georg klein

installations > UNzuRECHT / UNorJUSTNESS | Case B : video doc. (5:30)
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Georg Klein + Steffi Weismann

Audiovisual installation with performance
2 parts, 8min. each

Performer: Steffi Weismann

UNorJUSTNESS Case B deal with the fate of the Iranian student Ameneh Bahrami, who was a victim of an acid attack which blinded her in 2004. In an extraordinary court case, she won the right to in turn use acid to blind her attacker, who had wanted to marry her against her will. The case triggered worldwide discussions, and this kind of legalised vengeance was firmly rejected, in particular in the West. In 2011 Barahmi, whose features could after years of operations only be partially reconstructed, abstained at the last minute from executing the sentence.

Georg Klein and Steffi Weismann have created a kind of installation which allows visitors to question their own sense of justice and to confront shifting feelings of rejection or empathy. Visitors are asked to enter the video room alone and to take a seat in front of the portrait of Bahrami taken before the attack, which is projected into a picture frame. A woman's voice begins to speak, at times directly addressing the visitor. While listening the visitor sees the photograph of the face changing as their own features are occasionally glimpsed in the frame. This constellation of images is repeatedly overlaid with a third perspective. This is from a female commentator and seems to be projected in from outside: she reflects on Bahrami's case in fragments, as if in an internet chat room.

This commentator is not only audible and visible in the installation room, but can also at times be seen in person in an adjoining room. Visitors can see through a door standing ajar that the performer is sitting on a bed. She has a laptop in front of her and is occupied with reading polemical comments from the time of the trial which express opinions pro and contra Bahrami's stance. She keeps on unfolding paper tissues, which she then screws up and discards. After the performance the paper tissues remain lying on the floor while the video installation continues.

In this work Weismann and Klein call into question the proportionality of crime and punishment and shed light on social patterns which influence our judgements. Bahrami's case starkly opposes all typical attitudes to justice, seizes on an ancient dictum 'an eye for an eye' only to put it to emancipatory use: for the equal rights of women in the Islamic world.