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Size Matters Part Ii: Feature-Length Experimental Video

Wednesday, March 22, 2000
De Walkure (The Valkyrie)
Frank and Koen Theys Flanders, 1989

De Walkure is part two of an irreverent and visually inventive adaptation of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. This arduous labor has been accomplished by Flemish artists Frank and Koen Theys, whose earlier work, The Rhinegold, angered some and intrigued others among the keepers of the Ring. This sequel is no video transposition of the classic opera, but a fully realized reinvention that casts the action within pliable electronic space. Considering its reduction to an 85-minute drama, Wagner's narrative has been left intact; we see the raging Wotan, the vengeful Hunding, the star-crossed Sieglinde and Siegmund, an obdurate Fricka, and the torn Brunnhilde. The Theys' interest is not in Wagner, per se, but in their interpretation of Wagner. Personalizing the themes of obedience and power, love and loss, they see Wotan representing a fading culture; Sieglinde and Siegmund seek liberation from this patriarchal force and at one point merge bodies, forming a being with a women's head and a man's voice. During their fearsome ride, the Valkyrie are depicted as a troop of inflatable sex dolls, grotesquely expressing their dual nature. In De Walkure, the Theys have employed video's properties, fashioning a clever and audacious work that rings true.-Steve Seid

• Music by Richard Wagner, performed by the Berlin Philharmonic, Herbert Von Karajan conducting. (85 mins, In German with some Flemish, Color, Beta SP, Courtesy Argos).