Strategies of dissociation: Negotiating cultural memory in late 20<sup>th</sup>-century German and Austrian experimental film and video
This dissertation investigates strategies of dissociation in late 20 th-century German and Austrian experimental film and video art. Framed by the cultural memory debates of the 1990s, dissociation functions as a means to dis-associate from a traumatic past and its evolving repercussions. Not only does the dissertation argue that the phenomenon of dissociation continues to be relevant today but analyzes the terms and conditions of the momentary successes and eventual, inevitable failures of dissociative strategies. The U.S., in the guise of “America,” an old, lovingly distorted European myth, play a crucial part in this negotiation of cultural memory: “America” seems to offer the license to re-invent the self and thus depart from the past while the authority of the U.S. has helped regulate the remembering of the Holocaust. In this context, the genre of film and video art proves to be a particularly fruitful field of enquiry given the role film has played in the popularizing of “America” in post-war Germany and Austria. The films and videos by Elke Krystufek, Hans A. Scheirl, and Bjørn Melhus all engage with “America,” responding to and re-imagining what “America” means to themselves or their generation, while, at the same time, performing or critiquing strategies of dissociation. Ultimately, this dissertation contributes to the debates about cultural remembering, the postmodern, and the effectivity and reach of video art.
0900: Motion pictures