Body Double 27 is a three-channel video installation of reenactments of a scene central to the narrative of German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s In A Year With 13 Moons. For his re-creation, Brice Dellsperger filmed 21 acting students, male and female, as they performed the protagonist’s emotional breakdown in a video arcade.
In Fassbinder’s film, Erwin falls in love with his male co-worker, who tells him “Too bad you are not a woman.” Erwin responds by undergoing a sex change, becoming Elvira. Body Double 27 focuses on her reaction to rejection. Over and over, against a backdrop of video game sounds and faintly flashing neon lights, the heavily made-up and wigged student actors slide down a secluded wall, crumpled and weeping. The endlessly looping fragments act as a visceral meditation on the universality of desire and unrequited love, as well as a tragicomic parody of clichés associated with loneliness and drag culture.
Dellsperger’s Body Double series investigates the transformative possibilities of reproducing films. Marie Canet, in her essay on Dellsperger’s work, writes that “against standardization, but also primarily because of it, the banality of cinematographic representation, the disenchanted known, and ‘already seen’ become, through remodeling, an opportunity and the means for a new body of work.” A tremendously variegated methodology manifests itself throughout the Body Double series. Dellsperger has recreated canonical sequences from the oeuvres of DePalma, Kubrick or Lynch, but he has also recreated films in their entirety. He has sometimes respected the chronology of the original, keeping everything from the plotlines to the audio tracks intact, in other cases he has re-arranged scenes and altered the sound of the original. Dellsperger’s videos are sometimes fashioned as heartfelt amateur productions shown modestly on simple monitors but are frequently— as is the case here — adventuresome, ambitious, fully enveloping multiple-channel projections.