How does it feel?, 2018
1-channel video installation, 09:18 Min., 4:3
Hamburg Working Grant for Visual Arts at the Falckenberg Collection, 2018

“How does it feel?” is a video art piece that is accompanied by the website of a fictitious research institute on the psychological term “Body Ownership” called the “Body Map Institute” – While the website stands as an immaterial platform for talking about body relations in a contemporary world, the video piece revolves around specific aspects of “Body Ownership” in addressing its notions of body, power and self-identification by using the questions: Do you have a body? Are you a body?


The set-up of the video is simple: A charismatic, middle-aged Caucasian, fictitious psychology professor is standing in front of a black background explaining his “Pearl on a String Theory”. Using actual research findings, he places different states of body-identification on the continuum of a string: from connecting with your body (states of mediation) to partial disconnection (out-of-body experiences) to body dis-ownership (states of severe trauma). As a viewer, we are lead to believe that we are watching an interview, but suddenly the words and visuals start to shift: The camera creeps closer, curiously scanning the skin, pores, and wrinkles of this body (the speaking body) talking about bodies losing control (the body beyond words). This change of perspective by the camera is pushed further and further in fine nuances – even the expert’s words shift between third and first person perspective, for instance when he takes on the “I” perspective of a young woman describing her out-of-body experience. Mapping different degrees of closeness and distance to the body, the words and the visuals question how we identify with the body, from what point of view and from which position of power. The voice of the expert carries through, the camera circulates him like a tiger with locked eyes, and the question reverberates: Do you have a body? Are you a body?

Director: Kirstin Burckhardt
Writer: Kirstin Burckhardt
Producer: Carolin Drzalic
Cast: Christian Wewerka
Director of Photography: Christian Passeri
Editor: Dagmar Schürrer and Kirstin Burckhardt

Production Designer: Kirstin Burckhardt
First Assistant Director: Marielle Samstad
Set Operator: Lilli Williams

First Assistant Camera: Burkhard Klein
Gaffer: Sam Gillen
Sound Recordist: Gerasimos Asimakopoulos
Sound Design: Noah Klein and Kirstin Burckhardt
Intro and outro song: Shadow by Noah Klein

Makeup/Hair: Lucie Biloshytskyy and Marielle Samstad
Wardrobe: Kirstin Burckhardt
Still Photography: Eva Gjaltema

Color Correction: Kirstin Burckhardt
Color Consultant: Lavinia Camarda