4 February 2009

Fondation Cartier: Terre Natale

Raymond Depardon and Paul Virilio's Terre Natale at Paris' Cartier Foundation is comprised entirely of film works. [What is the correct terminology for this? I am sure they are not made on real film but will continue with this term to describe moving image.] Being as I am very unfamiliar with film as a medium for art and also being uncertain and ever so slightly skeptical about its role and meaning in a gallery context, I experienced one of the most interesting and innovative exhibitions in a long time.

Innovative is a word that is thrown around too much these days, but the thing for me that makes Terre Natale truly innovative is that it was extremely beautiful, presented film in new modes and was in all ways highly informative; I was pleased visually and mentally and I learnt something.

Raymond Depardon presents two stunning examples of humanity. Both shown on a large screens, highly defined and in brilliant colours; they give a glimpse of ourselves at remove. The first, Hear Them Speak, is a series of interviews with people from cultures threatened by extinction or globalisation.

People from Chile, Bolivia, Ethiopia, France and Brazil speak in their own languages about the cultures, land and traditions which are falling apart around them. One certainly feels a tinge of remorse, yet this is not the dominant emotion as in many documentary-like explorations of obscure cultures. The overriding feeling is empathy: we are all scared of losing family, home, stability, this is an inter-world fear.

Depardon further highlights our unity in his second work, "Around the world in 14 days", where he shows us silent shots of Washington, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Tokyo, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore and Cape Town. These almost voyeuristic glimpses of city life are poignant in that they are so familiar; waiting at traffic lights, smoking a cigarette outside a shop, parking a car. We've all done it before, probably with seemingly as little thought as Depardon's subjects, who appear blissfully unaware of the camera. It is comforting yet somehow unnerving.

Paul Virilio's contribution to the exhibition is equally compelling. He employs one of the cleverest modes of depicting film I've ever seen by suspending forty-two wide-screen Macintosh computers upside-down from the ceiling like bats. They hang in a grid and the footage is choreographed in such a way that it seems to fly across the screens, simultaneously, systematically on all or none or a mixture, and then suddenly at different times, irregularly. The effect is mesmerising and slightly bewildering, somewhat like the news, photographs and documentaries about migration which are screened.

Paul Virilio's GALLERY 1:
Virilio's second part is an amazing visualisation of global migration in graph- and stat- form. It's so clever and surprisingly easy to follow, plus it's actually kind of funny. Virilio has recruited Diller Scofidio + Renfro, a studio that fuses architecture with the visual and performing arts, to create an almost 360-degree visual experience of migration, economy and climate change records and projections. Sounds kind of dull and done but it's one of the coolest things I've seen since An Inconvenient Truth, and possibly more effective. It is an astounding piece of work to experience in a gallery context. [We need to get this out there, Paul!]

An exhibiton containing solely film: a balanced, varied, beautiful, intriguing, informative exhibiton. It felt so new, so exciting, so relevant, so needed, and I felt quite buoyant coming out of it. I'm not sure exactly why. It may have been the fresh winter air outside the beautiful Cartier Foundation building on boulevard Raspail, or it may have been the feeling that even though I hadn't heard all good for the world and its inhabitants' future, I'd heard something. I learnt something. And it was beautiful.

Outside Fondation Cartier:
The exhibition runs until March 15, 2009. First image from fondation.cartier.com, others by Eleanor Weber.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elanor you need to enter the Vogue Talent Contest, 2009. go to vogue.com..
i think you will win!
love justin

The Vogue Talent Contest, 2009
05 February 2009, 12:00PM
FOR over 60 years, the Vogue Talent Contest for Young Writers has been one of the UK's most prestigious writing awards. Many established journalists started their careers after entering the contest, and recent winners have gone on to become successful poets, playwrights, authors and members of Vogue's staff. So, what are we looking for in a young writer? Wit, creativity, originality and stylish writing. What's the prize? £1,000, plus a month's paid work experience at Vogue, with £500 for the runner-up. If you are under 25 and would like to enter this year, read on...
How to enter:
You must complete both sections.
1.Write about a personal memory. This could be a memory of an extraordinary event, place or person, or simply something that resonated deeply (800 words maximum);
2.Write a short feature article - either a contemporary arts review, a fashion trend piece or a piece of social observation (800 words maximum).
Accompanying your entry should be a passport-sized photograph of yourself, attached to a sheet of paper listing your name, permanent address, telephone number, date of birth and occupation. The judging panel will include Vogue's editor Alexandra Shulman, senior members of the magazine's staff, guest editors and writers. Finalists will be invited to a lunch at Vogue with the judges, after which the winner will be decided.
Closing Date: April 14, 2009
Conditions of Entry
1. Entrants should not have reached their 25th birthday by January 1, 2009. 2. Entries should be typed on one side of the paper only, and sent to Vogue Talent Contest, Vogue House, Hanover Square, London W1S 1JU, to arrive no later than the closing date. 3. Copyright of the entries belongs to The Conde Nast Publications, Ltd and scripts will not be returned. 4. The competition results will be announced in the October 2009 issue of Vogue. 5. In the event of a tie, the prize money will be shared. 6. The editor's decision is final.

05 February, 2009 15:48  
Blogger ..... said...

very interestin post !! so i guess u'r a french lady !!

07 February, 2009 23:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's more info on Terre Natale's map room:

19 February, 2009 19:27  

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