When I went to Berlin for the Biennale last month, I happened to visit the exhibition “Giving Contours to Shadows” at the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (N.B.K.). The little catalogue that accompanies the project contains enlightening articles and explanations. The curators Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung and Elena Agudio, ponder about History, and the privilege of those who write it.As stated in their introduction “It is common knowledge that history, as concrete as it may be portrayed in history books, and the privilege to write history is one of the most prestigious chalices, earned or seized by any victor or person in power. History thus must be seen and appreciated only through the prism of he/she who wrote it, as the facts in history are usually rather subjective than objective, and the definition of the ‘truth’ in any historical context is to be treated with some caution.” I appreciated the sophisticated selection of the works presented at the N.B.K. Among them, two videos dealing with geopolitical issues related to the contemporary world and ably defining our point in history, perfectly match with the project “Virtual vs. Real” which is being showcased on the online platform www.radicate.eu.
They both managed to capture my attention thanks to their way of being direct, sometimes even disturbing, in exposing the bare reality of our world. I am referring to the videos “The Speeches Series. A Video Trilogy” (2012-2013) by Bouchra Khalili and “World Domination” (2012) by Neïl Beloufa. “The Speeches Series” shows people talking about themselves and their life experiences within this increasingly fluid world. Shot in different areas of the world, Genoa (Italy), New York, and Paris, the people give subjective visions on the political and economic realities they happen to be in. In particular, they focus on the most recurring concerns characterizing, globally, our historical period: issues regarding citizenship, belonging, nationalism, immigration, clandestine lives, and labor. The other work is “World Domination” by Beloufa. Here non-professional actors play the roles of President, Ministry of Internal Affairs, military leaders, etc. of imaginary countries. They are asked to discuss realistic geopolitical problems and find possible solutions. By watching the video, we recognize the roles of politicians in times of crisis where the solution to unemployment, overpopulation, economic and financial struggles, etc. would always seem to be war. (TC)
An excerpt from”La domination du Monde” by Neïl Beloufa
A conversation with Neïl Beloufa