Twin Picks: How to Become a Fossil

11.03.2022 | Blog | BY:

A Goodbye Letter, A Love Call, A Wakeup Song was the title of the 2021 Biennale de l’Image en Mouvement, curated by the collective DIS and director Andrea Bellini. Envisaged as a pilot season of myriad different broadcasts that aimed to interrupt the established order of the day, the exhibition was staged in a labyrinth of set-like screening rooms, over the three floors of the Centre d’Art Contemporain in Geneva. This stellar list of artists alongside DIS included Mandy Harris Williams, Simon Fujiwara, Camille Henrot and TELFAR.

It’s for this Biennale that DIS created their first feature film, Everything But The World, which pertinently explores the potential of debunking and deconstructing information and narrative. This feature film is now the key piece in their current exhibition How to Become A Fossil. Billed as a non-linear natural history show, it included an alt-star studded cast including Leila Weinraub, Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch, Brontez Purnell and a soundtrack by Fatima Al Qadiri. The film veers from a skit on how to become a fossil to a sexed-up guide lead a tour of an Italian castle, inspired by Silvia Federici’s Caliban and the Witch.

Alongside DIS in the Biennale, Mandy Harris Williams beckoned “Glamourise the intellectual” in her work Couture Critiques. Installed in a classroom scene, complete with wooden table and chairs, the video takes the form of an extended Instagram-inspired photoshoot, interspersed with clips of Edward Said speeches and José Esteban Muñoz excerpts. With a direct yet astute humour, Harris Williams problematizes the ways that we receive information through layers of media and performativity, questioning how hierarchies are created to legitimize different forms of knowledge. Speaking directly to the camera, she pronounces that through love, care and eroticism we can embrace the full and subversive power of ideas collectively.

Identity and its many discontents were a recurring theme within the exhibition. In Santa Sangre, an eight song story of redemption and self acceptance, Sabrina Röthlisberger Belkacem challenges the notion of Swiss national perfectionism. Moving from one music video montage to the next, and interlaced with poetry by the artist, the work draws on mysticism and pop ritual. Hannah Black and Juliana Huxtable collaborated with And Or Forever to transform their 2019 performance Penumbra into an enthralling 3D visual. The work depicts a courtroom trial that pits humans against wildlife, interrogating the distinction between nature and culture and ultimately how social construct can limit our experience of reality.

Don’t miss a second chance to catch DIS.

How to Become a Fossil by Dis is on at Secession March 4 – June 12, 2022


Guest review: Anna Corrigan

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