images

technical info

2001

Video (DVC)

3' (loop)

DV PAL 4:3

Colour

Sound

Zelfportret (Self-Portrait) - Frank Theys, 2001

Walking from my computer to my window and back without a head.

A man keeps walking up and down from his computer to his window. He does not have a head. Blood is rhythmically gushing from the gaping wound, a hilarious and metaphoric self-portrait of the author.

 

“There is no escape from writing. But I rather don’t like to think too much about it. I took my coat and went out. I escaped to the MUHKA, where an exhibition opened about Belgian art in the nineties. For inexplicable reasons I was pulled to the left wing of the building where I saw the video ‘Self-Portrait’ of Frank Theys. I looked at a decapitated man sitting in front of his computer. Two squirts of blood were spouting from the neck, on the rhythm of the ever-beating heart. The blood was splashing over the computer screen and the keyboard. I put on the headphone and I heard the blood squirting. I was watching and listening and I saw myself, imperturbable causing bloody messes while strumming away one sentence after the other. After a while the decapitated man gets up from his chair and walks to the window, covering everything with the same red color. In my imagination the book of Auster and the video of Theys got stroked as two inseparable images on the two sides of a coin. If writing with Paul Auster is sometimes accompanied by an existential anxiety, writing with Frank Theys becomes pure Grand Guignol. The writer is a chicken without a head, squirting blood but indifferent, dead but still alive. Dear Frank Theys, I am going to call you and thank you. For one or another reason I feel much safer writing as a zombie chicken providing my pc with squirts of blood than the writer I am now once in a while, sometimes absorbed by fear about what kind of catastrophes I am calling up upon myself every time I turn on my pc. I bless you, cackling and gargling and forever stains on my cloths. Art can save your life.”

– Jeroen Olyslaegers (novelist), Radio Klara 13-02-2004

 

“A simple, basic, yet strong idea translated very well in this personal monitor work. Headlessly sitting in front of his computer monitor and his decapitated body walking back and forth from his desk to the window of his working space, Frank Theys confronts us with the role and position of the personal computer in our daily lives taking over our daily thinking process. With the heart still pumping blood in an attempt to nourish the brain, the blood comes squirting out of his body onto the monitor screen and the appartment window, blocking his view for what has become his reality. Presented here in Novi Sad, the work gets another connotation and meaning added onto Theys's original intentions. Thinking of the Milosevic time here in Serbia-Montenegro, people were 'headlessly' believing everything that state television was letting them believe, letting the television take over their head and individual thinking, or as some Serbian festival visitors put it: "as if the streets were filled with people walking with television monitors on their body, instead of heads that are able to think - and act - for themselves.”

– Jury VideoMedeja Festival, Novi Sad, Serbia