Vita Soul Wilmering

Vita Soul Wilmering (un)scripted, (video still), 2023

Year granted: 2022 Website: Part of Prospects

Vita Soul Wilmering (1996) asks herself the following question: Who determines which stories we end up in?  Previously, she mostly made documentaries that can be interpreted as collages that combine various genres, including performances with scenes that she devised beforehand. To Wilmering, fiction and documentary do not contradict each other: “I want to investigate how I can use fiction to get a better understanding of reality.”

When her friend Timo Mortier told her about his dream to live on a boat with a partner, she saw the makings of a new video project. She invited him to play out his scenario, with herself playing the role of the partner. This resulted in the film (un)scripted (2023), for which Wilmering operated the camera, directed, interviewed, and acted. “I’m interested in exposing asymmetrical relationships like this. To do so, it is important to visualize the creative process, as it reveals how the balance of power between Mortier and me is constantly shifting and never evenly matched.”

The entire process was therefore documented by the camera, including the conversations prior to the actual recordings. This resulted in a focus on the relationship between playing a role and having real emotions: the person who is acting is allowed to exaggerate an actual feeling and can thus, without shame, find out how the other will react. Although firmly in control, Wilmering gives us the impression that each of her directorial choices leaves room for vulnerability and the possibility to uncover real feelings.

Text: Jorne Vriens

Translation from Dutch to English: Marie Louise Schoondergang