Mark Boulous • All That Is Solid Melts Into The Air (2008)

the most impressive video installation i have seen in a long time, currently on at STEDELIJK museum POSTCS amsterdam.

two large 16:9 screens facing eachother, a line of seating along one wall.

screen A: interviews with members of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) a guerilla group committed to the redistribution of wealth in their local communities, namely by the sabotage of ROYAL DUTCH SHELL oil wells on their land. mostly handheld shots, interviews, a threatening encounter with local hunter, a euphoric ‘miami vice’-like ride through the river with MEND warriors toting guns, wearing colourful woolen balaclavas encrusted with talismanic protectors.

screen B: scenes from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, traders screaming and selling, trading futures with hand gestures and noise, their own physical signifiers, coloured suits and flags, talismanic toys on their desks, interspersed with shots of the exchange, cold surfaces, the clean edges of capital, the ‘death from above’ of international trading, the detached forces that very directly change peoples lives around the world. mainly tripod shots, close-ups on abstract decimals.

groups of men, men fighting, trading, arguing, clusters of men on missions.

forcing the audience to see one or the other is a bold decision, the audience is on the equator looking left into the southern hemisphere or right into the north. i’m a sucker for these fuzzy binaries, this simple and powerful conceit to symmetry.

this work is at 16th SYDNEY biennale, go see it if you’re in sin city.

stedelijk museum interview with M.BOULOS