitten by snow and ice, careening down a deep snowy slope, mounting sand dunes and finally disappearing into the waves all while wearing a pair of black, three-inch heels.

Her back always facing the viewer, our heroine refuses personal identification and instead exemplifies type. The viewer is able to follow multiple lines of interpretations in "red carpet". In ancient mythology the red carpet was seen as a godly luxury separating the mortal, lowly earth from the tread of the gods. Today we have become so accustomed to seeing celebrities walking the red carpet at award shows and premieres that the custom does not feel odd or contrived; the dangerous import of ‘mortals acting as gods’ has been lost. Expectation is subverted in “red carpet” where an unidentified woman is walking away from, rather than presenting herself to the viewer.

It is my hope that “red carpet” will continue a dialogue about the representation of the female subject. Women are caught in a sticky web of mythology that defines their every move. They are rarely allowed to author their own fate in cinematic space, even today. “Red carpet” questions but also pays homage to our expectations of the tropes and representations of woman and her relationship to nature, her own image and the big screen.

Installation version: 20 min; theatrical version: 15min, digital video, 2013.

*Part of the 6 channel installation
Pictures in an Exhibition (1051.13).

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