Resusci Anne is the official name of the standardized training manikin used to learn and train cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as part of First Aid. Developed by Lærdal Medical in the 1950s, Resusci Anne is considered the “most kissed face in the world”. For the appearance of the product, Asmund Lærdal, originally from the toy industry, used a 19th century death mask of a drowned girl.
Known as the Unknown Woman of the Seine (L’Inconnue de la Seine), the young girl is said to have committed suicide as a result of an unhappy love affair. Touched by its tragic story, combined with the mysterious circumstances of her death, the mask gained great popularity in the 20th century. As the ideal projection surface and phantasm of the perfect muse, it served as the foundation for countless literary and artistic works, primarily produced by male artists. The image of the young girl became a mass product, a popular souvenir, a decorative furnishing item.
A Russian travel blogger, Instagram influencer, and aspiring doctor is found murdered in her travel suitcase in July 2019. For a short time, her tragic fate becomes a viral topic worldwide, which leads to a doubling of her followers on Instagram post mortem. When the investigation reveals that the girl had financed her luxurious lifestyle with a double life as an escort, the dead 24-year-old comes under heavy criticism in the Russian media. In one of Russia’s highest-rated talk show, the Instagram posts of the murdered are examined for alleged connections.
In her video work, Ida Kammerloch explores both female figures and connects fragments of both narratives visually and linguistically. You can see the artist in her studio, looking at photographs under a magnifying glass, collecting props, or scrolling through eBay, Instagram, and other websites, accumulating information and images. She buys a used copy of a Resusci Anne on eBay. The doll is stored and delivered in a suitcase with a corresponding turquoise instruction manual.
Similar to forensics, Ida Kammerloch opens the suitcase and inspects the components. The suitcase can be interpreted ambiguously as an object, touching on neoliberal dispositives of mobility and flexibility. Travel blogging, as proof of a constant need to move. A sign of longing and an opportunity to withdraw from everyday passivity, to optimize, to accumulate, and intensify experiences.
Who fulfills the requirements in our society? Which passport, which capital, which global status is important? Which bodies circulate in which way? Which escape lines are hidden behind our images, the death masks, the digital masks?
Another central tool in the exploration and constitution of both female figures is the mask. As a symbol, it embodies appropriation, cultural transfer, camouflage, and seems to be infinitely manipulable and identificatory zero. Sometimes it appears in the film as a silicone object with a smooth surface, as a moisturizing sheet mask on the artist’s face, then again as a cultural collector’s item or Instagram filter.
Throughout the video oval portraits appear that show the artist wearing a dark wig behind flower bouquets. The short texts underlaying these sequences are based on real Instagram posts, extracted from the travel bloggers profile. While Ida Kammerloch neither shows the influencer’s face, nor mentions her na
me, these quotes, as well as fragments from travel and beauty snapshots, serve as a substitute for approaching the person behind the profile.
The anachronistic montage of both narratives allows their identities to merge fluidly into a single mythical and allegorical corpus in which the penetrative normativity of feminine imagery is thematized and recontextualized.
Resusci or Rescue can also be translated as liberation and is therefore not the reanimation of a myth, but the very questioning of our patriarchal and western narratives.