Art Is What Makes Life More Interesting Than Art

What happens when art does not aspire to represent an event but instead tries to be at one with an event, to be contemporary with whatever is occurring? Under what conditions does art lose its place and its role in order to live the temporality of an event? What happens when art achieves presentation rather than representation? These films neither answer nor ignore these questions; instead, they disperse them, through innumerable pathways that never quite manage to converge.

In Bani Abidi's film Shan Pipe Band Learns the Star Spangled Banner, musicians practice the American anthem in a back room in Lahore. In doing so, they inadvertently deconstruct its overbearing nationalism. Richard Couzins' Meat offers an object lesson in slapstick structuralism and the noise of art. By contrast, Amar Kanwar's film To Remember proposes a sombre meditation on the aftermath of a massacre and Philippe Welsh's film The Drift evokes a passage across and between the dimensions of time, space and water. In Zhou Hong Xiang's epic The Red Flag Flies, teenagers reenact Madame Mao's model worker opera for contemporary Communist Capitalism. Phillipe Reichenheim's Civilization Virus reveals naked male visitors, inquisitive ethnographers, walking through a snowbound city, inspecting the behavioural responses of white German crowds at winter time.

The Otolith Group, Programme Notes, Art is what makes Life more interesting than Art: The Artists Cinema, Frieze Art Fair, 12 - 15 October 2006.

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