CREDITS | support | filmteam | performance

be yourself! is a project by Janine Sack. 2003 – 2005
For more information please contact

be yourself! has been realised with support of
Royal University College of Fine Arts Stockholm
European Media Artists in Residence Exchange /
University of Dundee
Visual Research Centre

CHRIS....Sofia Wärmgård-Lang
JO..........Mikael Kallin
KAY........Andreas Svensson
KIM........Tove Sahlin
ROBIN....Sanna Bråding

Renee Viterstedt
Caroline Ramzy

Mikael Prey

Erik Jeor

Anna Camner
Marika Heidebäck
Gunilla Leander

Stephen Parise
Tina Willgren

Erik Jeor

Andreas Bausch
Marie-Louise Ekman
Eberhard Höll
Frank Hornig
Lisa Laurén
Perrine Mornay
Iain Pate
Filip Rensfeld
Adriano Sack
Mike Stubbs

Thursday 25 September 03, DCA Cinema 2
with members of Dundee Rep Ensemble

Kay.........Stephen Docherty
Robin......Emily Pollet
Jo...........Keith Fleming  <

CONCEPT | background | presentation

An investigation on the cultural phenomena "docusoap"

Be yourself! is a project based on the concept of reality TV shows.
Set in a virtual environment and using scripted actors the work questions notions of authenticity and identity. A group of actors got roughly defined characters, different situations and a set of rules, which resemble those of known shows.

Be yourself! is shot in a "blue box" with a virtual stage mapped digitally onto it. The stage design is quoting the aesthetics of existing shows and serves also as commentary level. The use of a virtual environment symbolises the aspect of construction and fiction in connection to "real" interaction.The decision to work with actors instead of participants aims in the same direction: it is not about creating a realistic situation but dealing with the reality which is always implied in every fictitious setting and can therefore be represented "artificially".

In the tv-format "docusoap" the problematic question of "reality" and "authenticity" is treated in an astonishing naive but clever way. The set-up, the casting, the stage, the rules are constructed and therefore fictitious. The participants themselves nevertheless seem to believe in their own authenticity and originality while acting within this frame.

Even though conflicts, friendships are partly generated through the casting, the people performing in the shows fill the stage with enthusiasm and eagerness to show themselves. The most interesting aspect to me is the borderline between fiction and "reality". In these artificial set-ups, the shows provide is the social and cultural reality reflected in a nearly symbolic way. Preconceptions about interaction between people, their certain needs and wishes are taken into consideration when the formats are conceived. They base of course on known social norms and roles.

The participants can therefore easily adapt to the situations and act and react in more or less predestined way. Their main task is to keep the audience's interest by playing their roles or themselves in a convincing way. The suspense though is hold by the the editing and the fact that this "real-life" event has become public interest.

Be yourself! is being presented in different modes, suiting variing contexts such as festivals, video-programs and exhibitions. Parts of the conceptual and theoretical background of the show will be used as part of the artwork as well as all other products which connect to the format.

The combination of installation and liveperformance as re-enactment of the fictitious characters is aiming to again blur the boundaries of fictional and real in the context of presentation.

-"Be yourself - Trailer", 2 min 46, miniDV
-"Be yourself - Final", 21 min 10, DVD
-"Be yourself - Live" multiscreen version 2 x 30 min loop, DVD

-T-shirts with variations of the Logo
-Pins with the Logo and the contestants
-Printouts of the Virtual stages
-Documentation Live-Performance at DCA Cinema
-Furniture and objects of the original stage
-"The contestant's souls", plasticine  <