Judith Hopf looks at how our social environment – i.e. power structures, codes of conduct and other conventions – shapes and influences us and, by extension, alienates us from ourselves. Her focus is the human body and how we use our bodies to relate to other people and objects. Hopf’s work combines personal experiences with political views and critical theory. Hopf believes that ‘the body is political’ and that social and political experiences and representations must be understood in relation to one’s own body.
video, sound, 7’52”
Some End of Things: The Conception of Youth (2011) is a video about intolerance in society. We see a figure dressed as an egg trying to enter a modernist building but failing because his shape prevents him from getting through the door. This absurd situation makes it difficult not to laugh, but at the same time the observer realizes that the physical obstacle preventing the egg from entering the building also denotes socio-cultural exclusion. The film suggests that nowadays, we have to deal with mounting social pressure and those who fail to conform risk being excluded both from the real and virtual world.
video installation, sound, 3’38”
The protagonist in Zählen! (Count!) is a seemingly mathematically gifted horse. Four clowns put his knowledge to the test. The animal answers arithmetical questions by stamping his hoof on the ground the correct number of times. He is assisted by a trainer, played by Judith Hopf herself. The film is based on a true story. At the beginning of the twentieth century a supposedly highly-gifted horse, Hans, was exposed. It was found not to be a mathematical wonder at all but merely picking up on his audience’s inadvertent cues. In psychology this is known as the ‘Clever Hans’ effect.