WORLD OF BLUE. LAND OF O.
“Now it’s over between us, I don’t love thee anymore.” With these words – the camera trained on the filmmaker – O., the female protagonist in ‘World of Blue. Land of O.’, takes leave right at the beginning of the film, going away for a health treatment. She is one of three AIDS patients that Van Paesschen had accompanied and portrayed over the course of several months at a hospital in Brussels. O. recalls, with her ironic commentary, a relationship that emerged on the basis of a reciprocal agreement – an agreement granting the three patients not only their desired anonymity but also the rights to their own image, the control over how they want to be seen and remembered; their faces are not filmed, and even their bodies remain, for the most part, outside the frame of view. O. stays completely out of sight, instead sometimes seizing the camera herself and focusing it on her surroundings. And yet the camera plays a significant role as an instrument of self-assertion and self-control, losing its potency again when the notion of reentering ‘normal’ life becomes conceivably imminent. It offers the patients not only opportunities for bearing witness, for affirming one’s own existence, even if in monotonous execution of (or in rebellion against) everyday activities, but also for questioning the outside world regarding their stance, documenting and censuring their voicelessness. Thus having control over the images that remain, they also take-on a measure of responsibility for the way things are. The fragmented character of their stories and the visual gaps engendered by the absence of their faces as a counterpart, place a particular emphasis on their voices, on their breathing and the physical strain caused by simple articulation. Their speaking and acting are proof of existence, but also an intimation of disappearance. In this situation, communication, understood as a reciprocal relationship among equals, is impossible, being either too cruel or too trivial. Sovereignty is embodied in the patient alone, who, like O., can terminate any alliance at anytime. (Katrin Mundt)
This work has been digitised in the frame of DCA Project