Lovely Memories

Created by Laurent Fiévet in 2007, the most prominent aspect of this piece is a large mound of potatoes stacked so that they partially obscure a television set. This television plays montage in which parts of the film Frenzy is played. These extracts are of Brenda Blaney being unable to escape an armchair from which she cannot escape.

The potatoes and Brenda

Also in the exhibit is a swing that is positioned facing the screen. Visitors are invited to sit on it and even swing. However, should a visitor swing high enough – enough to be over the television set – the set switches scenes to a different montage. Extracts of pivotal and violent scenes from the film are presented and then introduced with a voice from the set with the word “lovely.” This is repeated multiple times, each time with different voice inflections to fit the scene. However, since these scenes are often visceral in nature, the voice tends to become increasingly aggressive.

The swing with a view of the initial screen

The new, more sinister montage

By having the exhibit be interactive, Fiévet is essentially putting visitors into the role of Robert Rusk, the necktie killer. The potatoes are a reference to Babs and how her body ended up in the bed of a potato truck. By having them partially obscure the screen, the piece reminds the visitor of the way Babs was hidden by something so mundane as a potato and that Rusk (or rather, the visitor) is so detached so as to liken a human to nothing but a vegetable.

Indeed, the visitor is sure to be unnerved, but when one activates the second montage, the identification with Rusk is pushed further. The swing takes effort to get over the screen, simulating the effort required to rape and murder Brenda. In addition, when the visitor has reached the peak of the swing, he or she is now over Brenda, highly symbolic of the relationship that Rusk feels he has with women as a whole. This furthers the identification with Rusk and is designed to make the visitor feel uncomfortable and unsettled.

Similarly, Hitchcock loved to unnerve his viewers and play with the concept of voyeurism. In this piece, Fiévet has taken the opposite approach and does not allow the audience to be merely a spectator, but rather, a participant in the act.

 

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