CPS – ¿The Rest is History?

Research, planning tool and masterplan for Manifesta 8, Murcia and Cartagena, 2010

Danilo Correale

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///Untitled _ “We Are Making History”

We are Making History is a three-channel video in which the main subject is a Chroma Key-equipped film studio.  Chroma  Key is one of the technologies used to produce virtual backgrounds, where subjects and objects are placed subsequently to the actual film shoot (in technical jargon this action is called “break-through”). The video console interprets the key color as “transparent”. The Chroma Key works as a “Tabula Rasa” in which everything can be recreated, and it is nowadays amongst the most widely used digital technologies to generate films low in narrative content but high special effects, enabling it to attract large crowds at the box office. The “green wall” is widely used by television newscasts, information programmes and everything that is generally defined broadcasting, the ease and speed with which subjects are placed in virtual environments has made it one of the most popular technologies currently available.
The total disappearance of any type of real perspective produces a collapse of the subject-object system, so any “representative” figure (actor) disappears gradually until it is dissolved, thus arriving to the annulment of any sort of element deriving from the real.
We Are Making History by breaking up the grammar through which the digital image is built piercing the plain and discovering the well-known trick behind the trick.
Potentially the viewers will not be made to face the artificial and reconstructed image but ‘the image for what it is’, in what is now perceived as the standard definition of digital cinema and in front of those critical steps, of the “camera plans” such as backstage or at least the productive rhetoric itself.
The long-takes that characterize the video retrace autoptically one of the reels of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope, a well-known film entirely shot with this particular technique which almost totally cancels the editing, surpassing the outdated discouse suggested since Ejzenstejn  about editing issues, in favor of the idea of how reality itself is no longer necessary to the narrative of any sort of story or documentation.

We Are Making History is the motto with which children played on the idea of historicizing the present during Obama’s candidacy for the recent elections, whilst “We Are Making History” could also be sarcastically intended as “actual construction” of their own reality.

We Are Making History elaborates on the three concepts identified by Baudrillard in  “Symbolic Exchange and Death” to describe  three key  historical periods:  pre-modernity, modernity and post-modernity.These three concepts invest an image with meaning on the basis of the so called “law of value”, thus we will have a first order of images called ‘counterfeition’, a second order named ‘production’ and a third order, namely, ‘simulation’. Baudrillard identifies in the third order the end of the classical meaning of reality: “this is the collapse of reality into hyperrealism, in the detailed reduplication of the real, possibly from another reproductive means, from medium to medium the real evaporates, it becomes real for real, fetishism of the lost object, no longer object of representation, but ecstasy of denial and of its own ritual extermination: hyperreal. ”

When the Lumière brothers screen their first short film, the impression of reality is so ‘new’ that when the train “arrives” spectators are terrified by the locomotive that appears to be dashing onto them. For the first time the fourth wall, that imaginary wall placed between the audience and the spectacle, is broken. That suspension between what is real and what is not ceases to be, in favour of an immersion into the fiction of the screen. Since then, the ability of cinema to create imaginary and fictitious spaces gradually dissipated, reaching the street-shot level that characterizes the Nouvelle Vague’s “cinema verité”.
In 1987, Zbigniew Rybczynski, a Polish video director, realizes Steps, last tribute to the era of analogue film-making. Using the Blue Screen /Chroma Key, the director combines characters from two different dimensions in the same space: photochemical black and white bodies of the residents of Odessa killed by soldiers from Ejzenstejn’s The Battleship Potëmkin and electronic, colored bodies of some “worthy” representatives of American society who, driven by morbid curiosity and unstoppable cynicism, shoot the scene from the within, with camcorders and cameras, creating a fatal short circuit in the representation, through which, for once, the device is explicitly revealed. by Barry Levinson’s 1997 film, Wag the Dog, attempts to cope with the issue of public opinion manipulation through media control, enslaved to power. To distract the media and the American public from a sex scandal that involves the president of the United States, his PR officers, with the help of producer Stanley Motss, stage a fake war with Albania. A reknown shot is one of a little girl running through the ruins caused by a non-existent war, rebuilt from scratch in the studio according to a perfected grammar.  Images created  in  post-production are in fact those responsible for effecting the collective imaginary in a sharp and epic manner. The fiction inherent in video and the medium itself become an instrument for the falsification of reality, a reality that faithfully reflects the image we have of it. Today, the Green Screen is all that remains of a reality made unreal. You effectively no longer need any geographically traceable location: the digital reconstruction becomes a detailed orchestration of an image, a faithful and perfect reconstruction of a landscape that one whishes to make others believe has been ‘shot from life’.

Danilo Correale



1982, Napoli, Italy. Lives and works in Napoli and Berlin.
According to Foucault, the legibility of historical archives is dependent on the partitions created by power. Danilo Correale¿s research focuses new attention on archives considered to be of minor importance, organically spreading little-known information in order to highlight the power structures that exist behind specific historical accounts. This is based on a circumstantial, easily explainable reconstruction of events, in which the artist collects the images produced and inspired by a historical account. The design and display of the final exhibition serves as a strategy through which the sequence of images can lose its storytelling quality, and again appear as a series of factual documents, sealed off from potential commercialisation by the mass media and, according to critic Matteo Lucchetti, “ready to resume their life as living matter in the service of memory.”

Written by cpsman8

April 6, 2010 at 4:36 pm

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