[Click Here to look at and read the book on screen with ISSUU.]
‘A-W-O-R-L-D-O-F-O-U-R-O-W-N’ (1) animated on a piece of paper. Vertical stripes turn horizontal. An animated sheet of mirror card, folded and scanned, refolded and rescanned. Scanner light reflects from the folded edges as the animation moves on. Whitewashed overexposed edges, underexposed out of focus voids and blocked up shadows reduce the image information. A continuous surface appears disjoined and divided.
On the other side of a vertically folded paper edge is the same page passing itself off as the opposite side.
Cosmo-L.P. (2) sits back as if she is waiting for something. Cosmo-V.T. (3) has already put on her space suit hood. Someone helps her with the space suit boots. The voids and edges of the mirror card overlay the preparations.
A group of people is waiting on the other side of the animated folds.
The conversation starts: I identify mit many persons, like Valeska Gert und Édith Piaf und Patti Smith und Ariana Foster und Rosa Luxemburg…
… I think she was a freedom fighter. She was singing love songs and, eh, true life reports.
… yeah, I would like to see a UFO, now, I would like to go away for a couple of days.
A darker spot appears over the buildings in the background.
The animated mirror folds return. An East London Line train speeds sideways out of the animated movements. A view from inside the train shows a cluster of skyscrapers coming into view as we approach the City of London (6).
Fragments of electronic music follow the speed of the animation.
The mirror card animation is superimposed on the train windows inside the dark tunnel.
The animation takes over the frame as the soundtrack switches to single channel. Cosmo-L.L.’s (10) voice breaks through from the background: The system is so capitalist and it always has been. No, you can’t change that. You can’t blow up all of the banks, it’s not going to happen honey, stay…
The scene shifts to a view from the top floor of a bus as the journey continues by road.
A bus voice announces the next stop: Worship Street – Commercial Street.
The bus takes us under the train bridge, across Commercial Street and into Bishopsgate.
Employees rush across the street in front of Liverpool Street station.
Bus voice overlapping: 26 to Waterloo.
…and when…, and when they look at me…
The camera zooms in on Heron Tower and tilts up towards the top of the building. The folding mirror card still overlays the view.
… the voiiiiiiid!! When I try to think.
The soundtrack drops to a background level: … when I try to think …
Reflections from the animated mirror card fill the frame.
Cosmo-N.H.: … I sing about the future and about ehmm, and about the end of the world…
She is on stage in a white dress.
…and the year 1998…
Cosmo: you said there was no future…
We see a drawn globe like shape filled with animated pencil lines expand towards the edge of the frame.
…You are Cosmogirl.
Cosmo: you will invent yourself out of it.
A cut back in time. Maya Deren (12) lies alone on a beach as if she has been thrown there by the waves. She is accompanied by herself, as a double exposure enters from the left to align with her. As the protagonist of her own film and the filmmaker of her own protagonist, she invents a woman filmmaker of the 1940s.
Animated pencil lines create folding shapes, disjoined spaces and obstructions. Time-space travel. Cosmo-V.T. is about to leave. The space ship is ready for take-off from inside the animation. It takes off and cuts through the folded barriers. Cosmo-N.H.’s voice breaks up as the space ship moves through the animation and disappears.
Cosmo-N.H.: Die Sprache der Astronauten is INTERn…ationa..aa .. al…
New languages, new songs.
She invents herself out of conventions and into her own future.
A short black break. By the end of the animation the paper has become oversaturated with pencil lines. It is impossible to rub out the graphite to regain the highlights, – shades go from blurry grey to black. A new sheet of paper is needed.
The folded mirror card animation returns. Reflected light and folds introduce the sound of running water.
The group of people has grown in number when it appears again through a cross dissolve transition. They walk across the folds following a riverbank.
The camera pans quickly towards the left and captures the sun shining between Cosmo’s legs as she walks across the frame.
…They understand that this fight is not the right fight…
The camera continues to pan left and we see a crowd in the forest approached by uniformed and armed people.
… and that the world is round and big and it is our world, and that women can move through the world, and …
The camera moves back towards the right and over an open field. A light-leak has damaged one side of the film.
… there is no need for territory and there is no need to sit in the home and be protected.
We see Cosmo’s legs, her hands holding a document and the sun shining through the vegetation in the background. For a moment the surrounding architecture overlays the scene and appears superimposed on her legs.
Adelaide from the Women’s Army to the freedom fighter, ‘Born in Flames’, 1983’s near science-fiction-future: It is very good that you are here. You’re telling us about the women in your world, and that you must be very careful, because the violence is dangerous and there is not that many of you.
Freedom fighter: Yes, that’s what’s important, the information…
By now Cosmo is double exposed and her document is over-layered by the folded mirror card animation. One version of her document floats off weightlessly and disappears out the upper part of the frame.
… because they have been throwing sand in our eyes all the time and making us think that we have to fight against things that were no threat to us and closing down the world on us.
The footage of Cosmo’s legs is mixed with the first film frame of the open field. The frame is damaged by a black hole.
A animated circle. Drawn edges, folds and shapes move in the background. The circle expands out towards the edge of the frame and continues though it. Cosmo-N.H. is on stage inside the animation.
She reenters the conversation: … and I sing about the black holes, the end of the world…
…I sing about the future.
A cut back to the view from the bus ride down Bishopsgate. We move towards 30 St Mary Axe and Heron Tower.
We are approaching the 2012’s near future. A skyscraper backdrop shows architectural monuments of accumulated power, money and vertical systems. The stage is set for the endless repeat of neo-liberal plays to the amusement of the few.
Decades of new developments built on emptied out addresses. New steel and glass capsules reconstruct time, space and money.
Animated folds divide the scene as the camera points down from the bus window. We see employees in black uniforms hurry back and forth. Opposite sides, overexposed edges and underexposed voids sit on top of the street view. A low frame rate and reduced colours match the view of the surveillance cameras overhead.
Reanimation to reconstruct time and information lost with missing frames, to reclaim real-time, real-space and real-work where struggles reinvent themselves, constantly until achieved and then constantly to be kept alive, but first of all, to find each other.
A slightly delayed double exposure doubles the amount of people on the street.
A Cosmo-Freedom fighter, 2012’s near future, explains: …when people came out on the streets and sort of recognised each other…
The camera tilts down to the pavement beneath the bus window. The attempt to focus on some of the people passing is disrupted by bumpy bus movements.
…other people were coming out and you recognise yourself and you know that you are not alone and other people are seeing and feeling the same thing.
A short break. Back to the near science-fiction-future of the early 80s. ‘Born in Flames’’ Radio Phoenix is playing: And we will continue to fight. Not against the flesh and blood, but against the system that names itself falsely…
… for we have stood on the promises far too long now, that we can all be equal under the cover of a democracy where the rich get richer and the poor are just wailing their dreams.
The folding mirror card falls down from the top of the frame like a curtain.
It continues down the image and out through the bottom of the frame revealing Cosmo dancing in the sunset. She raises her arm to the sun.
A whole team of dancing legs from ‘Born in Flames’ joins her in 2012’s near future though superimposed layers.
Cosmo and the dancing legs are still over-layered by the folds. Overexposed edges and voids with blocked up shadows divide their space.
The dancing legs keep multiplying as the voice from Radio Phoenix repeats: And we will continue to fight. Not against the flesh and blood, but against the system that names itself falsely.
And we will continue to fight. Not against the flesh and blood, but against the system that names itself falsely.
A soundtrack says Oh-o, and they dance and it all seems like a good end.
Just a few years earlier she had the first number one hit in the UK both written and performed by a woman.
Short of mirrors and measures, she imagined her composer-self as a man. The man in the default set mirrors. A foot (ft) refers to the size of a man.
Cosmo-Freedom fighter from 2012’s near future: Oh, let me tell you, that this is a very hard job for us, trying to explain our situation and trying to move! …
At this point the open field reappears, and Cosmo-Kate Bush does a weightless space jump from the middle of the frame and disappears out on the right hand side.
… This is part of our history, this is our defense.
The camera moves to the right and up into the sun. Overexposure turns the film frames white. As the camera continues to the right we see the ‘Die-in at the Stock Exchange’ (15). Groups of women lie Valie Export-like on the streets blocking the employees on their way to their offices. For a moment we are back to the political feminism and the City of London of the early 1980s. A cross dissolve transition returns us to the view from the bus, the City of 2012’s near future and Cosmo-Freedom fighter: We want, we want people who are responsible for this mess to face … a … an inquiry … this is a story of deceit … I’m sorry, this is really … should go away to Hollywood.
The video loops.
(1) Derived from Virginia Woolf’s essay title ‘A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN’, 1929.
(2) Based on ‘The Indomitable Leni Peickert’, 1970.
(3) Based on Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, 1963.
(4) Based on Pat Place from the No Wave film ‘Staten Island’, 1978.
(5) Based on Nina Hagen as a female rebel icon of the early punk movement, 1979.
(6) London’s financial district, City of London Corporation, and the world’s leading centre of global finance.
(7) A skyscraper in the City of London, also called ‘Gherkin’, constructed 2003-05.
(8) A skyscraper in the City of London, constructed 2005-09.
(9) A skyscraper in the City of London, constructed 2005-09.
(10) Based on Lydia Lunch as a No Wave performer.
(11) ‘The Void’ by The Raincoats, 1978.
(12) Maya Deren, avant-garde filmmaker 1940s-50s
(13) Documentary-style feminist science-fiction film, 1983.
(14) From the album ‘The Dreaming’, 1982
(15) Action by ‘The Greenham Women’ on the occasion of President Reagan’s visit to the UK, the City of London, 1983.