Omer Fast, Artis Mundi

Examining modes of storytelling, Fast presents a film installation of layers of narrative with his piece in Cardiff Museum as part of Artis Mundi. The narrative scenes represent recalled memory, each with slight but significant alterations to depict the inconsistency within the memory, questioning the truth of our thoughts and exploiting the discrepancy between image and sound; truth and fiction.

The arrangement of footage made me contemplative of which elements of the film were true and which were fictional, manifesting a kind of surrealism that my mind was naturally adhered to. Some aspects of the installation made me feel uncomfortable, but the ambiguity resounding it’s reality intrigued my mind and I continued to watch. The context of the footage appeared to me to be a young German soldier returning to his parents; the film replaying the possibilities of that event with different actors and different emotional projections between the parents and son. Each scenario presents different experiences taken from the war which allowed a variety of feelings about what a soldier is subdued to and how they can be effected internally, all the while attempting (and failing) to the highlight the truths and the fictional parts.

My interpretation was that I found myself relating to Brunel and Dali’s Un Chien Andalou throughout because of the similarities in my reaction. The question on reality was predominant for me; I was drawn to the randomness and Fast makes you consider the events that would be an automatic human event, to be more or less than that, to not necessarily be fact.

After viewing this piece I left the exhibition where I found how influential the film installation was. The curious uncertainty of Fast’s work had resonated with me and I began to interpret the environment I would normally perceive to be of real context in the same way I was translating the film as. I didn’t realise that the concept had cemented so until I literally caught myself wondering where a flock of birds had come from; what they were doing; how they existed and if they even did.

Considering Fast’s emphasis on memory, I believe that his piece was very subtly clever. The film captivated my mind but it wasn’t until I removed myself from it that I realised that. The way he projected the surreal, uncertain universe embedded in me and it wasn’t until I returned to the reality of previous memory that I knew what Fast’s intention was.

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