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Ein hündischer Übergriff — Yvonne Lange

March 29, 2001 — reposted here 1 September 2005

Installation at Ausstellungsraum Taubenstrasse 13, 20359 Hamburg (29. - 8. 04. 2001 - weekends only)

Setting up dog fight arena
Onlookers and participants
Owner cuddling with fighting dog
Releasing fighting dogs
Fighting dogs embrace
Master and dog
Snogging with dog
Snogging with dog

The title of the exhibition means, badly translated, something like 'a dog encroaching', or 'infringement by a dog' or 'taken over by a dog'.

This video by Yvonne Lange of just a few minutes length is composed of excerpts from a 60 minute Russian video showing dogfights in full length. Although short the video includes preparations such as setting up the shabby arena, unrolling the floor cover and mounting a low wire fence in a nondescript empty indoor space as well as taking the stuff down again.

A few orderly benches occupied by onlookers frame the square arena. There aren't that many people around. A guy with a patterend jumper carries his pitbull like a baby into the ring. Another guy seems close to snogging with his muscular and bloated pet.

The central part of the video focuses on the moment of release of the dogs anticipating their opponent. Symmetric short takes showing support by the respective masters and mistresses of the fighters are inserted twice, i.e. the footage is repeated. Then, there is a part showing the dogs snapping at each other, in slow motion, then suddenly fast again.

Yvonne Lange has manipulated the speed: at some places she has speeded up slow motion, at others slowed down 1:1 motion. It's not immediately obvious where.

The injured and bandaged leg of one dog briefly comes into view.

I asked Yvonne Lange whether she was in some way influenced by the recent debate about fighting dogs leading to a regulation making the wearing of a muzzle in Hamburg's public spaces mandatory for certain dog races after one child was bitten to death. She said this was a coincidence - she neither wants to condemn dog fights or accuse the dog owners, nor does she condone or support them. She is clearly interested in the social dimension of the event, although the video is very brief and shows few interactions between dog owners. They are defined by the event - they seem to get on OK, focused on their dogs, communicating through them.

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