Masters Of Time
HDV, 2012, 28:12 min

Director: Irina Birger
Camera: Irina Birger
Editor: Jose Miguel Biscaya
Voice: Sander Blom, Zhana Ivanova
Supported by: Mondriaan Fund

Text by Tim Voss for Cantus Firmus group show in W139, 2012

I am living the life I always wanted – I am not happy,” she said. So she was trying to escape from Europe – pretending it was dead.
She traveled through Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing, Xiamen, trying to relate somehow to this for her totally new civilization. Constantly filming, starting from the euphoria of a sensed happiness in this thought to be new found paradise.
She decided to make the camera to become her eyes, until she herself disappeared realizing her own otherness and incapability of connecting to the people and the environment.

The film shows a lot of Chinese rituals, or better said interprets them as such, because what is filmed seems strange to westerners. From the off there is a female voice pointing out her alienation from the happiness (the harmony) which she perceives around her. The whole film is dominated by a certain melancholy and disappointment not to be part of that. But the images themselves do not express any sense of distress. On the contrary, they are rather cheerful. The viewer is let to observe Chinese people dancing, praying, playing cards, eating, singing, praying etc. Only in combination with the report from her intimate impressions senses frustration. It remains a very subjective perception until there is a sound of a male voice evoking the story of the Greek myth of the birth of Europa in struggle with Asia. This myth connects two different cultures and perceptions and makes this work from personal to geopolitical, but also reminds on the constant changes in history and the worlds which rise and fall.

two drawings and film projection
installation view, W139, 2013 : two drawings and film projection