Olaf Breuning: Home 3

We showed Olaf Breuning's Home (2005) in 2006 and his Home 2 (2007) last year. Now our audiences can complete the trilogy with Home 3: Homage to New York (2012).

Art Exhibition previously on at IMA - Institute of Modern Art in Fortitude Valley precinct, Queensland, Australia.
From Saturday 08 June 2013 to Saturday 27 July 2013

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Published by Institute of Modern Art on Monday 13 May 2013.
Contact the publisher.

Throughout these three half-hour videos, we are guided by an anonymous buffoon, played by Breuning’s actor pal (some say alter-ego) Brian Kerstetter. Alternately bipolar, delusional, egomaniacal, and clownish, Kerstetter has a penchant for face paint, fancy dress, masks, reptilian contact lenses, and politically-incorrect behaviour.

In Home, Kerstetter holed up in a room in the famous Madonna Inn, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and reimagined his life as a collage of film references and anecdotes. His fantasies took him to far-flung locations, such as Machu Picchu and the fake Venice in Las Vegas. In Home 2, he continued his global odyssey, visiting Japan, Papua New Guinea, Switzerland, and Ghana. In Ghana, he threw money—and the shirt of his back—to boys living on a rubbish tip, while railing against materialism. In New Guinea, he mocked the entertaining mud men. Everywhere, he patronised the natives while claiming to identify.

In Home 3 (2012), the chickens come home to roost, as Kerstetter guides us through his hometown (and Breuning’s adopted city) of New York. Visiting sites like Times Square, a wax museum, and Coney Island, Kerstetter tries to impress us (and everyone he meets) with his factoids, specious insights, witticisms, and pranks. He patrols fancy dining haunts, donning an Angry Bird costume to devour a steak at Balthazar. He enjoys a lapdance with two blonde girl strippers in a Hummer stretch limo, while a belligerent midget male stripper tries to join in. He attends a hip-hop party, cheats in the New York Marathon, and smokes dope in Central Park. As in previous installments, the travelogue is improvised Borat-style, with Kerstetter interacting on the fly with real-life bystanders—happily harassing a Buddhist monk, a taxi driver, sunbathers, Apple Store employees, and a bearded protestor who resembles Fidel Castro.

The cringe humour aside, Breuning’s Home trilogy is deeply melancholic. Kerstetter’s character’s exudes a sense of profound alienation before everyone he wants to connect with, including the viewer. It’s terribly funny, and terribly unfunny.

Home 3 was produced with a grant from Métamatic Research Initiative, Amsterdam. Olaf Breuning is represented by Metro Pictures, New York.