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The Assignment

13’50” HD-Video, Projection with Sound

With site-specific performances at Cinéma Paris during the festival Nuit Blanche.

In The Assignment (2014), Ariane Loze takes MÔWN to the public space, shooting scenes in different public and semi-public venues in Brussels. Thematically, the movie is inspired by well-known mainstream spy movies and takes up the theme of 5 doppelgängers involved in a mysterious conspiracy. As the movie combines different places and complex interactions between a broad number of characters, it became necessary to work with an elementary story line and scenario.

As a result, The Assignment is the first movie in which explicit narratives and storylines were implemented, while at the same time also allowing enough openness for improvisation, both for the artist in making the movie, as well as for the spectator in loo- king at and interpreting the final montage of the movie. It is also the first experiment with extensive dialogues between the different characters, partly improvised, partly pre-written, and partly inspired by dialogues and quotes from popular Hollywood cinema.

This way, the movie alludes to the audience’s knowledge of film history. Originally, the movie was shown during the Nuit Blanche in Brussels in the erotic movie theater Cinéma Paris, while Ariane recorded new and additional scenes in the lobby of the cinema. Upon entering or exiting the cinema, audience members saw the live performance and continuation of the movie they were about to see (or had just seen). This way, The Assignment underlines the live performance as the basis for movies as an end product.

About the series

The video series MÔWN looks into the narrative principles of film, investigating how sequences of seemingly unrelated images  construct an imaginary fictional space and a credible narrative development. In this endeavor, MÔWN reduces film to its absolute minimum, requiring only one actress that embodies different characters while at the same time also serving as a director, a camera woman, a set designer, etc. This way, the series dissects the grammar of film, cutting away the non-essential elements of cinema (an army of actors and crew members, immense set designs, multimillion dollar budgets, a well-defined scenario). Instead, the video series leaves us with the most basic building stones of filmic illusion: a woman, her camera, montage, and a willing spectator.

The shooting of the movie scenes is also a public performance in which the audience is granted a look behind the scenes. During the site-specific performances, the audience sees how Ariane positions the camera and adjusts the lens, but also how she constantly changes costumes and hair styles to embody the different characters, using the tripod of her camera as a coat stand. This way, the performances show the process of making film with minimalistic means.

More information
The Assignment
Ariane Loze, The Assignment, 2014