The Prince of Homburg

Country: USA
Duration: 23 mins
|4 Seconds
Sound: Stereo
Ratio: 16:9
Available Format/s: HD Digital file
Original Format: 4K Video


Patrick Staff’s vibrant, colour-coded video uses text from Heinrich von Kleist’s 19th-century play of the same name to explore themes of persecution and punishment to meditate upon contemporary issues of gender, queer resistance, and the carceral state. Through an unconventional narrative structure, Staff’s video cuts together a narration of Kleist’s play with interviews, conversation, found footage, hand painted animation and song. In a series of fragmented ‘daytime’ sequences, a range of artists, writers and performers reflect on contemporary queer and trans identity and its proximity to desire and violence. Intercut with flashes of the sun and sky, city streets and text, subjects include Sarah Schulman, Che Gossett, Macy Rodman and Debra Soshoux. Each of these segments is punctuated by ‘night-time’ diversions, narrated by writer Johanna Hedva in the dual role of both narrator and Prince. Loosely following the structure of Kleist’s play, the sleepwalking Prince struggles with his somnambulant habits, and the invasion of the unconscious mind into flesh and bone. In half-remembered dream images, the narrative unfolds through flashes of nocturnal gardens, high visibility reflective clothing, neon signs and a lugubrious ballad.

More works by P. Staff

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