Frankensteins Scheidung


1984, 00:44:41, PAL, black/white, color, sound, F008 01

The video work Frankensteins Scheidung by Monika Funke Stern takes up the motif of an artificial human being, which reaches back to the early nineteenth century. The artist develops her own story of an artificially created woman. In this new variation of the horror story, the monster is supposed to marry her creator, but becomes more and more independent so that the story ends in a divorce. Funke Stern uses a wide range of found film stock, including documentary material from the Second World War, shots of operations on the brain and cosmetic surgery, and treatments in beauty parlors, along with clips from videos, like those of Ed Emshwiller, and from James Whale’s film classic Bride of Frankenstein (1935). These visuals are combined with found sound material about work accidents at machines or statements made by pharmaceutical companies. She assembles them to create an experimental collage in which video effects are repeatedly used, for example, chroma keying, and computer animation. The plot is saturated with an ambiguous humor that refers on the one hand to the social reality of women, who “synthesize” themselves with various procedures such as eyelid correction, the use of solariums, and perms, and also represents an ironic take on her own practice, for example when the term “animation” is taken literally. The motif of divorce can be interpreted in terms of gender critique as an element of denial, which plays a role in her work repeatedly, as in Zum Glück gibt ’s kein Patent (1985). Typical for the writer, director, producer, media artist, and former professor for film and video at the Fachhochschule Düsseldorf (1987–2008) is her thematic engagement and her formal experimentation, where film devices are mixed with electronic editing. A member of the Deutsche Filmakademie, she also publishes theoretical texts on film and video and curates art and media exhibitions.