Sam Samore by Hou Hanru


By Hou Hanru

This essay was originally published in in Sam Samore: Pathological Tales/Schizophrenic Stories (Luxembourg: Casino Luxembourg, Forum d’art contemporary a.s.b.l., 2000).

Sam Samore’s work has been profoundly influenced and informed by the culture of experimental cinema. The critical insights and practices of André Bazin, Alfred Hitchcock, Andy Warhol and Chris Marker, among many others, have become the very starting point for his adventure of narrative deconstruc- tion. In the meantime, classical mythology, fables and modern experimental novels, from Homer to Alain Robbe-Grillet via James Joyce, are also the major references for his narrative invention. These historic experiences with the power of uncertainty, complexity and rebellious views on the real have provided Sam Samore with invaluable inspirations.

Emerging from the turbulent avant-garde tradition of the 1970s, Sam Samore has relocated his work in the very tension between the heroic confrontation with social reality and the critical but joyful ventures into the imaginary beyond the immediate real. How- ever, his choice is by no means a transcendental one. Instead, he merges himself into the endlessly entangling struggle with the existential paradox (rather than contradiction – as he is aware of) of the real itself. In his work, there is no longer the truly real, nor the genuinely fictional. What has been generated out of this struggle is a “black hole in reality”, to use Slavoj Zizek’s terms.

¹ This is an empty black screen set in the realm of the real to be projected upon with our fantasies. His work, whether using photography or text, functions like a Hitchcockian McGuffin, “the secret propelling the story” ² of the real…



¹. See Slavoj Zizek, Looking Awry, The MIT Press, 1991, pp. 8-12.
². ibid. p. 100