A drum roll opens the film accompanied by portraits of a young woman in quick cuts. Screaming in desperation, she alternatively beats her hands in front of her face or simply stares dejectedly into the camera. In other sequences, the young woman attempts to scale a wall or collapses—slapstick style—in the middle of a lawn. Image glitches, like those on old television screen, flicker in bright colors. These are accompanied by a tinny distorted voice, which narrates the absurd events with cryptic phrases, such as “I screw myself into ceiling with the heels. Then I let go“ or “Good service, good performance.”
The video is one of Pipilotti Rist’s early works, in which she assumes the role of protagonist. It was made at a time when the artist worked for a commercial video studio to earn money. “(Entlastungen) Pipilottis Fehler explores the errors of the machines that dance with my character flaws,” the artist explained in an interview, adding “It explores the parallelism of psychosomatic disorders, character deficits and technical machine errors.” The exploration of technical failures and human shortcomings characterize Rist’s early work. Failing and rebounding: novel ideas are often born from supposed mistakes. It is to this that Rist’s experimental videos attest.