Window to the VVP AVU Video Archive

We present a digital overwriting of a yet unpublished film by Vladimír Ambroz from the mid-1970s.

Author: Vladimír Ambroz
Digitization from 8mm filmstrip: VVP AVU (The Academic Research Centre of the Academy of Fine Arts)
We thank Vladimir Ambroz for providing the film to the VVP AVU videoarchive.
Category: Window to VVP AVU videoarchive
Curators of the column: Zuzana Krišková, Terezie Nekvindová, Sláva Sobotovičová

Some materials from the artists’ archive lead to reflections on the boundary between art and non-art. A similar line is the 8mm film in the possession of Vladimír Ambroz. In the second half of the 1970s, Ambroz was primarily engaged in performance, which he documented using the film besides texts and photographs, and in 1980, even using a video camera. For years, he was convinced that he had his own motion picture recording of his Air performance in 1976. But when the filmstrip was digitized in 2016, it turned out to contain something completely different. After more than forty years, Vladimir Ambroz doesn’t recall anymore when, where, by whom, under what circumstances and with what ambitions this discovered material was created.
At the beginning of 6 minutes and 16 seconds of the record, we see thematically and formally unified shots. The camera watches the walk of a man from which we see only the back and legs. The camera follows him along the city street, in the passageway, in the yard and again on the street. After two minutes, the identity of the person filmed is revealed: it is Vladimír Ambroz himself, who tells the cameraman something. The observation of his walk continues even after other characters join him. After a while, the recording is taken to the interior and seemingly deliberate blur, focusing on ordinary activities and a woman who looks like Ambroz’s partner and later wife. The end of the film is again partly in the exterior and at the end we see an erotic aggression against the woman filmed, probably inspired by the inscription of “Power of lust” on the door.
How should we understand it? Do we see here the unique material of some unconscious Brno version of Acconci performance ‘Following piece’, followed by improvised private footage from the rest of the weekend? We will probably never know the answer to this question.

Tomáš Pospiszyl

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