Jakob Engel

Waiting for Record / 2018 / 15:35

with Jamil Jalla & Jalal Hussaini

„Waiting for Record“, a cooperation with the Afghan filmmaker Jamil Jalla, shows him in his role as someone waiting for asylum and as an actor. On the one hand, he is a cleaner in one of the great German theaters, who realizes himself upon the stage, on the other hand, he is an actor and filmmaker who, in a recording studio, dubs himself in the role of the cleaner.

Wonder of / 2017 / 08:55

In semi-darkness, people scurry through the picture, moving almost silently, hardly speaking. Their costumes give us a notion – which is then clarified by the announcement that the performance is about to begin and everyone should get in place: We are at the theatre. But our attention is not focused on the stage, we are looking backstage where actors and actresses are waiting for the moment of their appearance, they gather and then disappear from the camera’s field of view. That their appearance on stage is also the moment they leave the camera’s field of view makes it an exit. Jakob Engel turns the stage around, he makes what is behind to what is in front, thus raising the question where the theatre actually begins. The about-face also applies to the acoustic backdrop: It isn’t the spoken word that stands out, it is the background noise, like rustling or whispering, as if at the moment of most intense expectancy, the senses are particularly honed for what is otherwise incidental.

At the Opening / 2016 / 09:54

In Cooperation with Sebastian Moske

Visitors to an exhibition report on their experience.


Maid of the Mist / 2015 / 04:11

The mist of the Niagara Falls in North America is endowed with a particular sujet, when for a moment it conveys the Iroquois virgin Lelwala’s likeness. The legend MAID OF THE MIST recounts her flight from an impending forced marriage in a canoe via the Niagara Falls – leaping to her death. From time to time one might still glimpse her spirit in the thick spray mist of the falls. A legend which allegedly originates from the Iroquois, when in fact it was made up by white settlers in the middle of the 19th century. The legend essentially ignores the reality of the indigenous tribes’ lives, where the tradition of forced marriage never existed. As the legend also was augmented with diverse sexual innuendos, the “sexy suicidal squaw” formed a reoccuring figure in the white American imagination of the 19th century as portrayed in various plays and narratives, writes Ginger Strand (2008). Here the magnificent natural spectacle is bestowed with the attribute of a movie screen, similar to IMAX cinemas. Seemingly the water surface begins revealing stories to its observers. And yet, it remains completely silent. The mist, however, not only serves here as image carrier but becomes anthromorphic and thereby manifests a distinct anthropocentrism.

Booklet: Die Intransparenz des Ufers

Theater / 2014 / 03:03

© Jakob Engel 2019