Marco Poloni: Centre Culturel Suisse

By Rosen, Miriam | Artforum International, Summer 2006 | Go to article overview

Marco Poloni: Centre Culturel Suisse


Rosen, Miriam, Artforum International


There is always more than meets the eye(s) in Marco Poloni's photos, videos, performances, and the multimedia setups he calls "observation devices" (dispositifs d'observation): All serve to confront us with our perceptual and conceptual blind spots. A particularly concise defense and illustration of the Poloni method is his ninety-second video Mister Locke,..., 2002, which dubs a voiceless FBI webcast of what may or may not be a suspected terrorist with an excerpt from the sound track of Michelangelo Antonioni's The Passenger (1975), where an African opposition leader turns the camera--and thereby turns the tables--on the reporter interviewing him (Mister Locke/Jack Nicholson) with the pronouncement, "Your questions are much more revealing about yourself than my answers will be about me."

With AKA (Also Known As)--Script for a Short Film, 2002, the work presented in the Project Room at the Centre Culturel Suisse, it is Poloni who turns the tables on the viewer. Like Mister Locke, AKA touches on post-9/11 geopolitics, media representations, and individual psychology, as well as the millennial question of the self and the other. But here, the media-blitz tactics of the video give way to a more understated approach in the form of a photographic storyboard showing twenty-five scenes of a nonexistent film, disposed horizontally around the room in sixty-two numbered stills. But if the accompanying technical indications suggest the Aristotelian unities of time, place, and action--three days in the life of the protagonist, who might or might not be a suspected terrorist--the images themselves belong to the new world disorder, where the only certainty, in life as in film, is uncertainty.

Notwithstanding a film-noir aesthetic coupled with settings inspired by the fact and fiction of contemporary terrorist cells (all shot "on location" in Berlin--plus, for the cognoscenti, the specific places where Mohammad Atta lived and studied in Hamburg), there is no real action, criminal or otherwise, to be seen. …

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