≤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.
2010, HD VIDEO, 16/9, 6'26''
The video “Hitchcock presents” depicts in black and white images each of the words utilized, 50 years earlier, by Alfred Hitchcock in the trailer for the thriller “Psycho” (1960). collectif_fact makes subtle use of the techniques of Hitchcock’s language - treatment of light, powerful soundtrack, tracking shots, close-ups of apparently trivial details, clever choice of scenery - so that the style is always in harmony with that of the “master of suspense”. In a triple “mise en abîme”, three different places, separated in time and space, become entangled: Hitchcock describes verbally the house that is the scene of the crime in “Psycho”, but collectif_fact switches the scene of the crime to La Maison Blanche (The White House) built by Le Corbusier in La Chaux-de-Fonds; finally, in the exhibition, various details (wallpaper, a photo, a drawing) evoke the bedroom of Le Corbusier’s Maison, the bedroom that is meant to represent that of the mother in Hitchcock’s film. There may be another link, too: Hitchcock, Norman Bates in the film, and Le Corbusier all seem to have had complex relationships with their mothers.
2004, SD VIDEO, 4/3, 4'57''
The cinema is already present in “Expanded Play Time” (2004), but the treatment of the image is strongly influenced by the aesthetic of the digital arts. With reference to the process used by Jacques Tati in “Play Time” (1967) - in which the Economic Airlines waiting rooms in Paris, Rome, Hamburg and New York are identical - a glass-walled waiting room, furnished in 1960s style, is the setting for the main scene. The soundtrack of the original film plays constantly, but the sequence shots are cut into isolated segments, which, when jumbled and juxtaposed, show a new, three-dimensional space. The film becomes the building block for a new, virtual waiting room, which becomes the glass cage in which Jacques Tati seems to be enclosed.
The video is in some ways a transition between the cinematographic world of the more recent works and the questions concerning urbanism and architecture addressed in the earlier pieces.
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.