Katharina Swoboda













2 channel video installation, hd, 9:30min, colour, sound, 2016

camera: leopold leskovar, performance: annika scharm, sound: sara pinheiro, katharina swoboda


Shasta is a video work about the fictional character „Shasta“ from Thomas Pynchon´s novel „Inherent Vice“ from 2009.  In the book, Shasta is the ex-girlfriend of the protagonist Larry „Doc“ Sportello. And his love for her is the motivation for Doc´s action throughout the book.  The book starts with Shasta´s unexpected appearance at Doc´s place, and her asking Doc to find her lover Mickey Wolfmann. Shortly after that, also Shasta disappeared and Doc is now looking for both of them. Although Shasta is „absent“ during long periods of the book, she is very present in Doc´s thoughts: There are his memories and exchanges with other people about Shasta. There are objects in Doc´s experience, like a post card, which Shasta sent from a tropical island.


What could Shasta have done during her absence in the story? The book suggests, that Shasta was on board of the „Golden Fang“. It is a big, very bad ship from a drug cartel. Isn´t the boat the symbol for yearning? And – isn´t yearning for somebody the biggest motivation? In my work, I identify myself and my position as a video maker with Doc´s motivation to find somebody or something. And Shasta becomes the elusive „McGuffin“ and at the same time a projection (screen) in my own work.



On the search of ... Thomas Pynchon. Curated by Lennard Dost. Nieuwe Vide, Haarlem, NL, 2016

Painthink. Theaterwerkstätten, Arsenal, Vienna, 2016

RGB, Galerie Klubovna, Brno CZ, 2016



Nieuwe Vide‘s Journal of Humanity. Ytje Veenstra, Lennard Dost (ed.).  Haarlem, NL, 2016


supported by:

Nieuwe Vide art space, Haarlem.

Project funding. Austrian Federal Chancellery [BKA]



Painthink, Vienna 2016





On the search of Thomas Pynchon. Nieuwe Vide, 2016