Mexico's Symbolic Volkswagen Beetle on a Race Through the Capital.
Two "screens", framed in the style of a Super 8mm film projection show a composition of over five hundred vochos (Volkswagen Beetles). Each Beetle is photographed in its natural habitat in Mexico City and then digitally remastered to fit the size and position. The collection is looped at a rate of 10 photographs per second. And the result is a journey through Mexico City revolving around its most characteristic automobile as a unifying symbolic centre.
Upon arriving in Mexico City, the beetle is a visual magnet. Wherever you happen to be in the supermetropolis, there is hardly a place and/or instant where no vocho is in sight, whatever the form it takes may be like and whatever condition it's in. The car figures thus as a unifying momentum and becomes a ubiquitous symbol. Vochos where still produced in Mexico when production in Germany, its country of origin, had long stopped. The vocho can thus also be seen as a flashback of imperialistic history: a product of Europe imported to the colony which is preserved there while in its country of origin, history has moved on and the production has halted.
The vocho is, apart from the sheer number of its presence in Mexico City, also a visual stimulus. It is its perfect shape which appeals to the eye, as its profile fits exactly in a Golden Ellipse, an ellipse built on a Golden Ratio.
Jens Kull's Still is thus Mexico City in the literal nutshell. Within the seconds of the loop, over 500 vochos are presented at a speed which makes focussing on one of the frames impossible. It is the shape, then, which the eye has to concentrate on, which stays the same, yet the colour, the state, the background flickers faster than the eye can follow. The viewer lapses into staring as the frames rush by. It is, as if the whole of the metropolis, with its symbolic means of transport in the center, is burnt into the viewer's mind within seconds.
All vocho photographies have been taken and collected over a long period of time and in all parts of Mexico City. By placing the images in this kind of sequence, space and time are annihilated and become a virtual playground. Additionally the sequence of changing settings and backgrounds creates a kinetic experience: as a viewer, you can see "the" vocho move forward. This is where the spacial movement, which is ruled out by the "still" character of the photographs, is re-created. As the composition consists of two screens with different images, Jens Kull creates a kind of race between the two vochos. Although there are hundreds of vochos in places miles apart, Still creates the illusion of two vochos driving behind each other.
Video NTSC, color, 1. min. 40 sec. (looped).
6 comercial and 2 authors copies on DVD,
30 flipbooks numbered and signed.
Paisaje y Memoria
Centro Cultural, Chiapas, Mexico, 2010
Trajectos: Paisaje y Memoria
Planetario Tabasco, Villahermosa, Mexico, 2010
Wichita State University
Shift Space Gallery
"Objeto y Narración"
Museum Arocena, Torreón, 2009
"Left Overs", Gallery of Mexican Art,
Mexico City, 2009 (watch video)
Ex-Convento San Ildefonso,
The FEMSA Biennale IIX, Mexico City, 2007
IIX FEMSA BIENNALE, Monterrey, 2007
NUMB PULSE (2008)
Mankind's beating heart, an hommage to achievement
A rectangular screen, lodged in the ceiling of a darkened room, showing a piece of sky like a roof light, not making it apparent at first if it’s a screen or just a window. The sound of jets fades in and a plane, high above, crosses the patch of sky.
A second plane appears and then a third, until the whole screen is filled with planes, some flying low, some high, and the deafening noise of over forty jets fills the room, until it is hardly bearable anymore, then the whole construction of movement and sound collapses as all planes exit the screen and leave an empty sky.
The loop starts again.
Dozens of planes cross the urban sky each day, and every one of them can be seen and heard. However, we usually don’t do so anymore because we filter the noise as much as the vision, we have made ourselves numb. All the more, if we happen to see one of these planes, we tend to regard them as a nuisance.
Planes are symbols for human achievement, of the ability to overcome distance and space, and they stand for the freedom of mankind and the fulfillment of the ever-present dream to fly. And they are perfectly designed and optimized machines, unflawed in form and function, a technological adornment and at the same time a reference point on the otherwise endless surface which is the sky, providing our consciousness with a boundary between the earthly and the heavenly, a reminder of the finiteness of the human space.
Numb Pulse brings this symbol back to consciousness. We are forced to look at it closer than we are used to. It brings back memories of a time when we still looked in awe at the wonders of human technology.
At the same time, they form the only reference in the rectangular skylight, preventing us from losing track in the uniform blue flat.
Like in a time-lapse, Jens Kull unites the air traffic of a whole day to a single, deafening and stunning moment when we see all these planes which cross above our head during the course of a day. The skylight is literally darkened with planes, and the moment of climax evokes a peculiar mixture of awe and fright, of the beauty and in the meantime of the fright of technology.
In Numb Pulse, Jens Kull again plays a trick on time and our perception of it. And with the ever-increasing and decreasing level of noise, he creates a pulse, referring to what makes mankind’s body run, homage to technology as the beating heart of society. In the same time, he confronts us with the fact that we numb ourselves against the effects and side-effects of human progress because our minds are simply unable to keep up the pace.
HDVD roof projection
variable, minimum 3m 50 large
3 commercial copies and 3 AP's.
30 flipbooks, numbered and signed
"Left Overs", Gallery of Mexican Art.
Individual show 2008
Corredor Cultural Roma-Condesa 2009
EPICA I (2011)
Epica I is a cinematographic approach to a happening that expands and alters the basic arquitectual space of an artist studio in the heart of Mexico City. A 6 meter container that was put on the rooftop of Nathalie Regards studio is the main object of this time shifting and meditative art-documentary.
Recorded in a street of Mexico Citys' Col. Roma in late november 2011
Terrible Beauty - Amplitude (2011)
Ups and downs are part of any life.
The interesting part is the amplitude of these movements.
Recorded in a Las Vegas Hotel in may 2011, with live sound from TV.
THE WAY OF THINGS (2010)
A wonderful encounter with a snake, winding itself through the asphalt of urban jungle, devouring everything on its way.
Recorded on the streets of Vancouver in early August 2010.
1080 x 1920, Full HD, vertical
6 HD copies and 2 A/P
"Percepción, Ilusionismo y Destino"
Edificio Vizcaya, Mexico City,
september 23rd, 2010
special thanks to:
Kerstin Erdmann - for her invitation to MUACSpecial
Ben Dierckx - for organizing the gathering
Alvaro Castillo Olmedo - for giving his space
Oscar Hernandez - for his projector and asistence
Gabriel Santamarina - for his textwork
Luis Alberto Zamora - for his pics