Binary Reflections. Part 01: One or two thoughts on incompleteness.

F/GER/A / Video Full HD 16:9 / 11:30 min. / colour/stereo / Marion Porten © 2015

An encounter with the sculpture Hermaphrodite endormi* at the Louvre museum in Paris … and a little support from The Fluffy Pink Block Drummers ***.

People crowd around a life-size declining marble figure. In the middle stands the camerawoman, one among many. The museums visitor's backs obscure the camera view. Everything around the static sculpture is in motion. The camerawoman seems to loose orientation inside the crowding, thereby her focus shifts.

Film recordings of opulent quilling, baroque swellings, spiky rosettes, - seemingly velvety polished stone, are following. Close details of the marble matrass and fragments of the lying body inside the museums hall. Also in the frame, - feet, legs and hands of museum visitors which are continuously gathering and moving around the object. We listen to snatches of conversations, a permanent flood of words about the Hermaphrodite asleep*, about sexuality, masculinity, femininity, sexual characteristics, … confusion, laughter.

The sound inside the museum breaks up. A voice-over (the camerawoman) approaches the sleeping figure: "So, you are a thousand years old, then? I'm over forty. How are you today? What language do you speak?" The voice then speaks of the Greek mythological story of Hermaphroditos and Salmakis, the fusion of two sexes into one single body.

She puts this myth into relation to a personal childhood story. The voice tells the sculpture of her own early confrontation with the dilemma of the binary gender construction. As an identical mirror-image-twin**, she seemed to identify as the "side-inverted" part of the identical sister and consequently defined herself as a boy ... 

More and more often outside images urge in between the recordings of the museum's hall inside. Pacing feet on asphalt, then drumming hands. Everything in pink. The Fluffy Pink Block Drummers*** are providing full-throated support from a different contemporary reality. Their performance is finally acoustically infiltrating the museum. 

The image of a pink drummer stick, tightly hold by a muscular hand is contrasting the broken limbs of the marble hand. Between these images a Queer resistance is developing against a still predominant binary standardization of gender; - against a force-fit in ascribed gender roles.

This film is basically an attempt in solidarity; it describes the act of becoming an ally with one's counterpart by acknowledging the differences between each other and keeping it visible. You and me are more than three.


* Beginning of 2014 I discovered the famous marble sculpture "Hermaphrodite endormi" in the Louvre, Paris. The sculpture was excavated approx. 1000 years ago in Rome. The figure pays homage to the Greek mythology und also to the beauty ideologies and gender concepts of  "feminine" und "masculine" of the Greek antique. in the 16th Century Italian sculpture Bernini sculpted a matrass which serves since then as a pedestal. Today this Ensemble is a attraction of the sculpture-collection of the Louvre. 

** Circa 20% of identical twins are mirror-image-twins, that means one person is left-handed, the other right-handed; their external features, like birthmarks, tooth positions, hair whorls, etc. are mirrored.

*** The images of the drummers were recorded at the LGBTIAQQ Pride Parade in Budapest 2013. A group of international activists form the "Fluffy Pink Block Drummers" protesting against homophobia and transphobia; they build allies against racism, classism and sexism.

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