Love Story interrogates the mechanics of identification and the conditions under which empathy is produced.
Evoking the global scale of the refugee crisis, the work evolves out of lengthy interviews with six individuals who have fled their countries in response to a range of oppressive conditions: Sarah Mardini, who escaped war-torn Syria; José Maria João, a former child soldier from Angola; Mamy Maloba Langa, a survivor from the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Shabeena Saveri, an Indian transgender activist; Luis Nava, a political dissident from Venezuela; and Farah Abdi Mohamed, a young atheist from Somalia. The interviews were conducted in the cities where each individual is seeking or has been granted asylum (Berlin, New York and Cape Town).
In the first space of the installation, re-performed fragments from the six interviews are woven into a fast-paced montage featuring Hollywood actors Alec Baldwin and Julianne Moore. Each was asked to channel excerpts from three of the first-person narratives on a green-screen set, without the support of fictional backdrops, costumes, props, accents or interlocutors. Candice Breitz’s edit intertwines the six renditions, plotting the diverse socio-political circumstances and personal experiences that prompted the interviewees to leave their countries. In a second space that is accessible only via the first, the original interviews are projected in their full duration and complexity.
Suspending viewers between the gritty firsthand accounts of people who would typically remain nameless and faceless in the media, and an accessible drama featuring two actors who are the very embodiment of visibility, Love Story reflects on the callousness of a media-saturated culture in which identification with fictional characters and celebrity figures runs parallel to widespread indifference to the plight of those facing real world adversity.
Venue: Goodman Gallery, 163 Jan Smuts Ave, Parkwood
Time: 1 Feb 6pm | Tue to Fri 9.30am to 5.30pm | Sat 9.30am to 4pm