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Passion of Joan of Arc (Rozelle Hospital, Sydney)
Original title: La passion de Jeanne d'Arc (Rozelle Hospital, Sydney)
Two-channel video installation: 16 mm films transferred to DVD [Twelve and a Marionette (colour, sound) and La passion de Jeanne d'Arc (colour, black and white, silent)], curtains and blackboard
Dimensions: Blackboard: 100 x 150 x 4.5 cm 16:9 - 40' 55" 4:3 - 97' 02" Variable dimensions
In La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc (Rozelle Hospital, Sydney) (2004) Téllez asked a group of female inpatients at an Australian hospital to respond to Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1928 silent film La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc. The film recreates Joan of Arc’s trial by an ecclesiastical court that finally sentenced her to death under the accusation of heresy. In Téllez’s installation, red curtains give way to a room containing two screens and twelve chairs resembling those in a hospital waiting room. Under the title Twelve and a Marionette, the twelve inpatients gradually appear on one of the screens and relate their experiences in connection with the disorder they have been diagnosed with. On the other screen we see a version of Dreyer’s film in which the original title cards have been replaced by texts written by the twelve women. The two films are projected continuously and reveal the similarities between the intolerance of the Holy Inquisition and the present stigmatisation of people with mental disorders. As well as calling into question the authoritarian control exerted by male discourse, the fact that all the patients are female hints at the historical construction of the definition of madness in terms of gender.
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