16 mm HD transfer
Gonda is a 16mm film experimenting in cinematic and linguistic registers through a polyphonic monologue. The films screenplay is written by Maria Fusco and commissioned by Film London.
Gonda is informed by Ayn Rand’s 1934 play ‘Ideal.’ In the play’s script, controversial Russian-American writer and philosopher Rand lays out her philosophical system of ‘Objectivism’ with its stubbornly anti-altruistic and individualistic position. As a critical counter to Rand’s position, Gonda creates kaleidoscopic printed spaces in which image and text shift roles to affect presupposed ideals of identity and existence. Noting how the cinematic image actually gazes back on us, Mayer utilises highly stylised and precisely composed imagery, featuring Dutch transgender model Valentijn de Hingh.
The screenplay was developed from a series of interdisciplinary workshops, which included academics, curators, critics, and writers, and centred on the possibilities of writing through or by, rather than about Rand’s play. Gonda’s text cannibalizes new writing and transcribed workshop material together with five letter-based passages from ‘Ideal.’ With a chorus of voices pronouncing the personal pronoun “I” and chanting aloud the accompanying grammar of “comma, dash, full stop,” Gonda is a film of voices. These sonic interventions serve to further unravel the unified notion of subjectivity central to Rand’s work, replacing it with a mutable entity more aligned with Donna Haraway’s conception of the self as a hybrid cyborg.