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: