Brother Of Sleep

“Because one thing is stronger than us, and that is the eternal progression of time, which never stops and inevitably leads to death.”
Christian Boltanski

Four faceless dancers perform a ghostly, seemingly endlessly repeating dance. As in a baroque painting, beauty and “the brother of sleep” (= death) are juxtaposed here in an aestheticizing manner in one composition – a memento mori – underpinned by Johann Sebastian Bach’s Kreuzstabkantate with the words:

Come, O death, thou brother of sleep,
Come and lead me away;
Loosen my ship’s oars,
Bring me to a safe port!

Death is embodied in the form of impaled butterflies (= baroque symbol of death and resurrection), which, however, appear alive despite their condition.

The basis of this work are 12 photographs in long exposure. Their constructed sequence in rapid succession creates an artificial choreography that becomes increasingly distorted.

  • Erika Kassnel-Henneberg
  • Eri Kassnel
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Experimental, Short
  • Genres:
    Video Art, Screendance
  • Runtime:
    2 minutes 55 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 13, 2022
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Director Biography - Erika Kassnel-Henneberg

Erika Kassnel-Henneberg is a conceptual and video artist with German-Romanian roots. In her works, she explores the process of remembering and questions identity as an artificial construct between reality and fiction.

Erika Kassnel-Henneberg studied Restoration at the Bern University of the Arts / CH and Interactive Media at the Augsburg University of Applied Sciences / DE. She has been working as an artist since 2010 and lives in Anhausen near Augsburg. Her works are shown nationally and internationally in exhibitions and festivals, such as FILE – Electronic Language International Festival in Sao Paulo / BRA or IVAHM – International Video Art House Madrid / ES.

In 2013 she received the Art Award of the City of Krumbach for her work Heimat is Somewhere Else and in 2022 she won the Art Award of the District of Augsburg for her body of work. In addition to her artistic work, she teaches at the Faculty of Design at Augsburg University of Applied Sciences.

She is a member of GEDOK Munich, BBK Schwaben Nord and Augsburg and Kunstverein Aichach.

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Director Statement

We are the narrative of our own memory and the memory of others about us. This is how our identity is formed in a chronological context.

But today we know that memory is neither true, nor objective, nor complete. We lay traces, collect documents and photographs, and archive them. I see in this an existential doubt: who am I really if I cannot trust my memory and the memory of others? If I leave no traces, did I ever exist?

In the digital age, cloud archives with huge storage volumes are our memory. Algorithms collect vast amounts of data and traces that we leave behind in the infinite expanse of the internet. They find everything and forget nothing. They seem to know us better than we know ourselves. And more than that – they even know with statistical probability what we will do next.
Can they tell us who we are? Can we trust them? Or are these also just distorted images of artificial intelligences whose logic and intentions no one can see through?

The focus of my interest is the human being with his subjective perception and his ability to remember, to forget, to associate and – consciously or unconsciously – to think up his own utopias.