You made me love you

(2005) 4 minutes, video

Twenty-one dancers play a game of cat and mouse with an unpredictable camera. Losing contact can be traumatic.


 In the works of Miranda Pennell, minor everyday activities are transformed into fascinating choreographies. In fact, she was not trained as a film maker or audiovisual artist, but rather as a dancer. She usually points her camera at ‘ordinary’ people in their own habitat and in this way analyses the various facets and meanings of movement. In ‘You Made Me Love You’, the rules of the game are simple; a camera moves unexpectedly, quickly or slowly, backwards and forwards along a rail. A troupe of ballet dancers strives to make or keep eye contact with the camera. Only a few faces are continually on screen. Sometimes other dancers manage to steal the limelight for a moment. The rapid footwork, which sometimes can hardly keep up with the camera, is the only audible sound. A true struggle for attention is taking place on the dance floor. Because woe betide you if you end up off screen and sink into oblivion! With ‘You Made Me Love You’, this artist presents us with an allegory on the present-day fixation on cameras and stardom.
Nanda Jansen, Netherlands Media Art Institute

On the one hand this is like looking at a group of aliens who have never seen anything like the camera (or you) before. The concentration of the faces on what is before them takes away their self-consciousness, and like a series of Thomas Ruff portraits they have an unsettling air of insouciance. But ultimately, the thought one is drawn to, and the allegory the title suggests, concern the contemporary obsession with becoming visible through some sort of brush with celebrity, however brief, demeaning or meaningless that might be.
Dr Stephen Riley, AN, review from the Artsway open 2006,


They are asked to form a queue facing the camera (a very English idea). As with a stationary queue in which people start getting restless, those at the back try to gain a view of the counter, i.e. camera. But the picture is mostly filled by the four or five faces that are nearest to the camera, which block the view of the others. However, the camera does not allow the situation to settle; mounted on rails, it moves, sometimes slowly, then very rapidly, and always surprisingly, to the left or the right. The queue has to follow, which means that the faces that have just filled the picture suddenly disappear, allowing the deeper levels of staging, the dancers who are further away, to be seen. This video is thus shaped by a “constant line”, a rigid concept which, through its realisation, creates a lot of movement, overlapping, and surprising revelations. Meanwhile within the sound track moments of tense calm alternate with the patter of many bare feet, a noise that is all the more confusing because we never see the feet in the picture. What these three-and-a-half minutes allow us to see instead is a wealth of strangely touching portraits: twenty-one people “making love to the camera”.
Dirk Schaefer from ‘Choreographies for the Camera’, essay for Oberahausen Kurzfilmtage catalogue 2006 ‘Miranda Pennell in Profile’.