”Reading women’s travel writing, one notices an absence of the past. Women who leave are not nostalgic. They desire what they have not had, and they look for it in the future. The desire does not take shape as ‘return’ but rather as ‘voyage.’ Nostalgia is substituted by dislocation.”
Paola Melchiori, quoted in: Giuliana Bruno, Atlas of Emotion, 2002
RE(hers)AL releases seven female characters from seven different movies – each an icon from the history of modernist cinema – and joins them together as a gang of fellow travelers stuck in the boarding area of an airport, where they have to wait as all departures are delayed due to bad weather conditions: Alma, a young nurse from Sweden who likes to take care of others; Laura, a successful fashion photographer from New York with impaired vision; Rachael, an American woman in search of her past; Hari, a Russian girl with no memories and no specific destination; Bree, a call girl and unsuccessful actress from New York; Nana, an attractive French woman who describes herself as an ”entertainer”; and Giuliana, a troubled Italian searching for a place where she will ”feel better.”
This moment they share turns them into accomplices, involuntary fellow travelers on a trip which takes them into their interior worlds and psyches. They become characters in a space of eternal rehearsal, suspended in a universe outside of their original scripts and lines. As opposed to a story about a character and her experiences, the plot of RE(hers)AL scripts the ”character’s story” as an ongoing production through seven trailer formats. RE(hers)AL maps out a cosmos of shifting identities structured by voices of characters which emerge and shape in contradistinction to their original roles and along the contemporary notion of joining scripts between film, theater, and chat.
Over the course of a year, invited participants met on a regular basis in a chat room where each embodied one character in the framework of an improvisational performance chat group. Discussions and dialogues were developed around moderated subjects and situations. The participants reconfigured and adapted the characters’ original profiles, thus operating in the gap between their own identities and the characters’ desires. The documents of these live ”workshop” interactions were used as materials on which the script of RE(hers)AL is based. This script charts the movement of both the character’s passage and the rites of the story, and was finally realized as a staged performance with seven actresses to be recorded on video.
The script and production of X Characters: RE(hers)AL is a process that converts the character templates into projection screens, channels of desire that constitute a switchboard for networking sets of communicative signals and shifting identities. The characters
Alma / Persona (Bibi Andersson; D: Ingmar Bergman, S 1966)
Bree / Klute (Jane Fonda; D: Alan J. Pakula, USA 1971)
Giuliana / Il Deserto Rosso (Monica Vitti; D: Michelangelo Antonioni, I 1964)
Hari / Solaris (Natalya Bondarchuk; D: Andrei Tarkovski, USSR 1972)
Laura / Eyes of Laura Mars (Faye Dunaway; D: Irvin Kershner, USA 1978)
Nana / Vivre sa vie (Anna Karina; D: Jean-Luc Godard, F 1962)
Rachael / Blade Runner (Sean Young; D: Ridley Scott, USA 1982)