Somewhere in a subtropical country white visitors crowd around dark-skinned plantation workers emptying their harvest baskets. They look curious, as if wanting to test the quality of the tea leaves. Everywhere tourists take out their cameras — whether in front of large animals in the wild or camel riders, whether in the face of decorated human bodies or daily work routines.
Now and again they look into the camera themselves. For later, for when they will proudly show their “exotic” finds at home. This posing contains a model of western travels and picture making which is over a century old.
The fascinated gaze on the foreigners fixes them in pre-formed frames. Lisl Ponger follows the trail of that gaze by taking amateur found footage material and linking it together in new ways. She summons up atmospheric background sounds and adds a series of voices. With a subtle distance to the visual foreground, those people who are pictured in the west as much more homogenous than they are have the word — in the diverse languages of the “other”. They tell, untranslated, of their experiences with various forms of colonialism — whether as subjects in their own countries or as the expelled and transformed “foreigner”.
Lisl Ponger strings the shots together on a thread, a red one — both in the chromatic and symbolic sense. The sound helps these pictures from the continents of the southern hemisphere to resonate with narrative character. The voices are not allowed to domainate the images, but déjà vu takes a risk by letting the multiplicity of languages speak for themselves. It is a film which does not impart security but poses questions. –Christa Blümlinger
Lisl Ponger attended the photography class of the School of Graphic Arts in Vienna. She made photographies of the actions of Otto Muehl, Hermann Nitsch and Peter Weibel. From 1974 to 1978, she lived in the USA and in Mexico. In 1979, Lisl Ponger began to direct films. She was responsible for the concept and organization of the avantgarde film showcase called “Die Schatten im Silber” of 1987. She received the Austrian Promotion Award for Film Art in 1988 and the Honorary Award for Film Art in 1994. She is a founding member of the film distribution company sixpackfilm and a member of the Vienna Sezession. –viennashorts.com
-Visual Artist (film, photography)
-Lives and works in Austria
-Attended School of Graphic Arts in Vienna, photography class
-1988 Austrian National Prize for Young Film Makers
-1994 Austrian National Prize for Film Art
-2003 Lower Austrian Prize for Visual Arts
-1998/99 and 2001… read more