The third video installation, a work by Sandra Schäfer, is situated near the entrance to Tornitz Church. Here there is a small, low side room, used for the poorly attended Sunday services during cold weather which would not warrant the expense of heating the nave. For this reason the room is also called the „winter room”. The insulating (somehow kitsch) carpet in this room dampens every footstep. Here there are three small podia (or rather pedestals) upon which monitors (in portrait format) show formally adapted portraits of the Royal Guards at Buckingham Palace, without sound and again in real time (i. e. unedited). They can be seen on the cover of every second London travel guide and on many tourist postcards: these guards of honour in their red and black uniforms with their rifles and bayonets and the conspicuous, ridiculous busby hats, who have to stand still in their little sentry boxes, only to perform staccato and grotesque marches at certain times of day. Every movement is prescribed exactly, portioned and preconditioned. Without mercy and with thought, Sandra Schäfer aimed her video camera at these stoic sentries in 1996 and now, in her installation „Shift”, she presents three mutually reinforcing loops which detail her observations. The guards mime militaristic, stern statues by order of the State, whose framing is reinforced in its form not only by their sentry boxes but also by the strictly selected camera frame with the architecture of the Palace behind it. But they do move despite all the rules of the ritual! We see them exchanging silent messages with each other, we can observe their annoyance during the parade, we take malicious pleasure in their obvious fatigue or their attempts to relieve themselves of an itchy nose without moving their hands at all. What we are in fact watching are absurd figures who do not even notice when they doze off and lurch to one side thereby destroying the symmetry they have been ordered to preserve. The human – and the mundane – wins out and the flesh becomes weak.
Autor des Textes
Sandra Schäfer (D), Shift, Kirche Tornitz, winter room, video installation, 3 monitors vertically on MDF platforms, 3 x S-VHS, loops: 60 and 30 min, silent, 1996