Parallel stories, with nimble feet, marching on,
step by step, room after room, without ever getting anywhere.

She never becomes real. Like a dream image of the same idea, she embodies variations of a Hollywood archetype. She is as ‘risky as the women on billboards … who smile forever, who may be real, somewhere beyond the camera but who never leave the picture.’
[1] The woman in red is a dangerous vamp trapped in a cinematic loop.

Landells’ video endlessly reiterates the Hollywood archetype of the lady in red, foregrounding the limiting and discriminatory concept of ‘woman’ which the cinematic trope portrays. The woman in red presents an idealised, Western concept of femininity. She is an everlasting Marilyn Monroe, ensnared by the apparatus of the camera, as she performs for a lustful gaze.

Playing on this concept of the Hollywood archetype, the video transforms the lady in red into an independent character, who steps through various movie frames, as if determined to finally confront the inscribed ideologies that define her existence. Within the temporal negotiation of this hypnotic loop, the red dress becomes a mobilising uniform, emphasised by the reverberating sound of nimble feet, marching.

Also dressed in red, Kate Bush appears on a second screen. Walking backwards in a swaying motion with outstretched arms, she commands a group of women in red dresses. The women are dancing in a public park. A red square flashes across the monitor, keeping in sync with the ambient rhythm of the work’s soundtrack. Next, a disembodied pair of lips floats through the screen-space, singing. Time and space fade in and out as the peculiar remix of visuals eclipses all senses. The impulse is to dance along

On the electromagnetic spectrum, RED has the longest wavelength. Research has shown that the presence of a red light may be associated with distorted perceptions of time. Spatially, if you wear red, you appear closer, even if you are further away. In Landells’ two-channel video, red as a visual stimulus constantly oscillates between its symbolic significance as an alluring colour of seduction, and its capacity to choreograph our visual field, drawing on the potential of colour to alter spatial and temporal perception.

[1] The Woman in Red by American poet Cynthia Hogue



To download a pdf version Your body in red ruptures the loop by Corinna Berndt please click here