Mozzhukhin (2008) is a performance installation by cowboy bij nacht, inspired by a classic cinematic experiment by Lev Kuleshov, known today as the “Kuleshov effect”.

Around 1918, Lev Kuleshov edited a short film in which shots of actor Ivan Mozzhukhin, looking into the camera, were intercutted with fragments of various objects. The audience praised the acting skills of Mozzhukhin; first an object made him hungry, then sad, etc… 
 In reality the audience always watched the same shot of the actor, in which he actually looks quite expressionless.

Cowboy Bij Nacht is curious about the theatrical implications of this experiment, and invites the audience to act as a test person.

With this performance, cowboy bij nacht tries to create a theatrical kuleshov effect, in which the viewer is confronted with his own ‘theatre-watching-behaviour’, and because of this discovers that this behaviour is much more active than he actually thought.

A good description of what Kuleshov (i.a. teacher of Sergej Eisenstein) at that time wanted to accomplish with this experiment, can be found on Encyclopedia Brittanica:

Kuleshov reasoned from this phenomenon, known today as the “Kuleshov effect,” that the shot in film always has two values: that which it carries in itself as a photographic image of reality, and that which it acquires when placed into juxtaposition with another shot. He reasoned further that the second value is more important to cinematic signification than the first and that, therefore, time and space in the cinema must be subordinate to the process of editing, or “montage” (coined by the Soviets from the French verb monter, “to assemble”).

Mozzhukhin is made by :

  • Concept, image and sound design: Arnold Hoogerwerf
  • In cooperation with Robert van Dijk and Alexander the Vree
  • Actors: Laura de Boer & Albert Kleinkranenburg

Mozzhukhin will be performed: