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Doireann O'malley

Prototype I: Quantum Leaps in Trans* Semiotics through Psycho-Analytical Snail Serum

Vidéo | 4k | couleur | 36:35 | Irlande, Allemagne | 2018

In Prototypes the viewer is guided sonically and visually through various dream- and land-scapes, observing psychoanalytic references to both shamanistic pasts and speculative futures that evoke alternate modes of existence. We meet the protagonists who interact with undefined technologies and it appears ambiguous as to whether they are rendering themselves in a virtual world, a potential future, or creating their present. In fact, throughout Prototypes there is little to distinguish between “the symbolic, the imaginary, and the real”. Psychoanalytic sessions emphasise a transgression of boundaries. The viewer becomes increasingly disoriented between the physical and dream worlds, where the psyche presents symbols as metaphors for psychological obstacles to overcome. Working with a cast of almost entirely non-professional actors in a collaborative process was integral to the work. Several of whom attended a dream workshop and shared their own dreams, which were then, too, woven into the script. In an exquisite corpse of unconscious connection, one protagonist’s dream depicts a tongue, abstracted and contrasted against the director’s own dream of tentacles growing from a stomach. One of the protagonists, Pol, professes that the experience of taking testosterone feels like being in a science fiction movie. Through an experiential understanding of the pliant body made available through bio-hacking, the protagonists begin to sense a form of liberation, a way to indirectly denounce systems of control. They experience an expanded potentiality to create for themselves new meanings and languages, new architectures. Pol’s analogy concretes what is alluded to throughout the film, that this depicted version of reality is one formerly unimaginable, consequently allowing us to further speculate on an abundance of potential futurities. A gay cruising scene suggests that the result of Pol’s bio-hacking allows him access into this formerly unimaginable reality.

Doireann O’Malley, born Limerick, Ireland 1981. Lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Prototypes was the winner of The Berlin Art Prize 2018 and has been exhibited in The Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin, Edith Russ Haus für Medienkunst, Oldenburg and has been screened in Bobs Pogo Bar, KW, Berlin. Doireann is currently participating on The Berlin Program for Artists and has upcoming shows in Mexico City and the Göteborg Biennial.