04.11.11 — 15.01.2012
OPENING: NOVEMBER 3RD AT 6PM
The upcoming exhibition at the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève presents the work of collectif_fact, a young artists’ collective based in Geneva and London, and winner of a grant from the City of Geneva in 2010 and a Swiss Art Award in 2011. collectif_fact ’s varied body of work focuses on two major themes: the visual structures of urbanism and advertising; and the universe of Hollywood cinema.
WORKS ON SHOW
A STORY LIKE NO OTHER
2011, HD VIDEO, 16/9, 8'50''
In “A Story like no Other”, the most recent video work, which is premiered at the Centre, the process of reconstructing a scenario from cinematographic fragments is taken even further than in the previous work, "Ways of Worldmaking" (2010). The script uses voice-overs gathered from some 50 trailers, including those for Hitchcock’s “Spellbound” (1945) and George Nolfi’s “Adjustment Bureau” (2011). Mysterious by design, in order not to give too much of the films away, the extracts are combined to tell the story of a man at the heart of a dangerous adventure.
FINSBURY, BLACKSTOCK ROAD, LONDON
2011, SERIES OF THREE PHOTOGRAPHS, INKJET PRINT
In collectif_fact’s cities, urban space and architecture are digitally modified, while retaining features that serve as clues to the original city’s identity. The series of photographs in “Finsbury” shows buildings whose ground floors – corresponding to the shop windows – have been virtually removed. All that is left, at pavement level, is a row of shop signs, which function as a frieze of adverts, typical of London urbanism. The transformation of the real image is more subtly crafted than in the earlier pieces, creating an effect of strangeness that is not immediately apparent.
WAYS OF WORLDMAKING
2010, HD VIDEO, 16/9, 15'30''
The exhibition takes its title from the film “Ways of Worldmaking”, which won a Grant of the City of Geneva in 2010 and a Swiss Art Award in 2011. The film begins in a completely empty cinema. Before a blank screen the actor Jesse Joe Walsh delivers a philosophical speech about the modern world and the meaning of life, distilling nothing less than a handbook for succeeding in life. Despite its convincing rhetoric and fluency, however, the speech is gradually worn down by the friction of its increasingly clashing and contradictory sentences. And no wonder, for although it seems coherent and compelling at first, it has been composed using extracts from monologues that feature in such films as “American History X”, “Blues Brothers”, “Monster”, “A Clockwork Orange”, “Kill Bill” and “Dr. Strangelove”. This film clearly shows collectif_fact’s preoccupation with the cinema, and its title suggests a possible way of interpreting the collective’s entire body of work, between digital arts and cinema.
2004, DOUBLE SCREENING, SD VIDEO, 4/3, 5'23''’
SOUNDTRACK BY JEAN-JACQUES DUCLAUX
The video installation “Circus” is based on digital photographs, taken on the place du Cirque in Geneva. Here the work of the computer is immediately visible, because the images have been broken up, misaligned and reassembled in a different way to give the impression of a city that is falling apart. In this virtual Geneva square, cars fly, road signs take off and garbage floats in the air like scoria fallen from the sky. The soundtrack also recreates the charged atmosphere of an urban space in motion. The city turns into a sort of giant model in detachable pieces, which, as in the game SimCity, we may put back together however we choose, and which reminds us that the discovery of a city is rarely linear.
2002, SD VIDEO, 4/3, 5'33''
“Datatown” presents a night-time tracking shot filmed from a car as it crosses Geneva. Only the roads, advertisements and road signs are lit, while the contours of the city remain in darkness, giving the impression of a virtual city as in some video games. Human beings appear only fleetingly, as black silhouettes, revealing, metonymically, the extremely codified way in which urban spaces and contemporary society function.
The exhibition ends with
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
2006, MODEL, MIXED MEDIA
The scenery used in the installation “On the road again” (2006) - also seen in the digital productions “Bubblecars” (2004) and “Reliefs” (2005) - is what links the two worlds of collectif_fact: the languages of the new media and the processes involved in writing for the cinema. The darkness that engulfs the visitor and the installation creates an unsettling atmosphere, suggesting that something sinister is about to or has recently happened. Already there is a reference to Hollywood as we think of “Lost Highway” (1997) by David Lynch.
Curators: Laura Györik Costas and Katya García-Antón