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ProtoZone 16

15.11 - 12.01.2025

ProtoZone 17

Why E. Vogler?
A defence for sh!tfiction

A collaborative obsession by Michelangelo Miccolis & nick von kleist


For AUDIO, please play & shuffle the audio from the PLAYLIST HERE or from the button below titled “playlist for sh!tfictions”.


Suffice it to say, quarantine has been a pain in the ass.


We have assumed and reassumed roles and duties outside of our ideas of artistic development, caretaking, and community. We have been physically silent, walled inside, able to exploit our virtual privilege to connect, entertain ourselves and remember life before 2020.


Stuck in quarantine we, Michelangelo and myself, have kept ourselves occupied with a deluge of cinematic nostalgia—a collection of movies and series from before quarantine. We found simply rewatching tedious, so we began watching movies with subtitles we had downloaded from other films & tv. One of our first experiments was watching Lost in Translation with subtitles from Bergman’s Persona. The moment Scarlet Johansson’s face came on screen with the subtitle: “Elisabet Vogler”––we immediately paused it, took multiple screenshots, & burst into laughter at the random synchronicity and absurdity in the new image/collage. This began a daily growing archive with this and more subtitles from Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, The Devil Wears Prada, Inland Empire, Scenes from a Marriage, Crimes of the Future, and many more. Even with this expanding incidental archive, we keep returning to Elisabet Vogler.


Looking back through our screenshots one figure emerged—Elisabet Vogler; she was on everyone’s lips. Elisabet vogler––while talking to a partner, walking down the street, planning to save the world, looking over a seaside cliff in a turtleneck… This particular line happens around the fifteen minute mark in the subtitle file we have, and because of this, each image that took on this subtitle was in this same turning point in each movie. The moment where we finally progress from the prologue into the culmination of the first chapter. Foreshadowing gains weight, and the image drops the first stone for the narrative arc to ripple out.


The more we used the subtitles from Persona, the more we came to know the script. Persona was a perfect example of a couple in quarantine, a magnification of their differences and polarities inflamed through isolation. Elisabet Vogler became our drag mother for quarantine—this diva who just couldn’t be fucked with the world, who is placed in quarantine, while her nurse, Sister Alma, follows closely behind her and seemingly cannot stop oversharing with the faintly responsive Elisabet.


We then tried to understand what was the narrative we have created through these screenshots, who is our Elisabet Vogler? We went through the screenshots in the order we had taken them and then again randomized, screen-recording this process. Through this we began selecting moments that worked, i.e. made us laugh, and began placing them together. Testing them each time with the music we had been listening to in quarantine.


The character Elisabet seems to always be in control, performing silent, performing therapist—enviable out of the two characters. However when her name is misplaced and taken out of the seclusion of Persona and woven with images from very different films, we begin connecting the Vogler we’ve seen with the moments of Vogler we see.


This process centers on seeing. Extracting and blending what we choose to remember and to archive, and how that frames what we can convey. Our screenshots resemble our virtual experience over the past few months—emphasizing “our”. At first this felt like the most laborious inside joke between us, but our insistence on watching and archiving and the skill we developed in this feels worth investigating. We were able to revise narratives that feel surprising, moreso appalling, to ever be presented—with the language of another film.


This random fan fiction is really just that, a reimagining and record of our experience, while we tossed the title Elisabet Vogler between one another.




Why E. Vogler? a defence for sh!tfiction

written by nick von kleist

Tepotzotlán, MX, August 2020

sh!tfictions #2