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Catalogue World Wide Video Festival 2000
Little coloured flags flutter in the wind. A children’s party perhaps? No. We are in Tunisia where Ben Ali has celebrated his presidency every year since he came to power in 1989. It is an event surrounded by massive publicity. We see political posters of the statesman, the national flag, banners with texts in Arabic and photographs of the president with other forein potentates. Sabine Mooibroek became fascinated by the way in which political propaganda is conducted in Tunisia, which subsequently led her to think about the phenomenon of political advertising in general. Isn’t it odd and simplistic merely to display the head of a political figure along which some slogan or other? We have to admit that advertising has developed a long way beyond this. We actually see Ben Ali everywhere, smiling like the Mona Lisa, his hands joined together like the Pope. In the newspapers, in the air, on the walls. How would you celebrate your coup d’état? We hear a voice ask this question in three languages. Language is always an important element in Mooibroek’s work. Born and raised in Switzerland and resident in the Netherlands for the past ten years, language and its pronouncements are things she can never take for granted here. In earlier videos too, Mooibroek attempts to discover words anew in experiments with text and language. In this work her voice hovers between song and speech. Here again we listen to tough Managementspeak, statements such as: be, at all costs, the centre of everyone’s attention, become shapeless yourself and manipulate the fantasies of the other. The video is presented as a performance, a short intervention of a few minutes. The physical presence of the artist with the work is important for Mooibroek.

Text: Marieke van Hal
Catalogue World Wide Video Festival of the year 2000