Identical (?) Twins
For A Season Outside, Amar Kanwar travelled to Wagah, the sole larger border post between the two enemy states of Pakistan and India. In a battle of symbolisms elite soldiers from each side march up and down in elaborate fantasy uniforms, execute wild goose-step choreographies and celebrate each changing of the guard with much encouragements being shouted out loud from both sides. An overdose of sovereign gestures causes the militaristic performance to take on absurd qualities. Amar Kanwar confronts the images of symbolic violence with scenes of real aggression in the everyday life of both countries and shows that it is particularly the manic demarcation that uncannily leads both sides to resemble each other.
The Israeli artist Omer Fast produced the piece Continuity for dOCUMENTA (13) and it is now being shown in Halle for the first time. Brilliantly cast with André Hennicke and Iris Böhm, the Berlin-based film artist blends the real and the fictional in this contemporary revenant story about a young returnee from Afghanistan and employs in the process some well-calculated borrowings from horror films and melodramas in order to make the strain resulting from the trauma of war visible and tangible. War does not appear as a pompous spectacle in Fast’s film but rather as a concealed, almost private worst case scenario that completely catapults its victims out of their previous lives, leaving them confused and disoriented while everyday German life goes on as if nothing had happened.
A Season Outside, Amar Kanwar, IN 1997, 30 min
Continuity, Omer Fast, DE 2012, 41 min