Thursday, February 12, 2009

Raymond Depardon + Paul Virilio

On view at the Fondation Cartier, is an exhibition titled "Terre Natale," or Native Land and features a collaboration of sorts between French photographer Depardon and French architectural theorist and sometimes architect, Paul Virilio. The whole thing is very National Geographic and better suited for a Museum of Sciene or Man than a site of contemporary art. The exhibition brings together a slice of their grand vision on the status of man in the world, particularly migration and displacement through economic and environmental reasons, and the disappearance of native peoples.

On the Depardon side we have two non -narrative portrait-films: one is titled "Hear Them Speak," and shows a series of interviews with people from fading populations around the world who discuss, more or less, the status of their people and lands. There are nine different people: two from Chile, Bolivia, France, Brazil and one from Ethiopia. It is beautiful and tragic, or as the description states, "poetic and political." It also seems a little dated and made-for-TV, in 1979. His other films is called "Around the world in 14 days," and shows silent streaming shots of landscapes and people in several international cities. huh? It was like watching bad photographs of a friend's vacation. Pure concept no proposition.

In the basement is the installation by Virilio with the help of architects Diller, Scofido & Renfro, Laura Kurgan, visual artist and sound designer, Ben Rubin and statistician, Mark Hansen. You'd think with this power group we might experience something new, witness new ideas or propositions, but instead what we get is Paul Virilio on video walking on a street in Paris expounding his theories of globalization, about 50 TV screens spread in rows and suspended from the ceiling showing clips from news and nature shows, and in the final room there is a video that shows statistics and their graphic counterparts about such subjects as Population Shifts, Natural Disasters, Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, Political Refugees and Forced Migration, and Remittances: Sending money home. The presentation was all very star trek-y with images moving along the concave wall, including an image of the earth from space that seemed to pass through in between each subject. It was relevant and current information, albeit nothing that seemed very revealing beyond the fact that in 100+ years the earth is fu**ed. Thanks: I think I see that whenever I read the news. I would like to know what these 'genius minds' might propose to do about it-even if far fetched. Give me something beyond what I can google.

It is hard to know how to sum it all up. Disappointing? Flatulent? Lots of regurgatated information stuffed into a $50,000 or more budget? I don't know but I feel like the money could have been better spent by directly giving it to the fading populations and lands then to these installations. On view through March 15th.


Anonymous said...

well said... this kinda crap bugs me too. did I introduce you to Beirut?

pilar chapin said...

no, i learned about them on my own. they are great.