KatharinaViktoria & KatharinaViktoria 2(021)

16mm, silent, 1 min, 2011 & 16mm, silent, 1 min, 2021
KatharinaViktoria (35mm-Blow up), Photography, Fine Art Print, 60 x 40 cm, 2011
KatharinaViktoria 2(021)-Blow up, 16mm film transferred to fabric, 50 x 600 cm, 2022

A film loop showing the similarity of the artist and her sister in 240 16mm single-frame portraits. The individual frames were recorded one after the other in camera without any editing in post-production. Due to the phi-phenomenon, the rhythmically fast cutting of the individual portraits becomes a mixed portrait of both faces. Alternating and increasing, the series of frames changes from one to a series of four portraits per person. At this pace, the eye is able to perceive a difference.

For the photowork – accompanying the film – the 240 16mm frames were scanned and enlarged to 35mm. This procedure corresponds to the process of blowing up small-gauge films to 35mm for theatrical projection. Just as a blow up enables projection in a cinema and allows the film to be shown to a larger audience, the enlargement of the frames reveals the film’s rhythm and makes the individual portraits visible.

A lot happens in the sixty seconds of KatharinaViktoria 2(021): a re-enactment and sequel, a cinematic experiment with single images, a study of perception, a double portrait (or an extended self-portrait), a reflection on familial similarities and closeness. 

In her (now doubled) double portrait, the artist and filmmaker Viktoria Schmid works with the basal categories of filmmaking – the setup, the shot, the handling of filmic time – and then breaks them down into their individual elements and reassembles them. The experiment had its beginning in 2011, when 240 individual images of two faces – her own and that of her sister Katharina – filmed in high-contrast black and white, were taken with a 16mm camera, looped four times and then combined into a montage of both faces in rapid rhythm. The human eye – a comparatively “sluggish” organ – perceives the staccato images as a stroboscopic illusion of movement (the so-called phi phenomenon). In this way, the two faces are symbiotized to form a mixed portrait – a KatharinaViktoria. For the second film, Schmid repeated the experimental arrangement with a great number of individual images – 960 this time. The filming technique has remained the same, as has the title – albeit with a “2” having irritatingly slipped out of the parentheses (also presenting a kind of perceptual disorder). 

Between the two one-minute films lies the time that separates the two women from their selves ten years earlier – along with a sisterly relationship whose movements can only be guessed at by the flickering of their images. In addition to being a revision, KatharinaViktoria 2(021) has also become a document of growing older. (Esther Buss) 

KatharinaViktoria 2(021)-Blow up
Exhibition view, Kunsthaus Graz, 2022

This photowork accompanies the film KatharinaViktoria 2(021): the single frames of the film can be experienced with a four-second photographic enlargement. The sequence of the individual images changes in the film from one portrait in succession to up to four portraits per person. Starting from four images, the human eye is able to perceive a difference.

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