Dennis Adams: Outtake

January 9 – January 22, 1999


Kent gallery is pleased to present a new projected video work by the New York/Boston based artist, Dennis Adams. The projection will run continuously for two weeks from noon to six beginning Saturday, January 9th at a scale of 15 x 20 feet.

In 1969, Ulrike Meinhof, a socially conscientious journalist working in Berlin, was commissioned by the Sudwestfunk (a German state television network) to write a film script that would critically address orphanages for adolescent girls.  Entitled BAMBULE (a word of African origin meaning “dance” or “riot”), the resulting film was a dramatization based on documentary research.  Completed in the early 1970s under the direction of Eberhard Itzenplitz (in collaboration with Meinhof), the film was shelved by German television when it was suspected that Meinhof had participated in the escape of Andreas Baader from state prison.  The film was not shown until 1995.

Adams extracted and segmented one film “take” (17.33 seconds) of Ulrike Meinhof’s BAMBULE into 416 individual still images.  Adams handed out the film stills, one by one, in their original order, to random passersby on the Kurfurstendamm in Berlin. .  Fitted with a uniquely designed apparatus, attached directly to the artist’s arm, close-ups were taken of the ongoing hand-to-hand transaction of distributing the stills (as handbills).  The extracted film “take” shows a frantic adolescent girl being chased through the corridors of a Catholic orphanage by two nuns.  The Sisters are intent on catching the girl and cutting off her hair as a lesson denouncing her emerging vanity.

Given the unpredictability of the time needed for the distribution of the film stills, the reshooting of Meinhof’s footage proceeds through a new duration and rhythm.

Long pauses of offered and refused film stills are followed by quick sequences of “taken” ones.  Cinematic time is reprogrammed in the real time of the performative action(17.33 seconds is erratically and slowly drawn out to 136 minutes).