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Axel Lapp
future greats
art review
march 2008


Hamburg-based artist Romeo Grünfelder’s newest project, a short film
on the conflicts between science and parascience, describes a scientist’s
psychophysical experiment to measure and render as force the collective
emotions displayed during a football match in a Cologne stadium. The
experiment fails, and in a hallucinatory encounter with Maxwell’s
demon, the character wheeled out whenever an experiment’s results are
inexplicable, the scientist’s time–space fall apart. Visually this almost
becomes a representation of the orgiastic masses in the stadium, and thus
a very different result to the experiment. So far only the storyboard for the
film, titled Planspiel (Simulation Game), exists, although it has also been
rendered as a comic.

Grünfelder’s interest is in the paranormal and the quaint, but even
more so in the improbable storytelling associated with it. How would
you make a filmic treatment of the paranormal? What information
constitutes a storyline? What has to be said, and what can be left out?
How cinematographic does film have to be? What is linearity? Exploring
these questions in an earlier project titled Rallye (2004), the artist films
a black-and-white country road from inside a car travelling at high speed.
Later the camera finds a black Porsche standing in a garage, smoke curling
back under its bonnet, as though the film has been reversed; issuing from
the car’s radio is the report of a driver’s death in a street rally. Nothing is
actually seen. Surely the report concerns a different road, a different car
– a demolished one at that – and still this film strings together images of
a specific car crash that the viewer almost believes he has seen. Another
film purports to be a Super 8 fragment by the late American painter and
filmmaker Jack Goldstein. At first [desi’re:] (2004) shows some roses
on a cliff, then picks up a woman down at the beach as she walks into the
water, begins to swims and suddenly disappears. The camera lingers on the
water, but she never resurfaces, and we assume that she has drowned. The
voiceover is analytical about the material, the subjects, the connections to
Goldstein, and totally unemotional when it comes to the disappearance
of the woman, as if her story was just the surface of the film’s material,
without depth or content. And of course, it is just film, and thus the medium
of make-believe, the fragment as such not real, the woman an actress who
did not die...