In my most recent workshop we watched Guy Debord’s film ‘Sur le passage de quelques personnes à travers une assez courte unité de temps*‘ (1959), (‘*On the passage of a few people through a rather brief period of time.‘) It’s 18 minutes long… Which even as an art student I found difficult to sit through happily. 5 minutes is usually my limit for video artworks in a gallery?
We had to watch this film so that we could create work in response to it…or so I thought (more on that later). I decided to focus on the phrase “The advertisements during intermissions are the truest reflection of an intermission from life” which is spoken in the film, this, in turn, made me focus on the repeated soap advertisement which kept popping up.
Classic fifties advertising right there ^. There was also quite a bit of dialogue about happiness (or a general lack of it) in Debord’s film so combining all of the above I made this little thing.
Cleanliness is next to Happiness
My original intention was to actually buy 59 bars of soap so this could be exhibited as opposed to just shown as a photograph but you might be surprised at the sort of price that all that soap clocks up! So much for cheap materials eh? So yes, I’ve cheated a little bit and managed to make this with only 9 bars + my renowned awful Photoshop skills. However, as I said before, this is the sort of thing I thought we had to make. But no, no, no, no, no….no. We were in fact, as a class, supposed to work on the same version of the 18 minute film, and respond to it by adding or taking bits away. I only learnt this the night before submission so, safe to say, I was in the computer room tearing my hair out in front of Final Cut Pro at 8am the next morning. I managed to insert sections from the shower scene in Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho‘ into Debord’s soap scenes just in time for presenting. Phew.
It’s a shame I couldn’t get hold of a final version of the finished film. It really was quite funny. Someone copied arguably the most boring part of Debord’s film and irritatingly pasted it on repeat about 10 times, there was some Lord of the Rings in there, some Gangnam style, a song about horses as well as a crazy African lady warning you about bacteria. However, there is little worry of bacteria with all this soap now lying around…