It’s So Sad the Giraffe Is Dead
In January 2012, Lisa Domin is looking for an apolitical place in Cairo; the result is a work featuring 16-mm film recordings at the Giza Zoo. It’s a holiday atmosphere, families are picnicking, lovers having a walk. For the locals, the modest 30-cent entrance fee makes the pompous complex more of a park than a zoo. Many cages are empty. Domin is asked if she’s come to make a German TV documentary about the death of the last giraffe in the zoo. This topic is important in the city even during those politically explosive times.
December 2013. There’s a new giraffe at the Zoo called Roqa. The Muslim Brotherhood is demonstrating in the city, even in the big square in front of the zoo’s entrance. The protests are broken up by using tear gas, clouds of gas float into the zoo. And then the new giraffe dies, and this time it’s due to strangulation. People start calling it suicide and the mysterious death prompts a worldwide media response. But can animals actually commit suicide? And who’s exploiting who here?
In her performance, Domin shows how the giraffe’s death became a symbol of the revolution’s hopeless political situation, and presents the macabre coherence between the animals’ behaviour and the situation of the populace. Domin’s documentary footage is combined with the strained sounds of the electric guitar by Ralf-Tibor Stemmer and the voice improvisation of Zofia Bartoszewicz, which change into sounds that are typical in different languages, ranging between whispers, raised voices and singing. In between, the words »depression« and »giraffe« are heard again and again. With the screamed chorus »It’s So Sad the Giraffe Is Dead« the artist lends a voice to the disappointed hope for political change, a voice that subsequently resonates in the memory.
Lisa Domin studied fine arts, specialising in film and photography, in Braunschweig and Budapest and completed her master’s degree at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne.
Films by Lisa Domin (Selection)
Sonne auf Erden 2018 | Faxen 2018 | Neutrales Gebiet 2017 | It’s so sad the giraffe is dead 2016 | Car Care 2015 | E.1027 2014 | Running through History 2013 | Steppen 2013 | Rot 2012 | Fan Fit 2012 | Noha 2012 | Future World 2012