On & Off

On & Off


Video Installation
Dur. 09 min, HD, sound

Four women of different ages and cultural backgrounds lend their personal memories of their fathers’ funerals to Kerstin Honeit. These sound-recorded stories are then lip-synched, embodied and staged in a miniature box, reminiscent of a theatre model. The piece continues the Honeit’s intervention in the field of the disembodied voice in relation to moving images via the technique of lip-synching.

It is only noticeable if you watch, or rather listen, very carefully that it is not Kerstin Honeit who is speaking. Four women have lent their voices to the artist; they are telling some stories about how they experienced their fathers’ funerals. Four women – four plays.

It is a simple stage (a green screen box) that Kerstin Honeit has built. There is a white space (a white cube); in it, only her dressed in a black suit. There is nothing to draw the viewer’s attention away from her performance. Her “white cube” suggests neutrality; her black suit, integrity / seriousness.

There is however a third element that lives in that space – the emptiness.
The empty space that, according to Kant, is an omnipresent space that conveys the “presence of emptiness”. The suppressed omnipresence of death in our society is regulated by a few rituals that help to facilitate dealing with the event “death”. The artist plays with quoting the recognisable demeanour of someone giving a eulogy. In doing so, dressed in her black suit, she transforms borrowed memories, using her lips and body, through the valedictions of others.

“On and off” shows Honeit as the protagonist, substitute and performer simultaneously. Through these multiple voices, she pursues questions of the performative role of significant social initiations.

Text: Susanne Weiß
Translation: Francesca Bondy, Emma Cattell

Kerstin Honeit – On & Off (detail)
On & Off, 2010
Kerstin Honeit – On & Off (installation view)
On & Off, 2010