Thuistezien 239 — 18.04.2021

Et al.
Non-existent in the everyday world?

In 2015, West hosted the New Zealand-based artist collective et al. together with the composer Samuel Holloway in the exhibition ‘For The Common Good’. For this project, et al. presented works functioning as active archives of societal events where the audience would be met with a space that blurred the lines between historical and invented societies. One of the works shown was ‘Film 1’. A movie which is the first part of two movies that constitute ‘Films non-existent in the everyday world?’

‘Film 1 (2009-2015)’ is a 15 minute long 16 mm. film, transferred from celluloid to video that presents itself as the classic motif of an overhead projector-assisted lecture. Without any characters, the black shadows of a rowing pencil takes the role of an active denominator in the video’s assumed story progression. By drawing imaginary lines while combining diagrammatic models with photographic aerial views, the pencil directs the viewer’s attention and generates a certain narrative in the otherwise static flow of images. The traditional sense of scale is invalidated as the proportions of the normally small pencil is blown up to hover over the aerial views, often depicting Israel and Palestine. While these photographs are already embedded in a certain political discourse about borders which strengthens the impact of the image by either highlighting its visual shapes, or adding diagrammatic written captions. At times, the connections created by the pencil is almost absurd, but these connections nonetheless form a poetic language, alarmingly calm. It furthermore demonstrates how humans easily can reshape any territory or history. The film is accompanied by sound created by Ivan Mršic. Momentarily, the sound reminds one of a radio transmitter signal but it also condenses the raw sound of everyday noise, perhaps as an attempt to remind the viewer that the reality of the video, indeed, is constructed.

Within the exhibition of West, where the concept of ideological occupation is invalidated through displacement, hypocrisy and surveillance, ‘Film 1’ could be seen as well fitting as a visually simple yet playful and thought provoking addition to this discourse.

Text: Rosa Zangenberg