ALEXA on MANIFESTO video installation

MANIFESTO is the latest video project by artist Julian Rosefeldt and his cinematographer Christoph Krauss BVK; a 12-channel art installation, it is by far the most ambitious of their many collaborations. Needing a reliable, rock-solid camera kit for the hectic shoot, Krauss chose to capture this unusual project with ALEXA XT Plus and ALEXA Plus cameras.

Drawing on the writings of Futurist, Dadaist, Surrealist and Fluxus artists, among others, the Berlin-based artist Julian Rosefeldt has edited and compiled a collage of historic artists’ manifestos, to question whether they still ring true in the 21st century. Embodied by actress Cate Blanchett, who spoke, sometimes whispered or delivered the texts sermon-like, the manifestos appear to take on lives of their own. Blanchett’s on-screen personas include a choreographer, teacher and newscaster, and she is unrecognizable as a homeless man; her performances are projected onto 12 screens, 13 if the introduction is included. “Cate was truly a gift and a pleasure to work with, as she is extremely versatile,” says Krauss.

MANIFESTO is the twelfth project on which Rosefeldt and Krauss have worked together. In order to query the role of artists in the 21st century, Rosefeldt takes viewers into almost surreal theatrical realms to explore dislocation, alienation and social disruption. In one enactment, the severity of Blanchett’s costume and choreographer’s searing gaze contrasts sharply with the almost gaudy-looking, sparkling costumes of her dancers. Her shouted monologue, representative of the famous Fluxus Manifesto by George Maciunas, becomes like a military drill as the students dance across the stage of Berlin’s Friedrichstadt Palast. “Purge the world of dead art, imitation, artificial art, abstract art, illusionistic art, mathematical art,” she commands. “Promote a revolutionary flood and tide in art. Promote living art, anti-art.”

Yet another scene, representative of Suprematism, shows her as a scientist in an acoustic clean room and other research laboratories. At one point, citing Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematist Manifesto, she declares: “Objects have vanished like smoke; I have destroyed the ring of the horizon and got out of the circle of objects; this accursed horizon ring that has imprisoned the artist and leads him away from the aim of destruction.”

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