The Prince of Homburg

2019

Staff, Patrick

Patrick Staff interrogates the cycles of violence, desire and repression that are embedded in contemporary culture. Through a range of mediums, they explore dream-like transgressions of law and order, and the fraught spaces where queer desires manifest.

The Prince of Homburg, 2019 is based on Heinrich von Kleist’s play of the same title. Written in 1810 but set in 1675, Kleist’s drama begins with a disoriented prince sleepwalking through his royal gardens, and soon develops into a nightmarish narrative that questions the limits of state control versus individual freedom. Staff’s video cuts together a narration of Kleist’s play with interviews, found footage, hand-painted animation and song. In a series of fragmented ‘daytime’ sequences, a range of artists, writers and performers reflect on contemporary queer and trans identity and its proximity to desire and violence. Intense flashes of colour reveal items such as a glove, knives, blades and chains, intercut with the sun and sky, city streets and text. Staff reconfigures Kleist’s play to focus on the symbol of the exhausted, sleepwalking figure as a political protester.

The Prince of Homburg was co-commissioned by Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scotland, and IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art), Ireland. Video work produced by Spike Island, UK. Special thanks to producer Ali Roche and Humber Street Gallery, UK.

  • Artwork Details: running time: 23 minutes 4seconds
  • Edition: 2 of 5 + 2 AP
  • Material description: Single-channel HD video, color, sound
  • Credit line: © the artist. Image courtesy of the artist and Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles
  • Theme: Undefined
  • Medium: Film and Audio Visual
  • Accession number: ACC21/2019

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