Field Report on Francis Alÿs: A Story of Deception

Francis Alÿs: A Story of Deception

My first reaction to the exhibit was that all of the videos and art were different. So different in fact that they seemed like they could have all been made by different artists. Aside from that, within the exhibition itself, I was most interested with three of the video pieces Rehearsal 1, Politics of Rehearsal, and Cuentos Patrioticos. (These are the same three pieces that Kenneth was interested in).

Alÿs had some very interesting things to say about rehearsal and modernity. His argument was that rehearsal is exactly what the politics of modernity are. That speeches formulated on the promise of development by our political leaders are one of the characteristics of this perpetual rehearsal, because change and equality never come. He also says “all history is a rehearsal.” I suppose it is in this spirit that these three videos become connected as they all take into account political histories through repetition and temporality. All of the videos have elements of repetition, and this repetition is reflecting what Alÿs sees to be many histories of repetition. However, though the repetition within the videos there emerges instances of difference. The space within the viewing experience then takes this striated history and puts it into a smooth space.  I certainly found these pieces to be effective, because not only did they show an amazing example of various stories of deception, they did it in a way unexpected. They were able to take very complicated and problematic aspects of modernity, and offer them anew.

– Stephanie

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