The video is about the history of US (eating) culture, religiousness, a best friendship and where heroes are produced. In the style of a lecture performance, Gernot Wieland’s video Things That Leave Me Sleepless introduces us to partly real and partly imaginary events and experiences of everyday life in America and Austria.
The speaker is sitting at a lectern on which a microphone, a glass of water and a laptop stand. His lecture is in English and the background is a PowerPoint presentation showing pictures which illustrate his lecture. These include photographs of people, sketches by Wieland and the invitation to a birthday party, full of colourful clouds. The two main themes of his tale are his school exchange in the USA and his friendship with his best friend Christian; these he combines with theoretical aspects of psychoanalysis (Freud, Lacan), the theory and history of art (White Cube, Tatlin), and cultural-historical topics (the American Myth). This mixture of personal, biographical experiences dressed up with academic general knowledge creates an amusing confrontation between cultural stereotypes and the academic use of language, based here upon the modern theme of the hero in the USA. Whether the work is a persiflage on contemporary, theory-saturated artistic life or a poetic performative work of art is an open question. (Sabine Halver)