Video war on anonymity is infectious
Sydney Morning Herald
Thursday January 27, 2011
FILMSUPER NIGHT SHOTOpera House, January 25Until SundayTHIS appealing guerilla film project has been performed more than 140 times since it premiered in Berlin in 2003. As well as making a rigorously planned exercise seem largely off the cuff, its creators, the Anglo-German collective Gob Squad, have maintained an infectious enthusiasm for making it.Their stated aim? To wage a war on anonymity. Their weapons of choice? Video cameras and a smile. Their mission? To conjure a moment of visual poetry and emotion from the everyday streets.Super Night Shot begins with a crowd-wrangled celebration of its own ending. That's right. The event the audience has paid to see has in a sense already happened. All that remains is for Gob Squad's performer/filmmakers (Sean Patten, Berit Stumpf, Bastian Trost and Simon Will) to plug in their cameras and screen their just-made movies simultaneously on a wide screen split into four adjacent frames. The audience then watches a replay of the previous hour.What emerges is a parodic hero's journey, with some of the content left to chance, governed by interactions with strangers. It feels random though the group works to a precise schedule that allows for time-synchronised sequences of surprising beauty. At one point, the performers don animal masks and dance, and what starts like a satire on Amazing Race-style reality TV morphs into something beautiful and strange.Sound engineer Sebastian Bark's work is critical to the process, heightening emotion with music and by manipulating sound levels, guiding the audience from one frame to another.Running around an art-friendly precinct with a video camera isn't a particularly risky endeavour, but Gob Squad's openness and candour seemed to win everyone over on this night. Most (with the exception of one reticent Kiwi) seemed willing to join in the fun and there was no sense that the people they pressed into service were being critiqued or made fools of.At the end of the screening, the audience rose to applaud everyone who contributed to making Super Night Shot one of the most inclusive and interesting works presented at the festival thus far.