Pipilotti Rist's I'm a Victim of This Song: The Rupture of Masculine (Swiss) Neutrality
In her 1995 video I'm a Victim of This Song, Swiss contemporary video and installation artist Pipilotti Rist re-situates the absolute neutrality of Swissness, a neutrality naturalized as absolute by its routinized, political iconography correlating Switzerland's association with the Alps with a Rousseauian notion of natural, organic unity and identity. Popular imagination and normative rhetoric understands Switzerland as a coherent nation founded on its monumental, breathtaking, natural (non-man-made) thus neutral geography, which is accepted as giving Switzerland a national character of neutrality despite her pronounced cultural differences, accentuated by geographical differences, between its Swiss German, French, and Italian, and Romansch constituencies, and the regions where each group tends to be demographically dominant. In challenging the putative absolute neutrality of Swiss national identity, Rist also challenges the association of political identity with an exclusively male solidarity, and so the effacement of gender difference in what Lacan would call a purely phallic signifying economy, as embodied by the Swiss founding myth of the Eidgenossen. Rist situates the feminine as an equitable alternative to systems, arguably those of Europe and Western patriarchal discourse. Rist's video reassesses Freudian hysteria, the canonical treatment of feminine neurosis, and evokes the Platonic chora, a connection to a pre-Oedipal Ur-state of the psyche.