Paula Muhr


Casanova has become a prototype of a irresistible seducer, chiefly owing to his autobiography. The Casanova myth is the result of cataloguing and rethorically organising memories of his amorous conquests, whether actual or fictional.

The work juxtaposes anonymous photographs from the 1960s, which illustrate Casanova’s famous double affair with C. C. and nun M. M., with the audio recording of fragments of Casanova’s original text translated into English. Photographs are appropriated from the book published in ex-Yugoslavia in 1970. There is no indication of their source, although it seems quite obvious that they are frames from a soft-porn film.

The recorded sound represents fragments of Casanova’s description of wooing and love-making read by my father as Casanova. He doesn’t speak English, so he neither understands the text he is reading, nor is able to accurately pronounce the words, making the text very difficult to understand for the audience. Casanova used language as a powerful tool of seduction. By employing speakers who do not understand the text, Casanova’s discource is being undermined.

The images from the book are re-framed and enlarged, which emphasises the printing raster. The accent is placed on overreacted gestures and face expressions. Presented as a digitalised slide show combined with the sound, they are now viewed as filmic medium, which was their original source. The audio track concentrates on the scenes of seduction, whereas visual material varies from kitschy romantic scenes to erotic ones. By montaging the visual and textual material and placing them in a new context, I investigate the ways in which perception and interpretation interconnect.