Videoinstallationen 1981–1986

The installation Neue Welle (New Wave) consists of two to five black-and-white television sets, lying next to each other on their backs, displaying a horizontal line of light that runs across the row of television screens, and a participatory magnetic pendulum that can be used to manipulate the line. The audience is able to playfully influence the bright line of white light by setting the pendulum swinging, which changes the line into a wave. Katla – Schwarzes Instrument (Katla – Black Instrument) is titled after one of Iceland’s most active volcanoes. The black video object in its conical form indeed recalls a volcano, open on the top, and when looking into this opening one sees a black-and-white monitor. The viewer is forced to experience the video detached from his or her surroundings, gazing isolated into the “instrument.” The video shows extremely slowed down images of a thumb and index finger opening and closing, ever transforming, even into monstrous body forms. The dual-channel video installation Mr. and Mrs. Poe in Iceland – On Perversity (1982) is based on a text by Edgar Allan Poe on the hypnotizing of a person who is dying, which is mixed into the murmuring sound of a stream. Played in a non-synchronized tempo, the two tapes are placed next to one another, one showing the head of a woman (the artist Roni Horn), the other primeval landscapes with a black lava flow or river. While the woman reads the Poe text, we simultaneously hear the diffuse sound of the river. This suggests to perception an indefinite state between being waking and dreaming, one in which nothing has yet assumed a concrete form, so that anything still seems possible. A state of poised uncertainty reigns between form and formlessness, between the passing of time and timelessness, but also evoking dissolution and self-forgetfulness that absorbs the individual. It is this synthesis of free improvisation and structure that is convincing, while equally important—as a look at Hammann’s early works shows—is the artist’s trust in the willingness of the viewer to “become engaged,” to be open to unbiased involvement.