The work Transitions (2017) by Aurèle Ferrier examines the traces left by human civilisation - the conquest of the unwelcoming hostility of the desert ends in the surreal and hedonistic consumerism of Las Vegas. The camera leads us, with a menacing langour, through a backdrop of deserted city-outskirts. The buildings, cars and billboards speak of people’s dreams as they strive for a version happiness. The prevailingly eerie, apocalyptic mood draws you along on this filmic journey. These traces of humanity seem increasingly laughable and helpless, they vibrate with a peculiar melancholy. Where have the people disappeared to? One has the impression a catastrophe has occurred, an epidemic, or maybe it is simply an empty film set after a shoot?
The film with its calm and assured grasp on image and sound is able to produce a refined suspense. The film takes the viewer on an odyssey, one that could also be a metaphor for the boundaries of human endeavor. The human culture and civilisation that emerged from the desert, will in the end be desert again.
Text by Esther Eppstein & Elodie Pong
YBCA Center for the Arts, San Francisco
First Floor Galleries
Waterpieces International Contemporary and Video Art Festival, Riga
Floating Art Center NOASS, Latvian Video Art Archive
Athens Digital Arts Festival, Athens
Multidimensional Space Syntagma
10 July - 10 September