La Joie de Vivre

Joan Morey

This is one of the first works in video by Morey. It is closer to a declaration of intent than a regular video. The piece is 19 seconds long (monochannel or projected in a loop) in which we watch an ad for the brand STP (Soy Tu Puta / I am your whore), created by the artist. It being an ad, the codes, edition and montage are clearly those of advertising. We thus see how the simplicity and effectiveness of a commercial are used to convey a very clear message: STP exists.

La Joie de Vivre has obvious formal referents in film. The only character in the advert, an asexual being, half animal half cyborg, who seems to be fleeing from an unknown danger, embodies the perfect victim of any horror film. Through the camera’s subjective point of view, we watch, as we follow him through a lush forest, this being exposed to several dangers, which, rather than belonging to the horror film imaginary of monsters, murderers or psycho-killers, belong to inner fears, with references to questions of gender, sex and the construction of identity. Thus, the only character in the video seems immersed in a disquieting space, a territory of exploration, escape or imbalance, something which emphasises the different forms of perpetual dissatisfaction.

We can already notice in this video the integration of elements that Morey will later develop in a much more evident fashion in his later works: an interest in film language, the development of advertising referents, the involvement in ambiguity as a central theme, and, of course, the creation of situations in which the human being is presented as a vulnerable being exposed to the dangers/pains of a violent and more complex system.

This strong piece is undoubtedly significant within Morey’s oeuvre. It condenses a positioning and certain modes of production that set the difference between this artist’s work and more conventional uses of video.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: La Joie de Vivre
  • Direction: Joan Morey
  • Production: Joan Morey. 1999.
  • Duration: 00:00:35
  • Original format: DV-Cam
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: PAL
  • License: Copyright