LIED VAN MIJN LAND
The German 19th century composer Richard Wagner wrote the operas Ring des Nibelungen and Parcifal in order to shape his vision on the relationships in society. Koen and Frank Theys have treated Wagner’s Ring with an immoral curiosity and have enriched it with personal and contemporary themes. Wagner uses the central idea to develop his intrigue, whereas the Theys brothers build up their intrigue starting from the mass medium television. They conclude that in our society -within the frame of the ubiquitous mass media- the control over visual language, the propaganda lead to power. The electronic registration of reality creates a virtual reality that can be manipulated for ideological intentions. Through the scenario they express their reflections on the functioning of the propagated mass culture in a society composed of several cultural entities. Between 1982 and 1988 Frank and Koen Theys realised the electronic staging of their scenario. They made numerous shots of landscapes, actors, accessories and handmade models for the background. Each image and colour has its own specific meaning and is stored in a memory from which it can be called up to become alive again during the montage. Analogous with the Leitmotiv the colour and image elements regularly reappear so that their codes within the frame of reference of the music and the topicalised intrigue enforce the events on the scene. In spite of their criticism against the mass media and their resistance against the professional picture quality they had intended the electronic staging of both operas to be broadcast on television, a great medium if used properly. Combining Wagner’s Leitmotiv technique with the vast possibilities of video techniques, they have developed a video language which consists in adding emotional, intuitive or intellectual connotations to elementary images, which are continuously combined in different ways, so that the narrative structure arises. The apparent megalomania is compensated by the ironical tone, but the exuberant parade of electronic settings, inflatable females, sham rustic, scale models, aestheticizes images into an abyssal game with perspective and space.