The works comprising the program “Artificial Ghosts” are concerned with issues pertaining to truth versus fiction, reality versus virtuality, individualism versus collectivity. They use materials extracted from the digital and virtual world—e.g. YouTube videos, computer animation, design software—to confront the declining association between images and the reality they purport to represent. What emotional validity does the image possess in the post-truth era? How does excessive information in the digital world spawn fears and anxieties in the real world? What is the role of ghosts and conspiracy theories in such a reality?
DateSaturday, March 28th
Spirit in the Wheels
Artist Ronnie Karfiol’s video work, Spirit in the Wheels, uses a model of Fiat’s shut-down engine plant in the Italian city of Turin to address the link between labor, technology, and the spirits of the past which haunt the abandoned factory. The verse “the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels,” from the Vision of the Chariot (Merkabah) in the Book of Ezekiel (1:20), is the first description in history of a vehicle that moves by itself, much like today’s self-driving cars. Karfiol ties the biblical depiction with the decline of the Western car industry, the emblem of industrialization processes in the 20th century. She focuses on the idea that the workers’ labor in the Industrial era was embodied in the machines they manufactured, the same machines that made their work redundant, rendering their presence ghost-like. The combination of computer-based aesthetics and the mythical narrative underlying the perception of new technology, as manifested in the text, generates a virtual and emotional space in which the living and the dead co-exist.
The work will premiere at Doc/Art.
Watching the Pain of Others
French artist Chloé Galibert-Laîné’s work traces another work: Penny Lane’s documentary The Pain of Others. By means of a personal video diary the artist attempts to lend meaning to the film which fascinates her, finding herself plunging into a world of cyber conspiracies, YouTubers, rumors, and fabrications. The film was produced as part of the artist’s doctoral research project about “Netnographic Cinema.” It premiered at the Museum of the Moving Image, New York, and was selected by Sight and Sound magazine as one of the Best Video Essays of 2018.
Ismaël Joffroy Chandoutis
Young filmmaker Ismaël Joffroy Chandoutis’s disturbing film addresses a phenomenon common among gamers in the United States: cyber harassment as part of which one gamer learns the personal details of another, makes a call to the police with a bogus story, which sends out a SWAT team to burst into the second gamer’s house (who is being swatted). Since all online players see one another during the game, the violent raid is viewed by the other gamers streamed live, entirely subverting the differentiation between the virtual game and actual reality. In addition to testimonies by the victims of such raids, the film also consists of animated excerpts that draw on the aesthetics of video games, creating a threatening world teeming with beauty.
The film premiered at the International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA).