Maite Cajaraville

“Two friends, at odds with real life, contemplate whether to change or not change their lives.” A table, two chairs in front of each other, two glasses (that change in size according to the words being spoken), background sound... and let the match begin. Two young friends, trying to enjoy life, have an intermittent conversation. Different arguments succeed each other. We are witness to a dispute between two different ways of understanding everyday leisure, within a dialectics of worry, courage and life’s unknowns.

The story that Cajaraville presents here is that which follows moments of personal instability, and the need for a space of one’s own in life. Two friends of the author, of the time when she was working on her research in Frankfurt, encounter a dilemma due to the quick changes of mentality, the uncertainty and the contradictions that arise with age. This is a conversation, without holdbacks, between two friends, about the desire to do and the fear, disguised as everyday boredom, that prevents us from doing. Both women have reasons for not assuming the results of their actions by themselves.

Within a dialogue between equals, they try to alleviate frustrations by putting forward new values, attitudes and behaviours. As we can easily appreciate, the scope of the possible change ranges widely. It can be no change at all, in despair, accepting a destiny that cannot be changed. This new start could offer new opportunities, or cause further bleeding of the wound. Nevertheless, within this process, both intimidations and new dilemmas can be found. It all depends on the women’s flexibility, on their capacity for innovation, the celerity of their replies and their sensibility to foresee trouble.

In this video Cajaraville redesigns with digital interventions both pauses and repetitions, provoking changes of tone, by which something which we perceive as negative, changes in meaning. The changes that we witness originate in the interaction of forces, but, at the same time, these never go deeper into the innermost motives of both friends. In the final sequence, the two glasses on the table change places, appearing and disappearing, in a similar manner to the way both women speak during these few minutes: one in the foreground, and the other in the background. A slight wink to the viewer: we can debate between changing and not changing; it doesn’t matter, the world around us continues its course, in constant evolution (evidenced in the movement of the glasses around the table).

Prompted by this video, Peter Weibel organised an exhibition showing a room, in which the whole furniture had been changed. The piano was on the ceiling, the staircase on the wall, the table was precariously positioned between two walls. Change is around us and is here to stay.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Cambiando
  • Direction: Maite Cajaraville
  • Production: Institut für Neue Medien, Frankfurt. 1997.
  • Duration: 00:02:10
  • Languages: German
  • Original format: Betacam SP
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: PAL
  • License: Copyright