Another man talks about fantastic creatures, speaking cars, mobile houses that roam across continents or a cliff moving from one continent to the next. Another has critical thoughts about civilisation and imagines a life without cars and telephones. The metaphorical images of a life in which there no longer seems to be a difference between humans, animals and things also include humorous science-fiction references to media such as telepathy and the speed of light. However, the speakers also have serious thoughts about already existing as well as imagined technologies. The thus resulting narration is not linear. However, this is exactly what the work intends to do – to irritate the expectations and associations of western viewers. The video seems to open up space for reflection in the gap between these discrepant ways of life. The negotiations on climate change are exactly about this adjustment of lifestyles to which Neil Beloufa's video refers.
Where do our ideas of how the future will look come from? Are the scenes about mysticism or science fiction? Is a doctor or a fictional person sitting in the examination room? Three bright floodlights diffusely illuminate a stadium. By glowing so closely next to each other, the three circles of light suggest signals of a UFO. Some sounds are pierced by cheeping noises as if simulating an extraterrestrial transmission, as if the speakers were being recorded for an extraterrestrial audience. Or is the western viewer the alien in this context? None of the actors in Neil Beloufa’s video believes in the postmodern motto “everything is possible” anymore. But still their ideas of the future are influenced by exactly this motto.
So what is the final punch line of this tale? The last shot, a ride across the Niger bridge Les Martyrs with its urban traffic, presents the bridge as the connection between imagination and reality. Then the neon writing of the oldest European luxury hotel chain appears whose largest shareholder is the king of Thailand.
On the other side of life, where humans, animals and things all are equal, the Kempinski stands as the manifestation of a decadent, outdated life style – at least, the video protagonists do not imagine a future full of luxury. In western industrial countries, however, these achievements are only discussed under the negative aspect of having to give up some of this luxury.
works as a freelance author and curator in Berlin
Translation: Nicola Mahoney
Copyright: Goethe-Institut e. V. 2009