26 September 2011

Illuminations and observations (part two)

The Wheel of Fortune, Christian Boltanski
from Chance at the French Pavilion, Venice Bienalle 2011
And so on to the Biennale...

First off let's start with something that I really liked, The Wheel of Fortune by Christian Boltanski, part of his Chance installation at the French pavilion in the Giardini.

As you enter the pavilion you are immediately engulfed by what at first appears to be a massive newspaper printing press. As you walk through its labyrinthine structure, you realise that what is running through the rollers is not newsprint, but hundreds of photos of babies. There are two adjacent rooms with giant countdown clocks, and a fourth with large video screens that invites you to play a mix-and-match roulette with random photo segments of babies and old folks that I'm sure is saying something about life and death and multiculturalism, but the fun for me here was just in standing in the midst of the massive machine with photos clattering above and around you at breakneck speed, with the Venetian sunlight streaming in through the skylights above.

In fact according to my iBiennale catalogue: "Unlike the rest of [Boltanski's] work, which is dominated by death, here he opens up a broader examination of chance and fate. The unfolding of life and the incessant rhythm of birth raise the question of the universal and the unique in a new way, pondering what distinguishes one from the other."


More photos can be found here

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