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Caligari und der Schlafwandler (Caligari and the Sleepwalker), 2008
Installation with single channel projection, black box covered on the outside with black boards and single channel video on monitor
Ed. of 6 + 2 AP

"Caligare and the Sleepwalker" was shown for the first time at „Rational/Irrational“ at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, curated by Valerie Smith, 2009. Inspired by Robert Wiene’s 1920 film classic, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Javier Téllez formed in collaboration with non-professional actors/patients a series of workshops at Vivantes Klinik in Berlin.
The setting for the film takes place in and outside of Erich Mendelsohn’s expressionist Einstein Tower in Potsdam, in the auditorium of Haus der Kulturen der Welt, and at the Klinik. The film opens with a line from Jean Genet’s play "The Blacks: A Clown Show", (Genet was himself inspired by Jean Rouch’s film Les Maîtres Fous), which picks up the ideas of a play within the play and of role reversals in order to question the psychiatric institution and ideas of normalcy and pathology. In the workshops the participants were asked to engage in the creation of fictional narratives based on the original 1920 film. The incorporation of the solar observatory of the Einstein Tower as the main element of the film reflects the multiple optical natures of the cinematic apparatus. Its expressionistic architecture serves as a reference to the original set design of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and helps to catalyze the patients' performances. Through an anthropological approach that merges documentary and fiction film style, performances are rooted in role-playing and improvisation. The film brings out ideas that circulate around concepts of the 'Doppelgänger', subjective perceptions of space, possession, otherness, and schizophrenia.
(based on a text by Valerie Smith, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin 2008)

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