Gloomy Sunday


"Gloomy Sunday" is the title of a song from the 1930's made by Hungarian poet Rezsô Seress. The song was forbidden in Hungary because it had the reputation for being a 'suicide song'. Many people had taken their lives after listening to the haunting melody; sometimes the lyrics were part of their last letters. 

In this installation, this song is playing constantly. At the end of stairways on the wall, there is framed glass screen, and when the viewer climbs the stairs, in front of him appears an image of Japanese girl holding a gun. Japan has the tradition of seppuku (ritual suicide originally reserved only for samurai), and this girl breaks that tradition by accepting a “European” unsacred way of taking her life. In this gesture lies bit of absurdity, almost like seeing a European performing hara-kiri (ritual suicide by disembowelment). In this installation, it is not the girl but the visitor who performs a ritual by climbing the stairs and bowing to see the image. The appearance and disappearance of the image is made by using an optical prism to focus optical waves in a strict direction, so that it is impossible to see the image unless one climbs the stairs.

Video Installation January 2006.