UTOPIA

2006

One channel video, DV, color, sound
Duration: 11’

The video “Utopia” consists of two mock sales conversations between a salesperson— played by a sales coach — and an actor/artist once playing a company employee and once playing his own role of being an actor. In the first conversation, the salesperson tries to sell retirement insurance to the employee. In the second conversation the salesperson tries to push the actor to follow one of their courses with the promise that this could improve their career and strengthen their position in the market. In the first part of the video, both characters engage in a fictional situation while in the second part they act out of their real-life positions. Because they play themselves, (which involves potentially real consequences), both identify with their roles, reflected in behavioural changes and the situation becoming increasingly confrontational. The conversation’s unscripted nature produces a situation of immediacy. By letting classical sales rhetoric unfold, I tried to understand the impact of a sales language constructed in the frame of social science and applied and perfected by business. Preconceived social roles are reinforced in this process through the identification of the participants with their fictional positions. The role-playing scenario in this video doesn’t try to break from the roles beforehand but to bring them to the culmination point where they become absurd.