“I am irresistible, I say, as I put on my designer fragrance. I am a merchant banker, I say, as I climb out of my BMW.
I am a juvenile lout, I say, as I pour an extra strong lager, I am handsome, I say, as I put on my Levi jeans.”
John Kay, CEO and brand strategist
KnockOff is a performance and video installation. D+M worked with groups of mixed martial arts fighters from clubs based in Berlin (Germany), Zagreb (Croatia) and Bergen (Norway) to develop a subjective remake of an action movie based on the phenomena known in movie industry as "Mockbuster". The knockoff genre is an imitation of Hollywood blockbusters that grab for a piece of enormous box office sales, wherein films parasitically apply elements found in original blockbusters on a less perfectionist scale: limited budget, B-list actors and poorly fabricated special effects. Every performance is different, but based on the previous one, presenting it at the same time as the sequel and as the copy. The movie 'Knockoff' with Jean Claude Van Damme is used as a starting point for building choreography through series of excercises with performers, trained by professional stuntwoman and artist Helga Wretman. Real-time performance is happening in front of green screen, parallely filmed by two cameramen and keyed-in on the screen above the live performance. It reveals the process of movie production, known as 'the making of' or 'extras' from DVD menu, simultaneously as the movie is screened in front of the audience, diminishing the 'magic' of creation in favor of real-time action while creating overload of live stunts that transgress into more meditative stages, constantly twisting perception of cinematic language. Translation through different cultural backgrounds and filters of 'generic' and 'mainstream' material in a manner of Chinese whispers gives culturally non-monogamous and broader view of the whole phenomenon.
Counterfeits and hybrids are surreally aware of the symbolic terms in this game of snakes and ladders that we play as inhabitants of a Western democracy. Like status anxiety itself, authentic desirableness are the cultural products—regardless of where they are actually manufactured—of a more or less Western, “free” consumer society; the objects that approximate them, meanwhile, are by and large devised in social contexts that do not necessarily fall under the jurisdiction of the democratic. The imperfection and creative freedom hidden under law-infringing Hollywood B-rate production is very similar to production of counterfeit consumer goods as a source of inspiration. The performance narrative follows capitalist commodity fetish ‘chopped and screwed’ inside of entertainment industry.
Read more about making of KnockOff in
interview on Dis magazine.
Choreography: Helga Wretman
Music: M.E.S.H. and Felix Lee
Video: Ilya Smirnov, Matea Jocic, Ivan Liik, DM
Camera: Miona Bogovic (Berlin, Bergen), Srdjan Kovacevic, Matea Jocic (Zagreb), Tariq Hindic (Bergen)
Performers (Berlin) : Zaman Atam, Mesut Lencper, Murat Lencper, Sezgin Seven, Hasan Pegoz
Performers (Zagreb):Marko Bursac, Luka Jurjevic, Veselin Krstovski, Edis Kukavica, Tomislav Vidaković, Mak Zlatar
Performers (Bergen):Alv Sossum,Steinar Flagtvedt, Ravel Sparby, Remi Thomassen, Knut Roald Wake
Supported by: advancing performing arts project / Member of the Apap network / Culture Programme 2007-2013
Co-production: Tanzfabrik, Berlin / SC - Culture of change, Zagreb / Bit Teatergaasjen, Bergen