Video/ DV-Pal / colour/sound / 3:53 min. (2006)
Clara S. Rueprich’s video ‚condition M‘, documents a training exercise with a keeper and his hunting dogs. A trail of meat lies outside the dogs’ kennels. Marked with an ‚M‘ on their flanks, the hounds waiting hungrily inside can see the meat and become excited and agitated in their wait, but the keeper prevents them from leaving. When finally allowed to leave, the keeper cracks his whip and the dogs obediently hold back from devouring the meat. The dogs are incredibly patient, and when they are allowed to feed, they do so with great energy and delight. This remarkable film, shot from a single viewpoint, explores the close relationship between the keeper and dogs / human and animal, but also raises certain ethical questions about the mechanisms of control used to restrain these hounds which are bred to seek, hunt and kill.
Condition M captures a pack of hounds being shown meat, initially prevented from eating, then being allowed to feed by their keeper. These dogs have been fully trained, thus each bears a branded M on their flank, yet the rules of the interaction between keeper and dogs seem paradoxical. The interaction is not modelled on a human relationship but the dynamics of animal packs; the dogs respond to the control, generosity and cruelty of their master in a theatrical exchange that is both impressive and disconcerting.