Video, 164 minutes
Full HD, 16:9, colour, stereo
To Giorgio Agamben
Ma (間) is a Japanese word which can be roughly translated as gap, space, pause or the space between two structural parts. The spatial concept is experienced progressively through intervals of spatial designation. In Japanese, ma, the word for space, suggests interval. It is best described as a consciousness of place, not in the sense of an enclosed three-dimensional entity, but rather the simultaneous awareness of form and non-form deriving from an intensification of vision.
Ma is not something that is created by compositional elements; it takes place in the imagination of the human who experiences these elements. Therefore, ma can be defined as experiential place understood with emphasis on interval.
Ma has also been described as an emptiness full of possibilities, like a promise yet to be fulfilled, and as the silence between the notes which make the music.
Brettschuh is an incessant worker, creator, and influencer – wherever he happens to be. When he paints, or in the course of whatever creative activity he engages in (and he is creator par excellence), he is mindful – in a free-floating manner and with all his senses – of all that happens inside and around him. All of that flows directly into his actions, his everyday life, his creative work, his art. He often behaves or moves like a highly alert, sharp-eared animal, in continuous and mindful dialogue with his environment. It appears that nothing passes him unnoticed, can pass him unnoticed. When he draws, paints, spreads butter on bread, whittles an arrow, attends to visitors to his exhibition, or pats a friend and neighbor on the shoulder, he always gives it is all. And then the distance between him and his environment seems to disappear, to not actually be present, allowing him to fully devote himself to his experience, his being.
Michael Pilz, March, 2015
Original title Als-Ob-Nicht
English title As-If-Not
With Gerald and Christiane Brettschuh, a.m.o.
Produced by Michael Pilz
Shooting time 2012–2017
Shooting locations Austria (Arnfels, Gmünd, Spielfeld, Halbenrain, a.o.)
Cinematography by Michael Pilz
Original Sound by Michael Pilz
Original language German, Styrian dialect, Slovenian, Russian, English
Intentionally no subtitles
Edited by Michael Pilz
Sound engineering & processing by Gottrekorder
Colour grading by Christoph F. Schmid
Special thanks to Christiane and Gerald Brettschuh, Krista Bouillé, and to Harry Tomicek, who published an extraordinary essay for the first screenings at the Austrian Filmmuseum in June and September of 2018 (download)
First public screening Vienna, Austrian Filmmuseum, June 3 and September 23, 2018
Distribution by Michael Pilz Film
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