30 Years of Esther Schipper!
June 18 – July 22, 1994…
“McNamara” is an important early work that can function as a reference point to one of the artist’s most important long-term projects, namely a complex research project originating with the artist’s 1992 script for a film based on the encounters of several real-life historical and fictional characters. Entitled “McNamara”, the film was to center chiefly on fictional dialogues between Robert McNamara, US Secretary of Defense under John F. Kennedy, and Hermann Kahn, a military strategist and systems theorist employed at the RAND Corporation and who was influential during the Cold War. The film was also to include fictional letters written to President Kennedy by the economist John Galbraith and extended conversations between two female characters initially referred to in the script as ‘Fiddle and Feddle’. Described as ‘intimate friends of President Kennedy’, in a later script the women received the (fictional) names Diane Rosenthal and Lara Debchenski. Their conversation appears at first as a lighter narrative track, but actually functions as both knowing and innocent commentary from a meta-historical perspective. Paradoxically, the figures of the young women are both omniscient, but sound somewhat vacuous.
In 1994, the opening sequence was realized as an animated cartoon film. The approximately 2 minute long film was shown on a Brionvega Algoi TVC with copies of the script.
Early scenarios such as “McNamara”, “Erasmus” and “IBUKA” or “What if?” created the conceptual basis for Gillick’s object-based work such as his discussion platforms which remain indebted to the creation of environments as charged spaces for ‘discussion, delay, negotiations, conciliation, retraction’, or in short, processes of communication and social interaction.