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Bodyimage: Lene Berg’s Kopfkino

Ian White examines the politics of representation in Lene Berg’s Kopfkino (2012), considering the film’s depiction of female sex workers as a reflection on how images are made and consumed. When a body is for sale it is never simple: never any body, never just a body, never simply an exchange of one thing for another, no easy transaction. It is not the only thing at stake because it is not only a thing. It is flesh and emotion, but it is also an image, produced as much by the seller as in the mind of the buyer. It is a location for the production of images as they might be spoken; tailored, requested, agreed, refused, decided in advance, thwarted, affirmed. It is this that is as much the content of Lene Berg’s Kopfkino (2012) as (and precisely because of) the stories told by the video’s protagonists: eight female sex workers whose conversations describe and negotiate such propositions. In them, the body for sale is a pronounced nexus of power, with everything (socially, technologically, psychologically, politically made known by or as gender; truth, lies, self-expression, authenticity, artifice, etc.) that comes with the production of any image, or with making art, let’s say.