Yo Adrian, I did it!

video installation
3:36 min,

3 channel, HD 1080p
Dolby Digital 3.1, German
Germany / Netherlands 2011

The work is supported by TENT Rotterdam

(For English translation, please find below as well a video with the used original scenes)


It is, as if Rocky lives through his (five film) live(s) all over again and résumés his fights in front of the mirror. Jan Bode performed a resigned, almost desperate drama of explanation, not about the fights in the boxing ring, but the fights that let him to the boxing ring. “I just gotta do what I gotta do. ” he states at the end of the first epilog. Rocky has a mission, a calling. He will have succeeded when he says: “Yo, Adrian, I did it!”

The video installation by Jan Bode is based on the film series Rocky Balboa (1976/79/82/85/ 90). Rocky is the main character. Jan Bode performs his character in the middle screen. Adrian Pennino Balboa, his wife, Apollo Creed in the role of his former rival, who is now his coach, as well as his challenger James “Clubber“ Lang talk insistently, sometimes simultaneously, to Rocky from the left and the right screen. Jan Bode plays the various roles and by doing so shows how much Rocky carries his own role as well as the other roles within himself. At the end of the fifth epilogue he has to realize that he is alone and will remain so? “Just you alone.”

The scenes Jan Bode chose are not a compressed summary of the films, but reflect the search for identity of the hero and his gender role as a man in modern society. The artist reflects on how the media stages this role and why an emancipated society approves of it. Is the role of the man as presented in the media up to date? It is long since a man was expected to be tough, competitive and able to put on a poker face. The new man should be a lot different. Or does he?

The characters argue with a militant commitment. It seems as if he prepares himself for something. At the same time, the internal dialog wears him out when he feels and admits that he is afraid, when he has to accept that he lost: “I‘m supposed to be a fighter.” But his self-complacency that shines through repeatedly makes us see the tragic and helplessness of his fight and proves him right. “We have to be right in the middle of the action. We can‘t change what we are. And all we can do is just go with what we are.”

What is this fight about? It is neither the materialistic or domestic success, nor the success with the public that Rocky tries to achieve and that defines and satisfies him. It is about assertiveness and an imaginary victory over himself that was full of efforts and pain. It is the triumph over an allegedly better man.

“But that don‘t change a thing. We‘re born with a killer instinct. That you can‘t just turn off and on like some radio. We have to be right in the middle of the action. Because we‘re the warriors.“

And there it is again: the man as a man is left to his own fate. And therefore the hamster wheel of self-justification keeps on spinning, just like the loop of this monolog, which blurs beginning and end and we loose track of where this will all end. Or do we? “Adrian, a lot of people don‘t have a choice. I do.”

(Text: Bernhard Balkenhol)


Rocky II
Written and directed by Sylvester Stallone
(© 1979 by Chartoff-Winkler Productions / United Artists)

Rocky III
Written and directed by Sylvester Stallone
(© 1982 by Chartoff-Winkler Productions / United Artists)

Rocky IV
Written and directed by Sylvester Stallone
(© 1985 by Chartoff-Winkler Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), United Artists)

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