"Like television broadcasts from some undefined elsewhere, our works wrestle with sense-making using the forms we grew up with, the authority voices that would reassure us that everything was all right. Enunciating from the nice glowing box that sat in the corner, experts in ties explained order and glove puppets gave moral guidance. These were our instructors in story telling - or at least this is how we learnt to be told."
Thomas and Tarrago make films and videos that defy classification. The work is a hybrid of underground film, experimental art practices and personal folk cinema. Having worked alongside each other for over a decade as mainstays of the Exploding Cinema Collective, they're pooling their practices for this unique 2-person venture.
Because of the War continues the developments in Jennet's expanded narrative work seen in such recent pieces as her installation On the Shape of the Scab (2004: Courthouse Gallery, Anthology Film Archives, New York) and Double Dummy (2005: MOMA NY, ICA London, European Media Arts Festival Tour).
A dapper Yellow Man Lecturer looks the viewer squarely in the eye and delivers an account of how it all came to pass: the conflict, the changes, everyday acts of transubstantiation, leading to a world where magick and ritual are suburban norms. Part slide show, with occasional forays into narrative interludes, this free verse instructional starts to shift in the viewer's gaze. Although a world governed by Neo-Absurdist un-sense, there's a burgeoning sense of familiarity.
This account of a not-quite-here, with its skewed and confusing folklore, is another of Jennet's unique blends of image + text - an elision of experimental writing, underground video practice and tragi-comic drama that has previously spawned the multi award winning Sharony! and Perfect Spot.
The Badger series consists of four episodes of a simulated television programme and pushes the performative meta-narratives seen in such recent pieces as Making things meaningful (2003: Kunstfilmbiennale Koln, ICA London, NYUFF) and Resident of Earth (2005: Rotterdam International Film Festival, ICA London, Commonwealth Film Festival) ever forward (series produced in collaboration with Dotcom - Tools)..
Recasting a glove puppet show through his own present day sensibilities, Paul assumes the role of the 'kindly uncle' mentor to a household of capersome woodland creatures and 'modern' themes are introduced. Mortality, sanity, depression, altered states of consciousness and transgressive art practices are all negotiated as part of everyday living.
Meanwhile the show is mindful to adhere to the traditional structural formulae, with entertainment numbers and routines appropriate to the scaled down sitcom world that they occupy. The series is equal parts moral instruction and narrative play, mediated through the forced fit of an experimental filmmaker as children's entertainer.
This follows in a lively line of metafictional moving image works by Paul, which also includes the prize-winning films Moving Back from the Beyond and Why the Canary Sings No More.
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