steifheit 1-3 / 7 (stiffness 1-3 / 7) - 9 min, 35mm, 2018

Every ten years, the filmmaker Albert Sackl sits naked in a black space in front of his camera, which he lets run on time lapse — shooting image for image, for around four hours each time, to arrive at a scant three-minute film—until all 4,000 frames of a standard 16mm roll of film have been shot. The basic idea (and not so simple challenge) comprises maintaining an erection for hours through the energy of friction, which (spoiler alert!) is not always possible. Stiffness seems simple at first glance but is a cunning undertaking fluctuating between narcissism and self-demolition, frenzy and wasteland, self-satisfaction and self-torture. In his hyped sequences of movements Sackl produces something that is also like slapstick—relentlessly making fun of (mainly his own) conceptualism, with a dead serious face, sarcastically reproducing the old joke about the avant-garde as a masturbation technique of brazen and unfounded artists. The aids for self-stimulation expand parallel to the traces of the advancing aging process of the amateur model´s body; finally added to the porno magazine that he flips through, bored, in the first part, is a smartphone as (meanwhile omnipresent) centrifuge of free arousal material.

The complete title of the now three-part work, stiffness 1–3 / 7, has a very optimistic bias: it makes clear Sackl´s resolution to extend his experiment across six decades to seven parts (or, in other words: to keep it up); accordingly, he plans to record the final part of the project in 2057. At this time, he will be exactly eighty years old, and the complete work, around twenty-one minutes long. The self-survey takes its course.
(Stefan Grissemann)

Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt