Kelly Warman

[Tobias Laukemper & Kelly Warman, 5:17 mins, 2006]

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ProgRock, 2006

Progressive Scan DVD, 5m 17s

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ProgRock unfolds a complete scenario. Two characters, a man with business-like looks and a high-spirited if somewhat perky woman, played by the artists, perambulate the collection of modernist interior design of the Villa Sonneveld, the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen and the Van Nelle Fabriek in Rotterdam. Location shots alternate with monologues held by the performers. Their style of delivery is reminiscent of the jovial tone in which commentators on TV culture programmes pass their shallow expertise off as acute. Still, the monologues go deep. They ask whether the promise of modernism that life could be improved through aesthetics can be fulfilled for society at large – or only for an elite of decadent individuals. But as it remains ambiguous if the speakers are tawdry culture aficionados or indeed thinkers of a new order, their words are equally held in suspense. Dramatically speaking, the question the video raises is whether artists can today claim the power to continue the project of modernism or are instead condemned to live in the shadow of its failure. But the video also shows that to perform this drama of (post)modernism is only yet another practical possibility to stage the persona of the artist. So maybe in the end the true question that remains is pragmatic: which drama to stage when, why and most of all how?

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