Stefan Panhans & Andrea Winkler       
2021, 4K video, colour/sound, 30 min.

DEFENDER is a postindustrial (anti)musical. Three women form a kind of work or service team, which was sent on an unknown mission into an underground carpark. Only one single vehicle occupies the garage, seemingly a big black SUV disguised in a kind of ‘Test Mule’ camouflage usually used by the automotive industry to hide design novelties and at the same time to attract special attention during prototype test drives.
Without knowing what to do and how they came to be there, a trialogue with song interludes unfolds, which consists of, among other things, some stressfully internalised self-improvement rhetoric, fragments from SUV commercials and selfhelp messages from megachurch gurus, interrupted by moments of confusion and burn-out-like symptoms, as well as, the SUV’s virtual language assistant quoting the beginning of Georg Büchners “Lenz”. In a constant movement, interspersed with workout elements, dance and aerobic routines, they circle around the enigmatic object without result and after an almost ritual-like singing evocation of it, they seem to fall into a state of liberation from all this by suddenly and seamlessly emitting only animal sounds at the end. The fact that the world's resources are finite is nothing new. In DEFENDER, the obvious moments of wasted energy and resources inscribed in the SUV issue are inter-woven with the flexibilised and selfoptimised inner life of contemporary individuals – whose energy might also come to an end eventually – and are fed back to the wishes, fantasies and desires that arise from the current conditions of our living and working environment. Many of them are paradigmatically served by the appearance and the advertising world around the more and more - and in the pandemic crisis even increasing - boom of the phenomenon SUV, which here functions like a kind of 'MacGuffin' for the social unconscious.
Symptoms of the conditions of our working and living environments are directly linked to our individual fears, wishes and desires. Resilience training, SUVs, and pseudo-religion, at least, don't seem to be the answer.

Written. produced and directed by: Stefan Panhans and Andrea Winkler
Starring: Lisa Marie Janke, Olivia Hyunsin Kim, Anne Ratte Polle
Director of Photography: Lilli Thalgott
Second Camera Operator: Florian Winkler
Set Design, Costume and Props: Stefan Panhans and Andrea Winkler
On Set Sound Operator: Michel Kloefkorn
On Set Assistance: Viviane Lennert
Editing: Lilli Thalgott
Original Score & Sounddesign: Thies Mynther
Colorgrading: Adriel Pfister
Postproduction: Wolfgang Oelze
Subtitles: Andrea Winkler
Translation for Subtitles: Andrea Winkler, Jaqueline Todd
(quotes from Georg Büchners »Lenz« translated by DeepL)

Funded by VISIT Artist in Residence Programm #VISIT2019

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