Dummy (produced for documenta X) is a short film on Betacam which played in the pedestrian underpass near Kassel’s central train station. It shows in a continuous loop, how a young man approaches a cigarette machine and deposits money in it. The machine jams and doesn’t spit out any cigarettes whereby the man begins to shake it, unsuccessfully. When all of that doesn’t help, he kicks the machine and leaves in frustration only to meet up with a junkie who is begging for money in the underpass. The man pushes the junkie aside, who then gets cocky and gives him a kick.
Friedl recruited a homeless man from Kassel’s Friedrichsplatz, and played the young man himself. Like the two main characters, the cigarette machine was also merely called in for the shooting. The symmetry between human and non-human actors is the structural moment of the work. The underpass is not Plato’s cave out of which ignorant actors must be led into the light of knowledge by a forgiving artist, but rather cinema. It is, in the end, the cigarette machine which intervenes because its program “money for goods” goes on strike.