Moser & Schwinger: Arndt & Partner

By Zucker, Stefan | Artforum International, November 2006 | Go to article overview

Moser & Schwinger: Arndt & Partner


Zucker, Stefan, Artforum International


"I always anticipate what people want from me and I like to give them what they expect, but then something goes wrong every time." With this reflection, Amanda Cook, a character based on Monica Lewinsky, ends her appearance in Time Flies, 2006, a recent video by Frederic Moser and Philippe Schwinger. The piece, which lasts less than five minutes, is a cleverly compressed portrait of a woman who, having hosted a TV show, designed a handbag collection, and searched for God, is now reduced to walking around an empty theater and reflecting on her situation. Will she ever be able to marry a normal man, a carpenter or a schoolteacher, say, now that she has held the former president's genitals in her hand? Not very likely.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

What is certain, however, is that she has earned a place in history, and Moser & Schwinger let her make a final appearance. It may be a fictitious one, pieced together from media reports, but it is done with a sure hand. Like Frankenstein's monster pieced together from discarded parts, the media figure is brought back to life. Composed and placed on an intimate stage, Amanda surpasses the original by far: Monica replugged. The artists have staged her as a kind of lone entertainer/speaker, played by an elegant, very pale young actress wearing a black sequined dress. The audience is gone, the rows of seats are empty, and it is only by accident that the TV camera is still running. But she is still in full control. Every step, every turn, every look is precise, and everything is perfectly orchestrated. The way she plays to the camera creates a sense of trust--she is certainly a very talented seductress--but her slumped posture as she broods over her naivete emphasizes how helpless she was in the face of the overwhelming publicity it brought her. …

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