It may be a documentary, but it is not. It may be an art film, but it is not. It is instead a philosophical work. –Strona Tańca
A memory message to every human being. –Lucrezia De Domizio Durini
VestAndPage’s performance-based feature film based on actual historical events, “PLANTAIN”, was produced and filmed on location during the month-long performance walk by artist duo VestAndPage from Northern Germany through Poland to the Russian region of Kaliningrad in May/June 2015. Taking a private family story and the historical event of post-WWII displacements as starting points, the film focuses on the issue of the replaced – displaced – in-place body. It questions how past and present speak to and through our bodies facing ethical, social and existential challenges. It investigates the process of acceptance of history, its individual and collective archiving, and concepts of identity and permeability of cultural borders. In 7 episodes, the film recalls family members to look into time, mystery, war, duty, courage, trauma and fidelity.
In 2010, VestAndPage inspired a new experimental and ecological performance-based film production method. Theirs are complexly layered film works that move in the realms of magic realism, through which they examine the evolution from original documentation of performative acts toward contextual, non-linear storytelling. Their films are produced on-site as direct and visceral performances, which are not rehearsed or staged and happen in response to extreme environments. Stenke and Pagnes usually work alone or with a small team of collaborators and use minimal non-invasive equipment. In a constant search through a reflexive mode for new images of interior landscapes, they consider the world the studio and host: they do not go to a place to tell a story – they go to a place to find its story. To perform in these thresholds where the visible blends with the invisible, they have developed a psychogeographical method to activate memory and uncover layers of information and imagery stored in the human body, psyche, spirit, and non-human environment. Since then, they have produced three feature-length films, a silent film, a trilogy of shorts, two shorts and numerous interview series and art videos. In 2020, they published “Poetics of Relations: Manifesto on Performance-Based Filmmaking”.