Three magnificent video works from the MAC’s collection selected by John Zeppetelli, Director and Chief Curator.
Isaac Julien’s work examines the role played by memory in constructing the identity and fate of the Black diaspora. By invoking various references—historical, literary, anthropological, philosophical—his works explore those social and political realities, and the power relations that determine them. True North presents a cinematic reimagining of the story of the first black man to reach the North Pole, Matthew Henson (1866–1955), and of his perilous journey.
Simon Starling’s video installation, Autoxylopyrocycloboros, is a four-hour-long voyage made in October 2006 on a small wooden steamboat fuelled with wood cut piece by piece from its own hull. It was born out of the particular history of Loch Long, the deepest finger of the Clyde Estuary and the birthplace of the steamship. One of the most picturesque corners of Scotland, Loch Long’s banks are also home to a now-infamous peace camp, a fluctuating community of protesters.
Der Lauf der Dinge—loosely translated as The Way Things Go—is a video exploration of the kinetic power of everyday objects by Swiss collective Fischli & Weiss. In a chain reaction punctuated by eruptions, spills, collisions and other “mini-catastrophes,” the alternating pattern of moments of anticipatory tension and explosive releases is captured by the continually moving camera. Freed from their customary functions, the objects seem to move autonomously, in a way reminiscent of the playful humour of the machines inspired by the drawings of Rube Goldberg (1883–1970). The laws of physics and the limits of materials are put into action reminding us of the delicate balance between the things around us.