Freeroam À Rebours, Mod#I.1

Stefan Panhans &

Stefan Panhans’ Freeroam À Rebours, Mod#I.1 takes as its point of departure various shortcomings in the behavior of videogame avatars controlled by human players. These 'failure scenarios' are transposed onto the bodies of real performers, and recreated in the medium of film. Such 'failed behaviors' by game avatars – including displacement activities, idling behaviors, repeated failures to perform an action, the imperfect approximations of human movements and gestures – are generally considered to be the result of inadequacies and inability, especially in a society shaped by the pressures of functionality, economic imperatives and (self-)optimization.

At the interface between experimental film, videoclip, performance and contemporary dance, Panhans’ film reworks these 'mistakes'. It shows dancers and actors who have analyzed and rehearsed the flaws in the algorithmic patterns of avatar movements, caused by the moments of uncertainty or lack of concentration in the people controlling them. The performers 'reenact' these mistakes against backdrops and scenery borrowed from videogames, interspersed with sequences from the games. The camerawork closely echoes the 'camera' movements typical of videogames, and the performers interact with both their environment and the camera operators, whose movements form part of the choreography. The digital electronic music, composed especially for the film, resembles videogame music; together with the special montage editing techniques, it gives this engaging choreography of failure an underlying rhythm.

As such, Panhans’ film gives expression to an artistic form of performative resistance à rebours for our contemporary social situation, against the goal of functionalism. (Anne Greb)

* We can only show an excerpt of this work in the online archive. For the complete version, please contact the artist.

About the video

Title Freeroam À Rebours, Mod#I.1
Year 2016
Videonale VIDEONALE.16
Length 00:16:13
Format 16:9
Country Germany,
Language No dialog
Courtesy the artist
Specifications 4K, colour, sound, single-channel video

About the artist

Stefan Panhans
  • 1967 in Hattingen, GER. Studied at the Merz Akademie in Stuttgart, GER, and at Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Hamburg, GER

Insights at Videonale X

desktop selfie
Walking the dog without dog. Why Stefan Panhans and Andrea Winkler have much better thoughts while going for a walk than staying at home.
X questions
What do Chia Seeds & Artificial Intelligence have in common? Stefan Panhans and Andrea Winkler think both are overrated!
Stefan Panhans & Andrea Winkler talk about GTA 5, unlearning movements and share an old movie trick.

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