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Jeu De Paume Brings Together Works for "False Friends / An Ephemeral Video Library"
Rosa Barba, Outwardly from Earth’s Centre, 2007. Vidéo, couleur, son, 21’58’’. Courtesyde l’artiste, Gio' Marconi, Milan et carlier/gebauer, Berlin © Rosa Barba.

PARIS.- The works brought together in the exhibition “False Friends / An Ephemeral Video Library” present micro-narratives articulated around personal experiences, anecdotes or testimony. Situated on the margins of mainstream history and reportage, they show historical reality in a different light and offer readings that are complementary, singular, marginal and inventive. On display until February 6 2011 at Jeu De Paume.

This project echoes the advent of alternative modes of access to information – digital platforms, blogs, new communications networks — that are curbing the power of the traditional media, which tend to treat as secondary, or to simply obscure, certain kinds of events, while trumpeting others, in order to maintain the viewer’s interest.

Whether documentaries, fictions, chronicles, tales or true-fiction, the 24 videos by artists from all around the world forming this selection of “False Friends” do not attempt to offer a standard or conventional description of reality, nor do they set out to mediate or simplify it so as to make it easier to grasp. Rather, they tend to present a fragmented, subtle vision through stories about secondary figures.

Alternatively humorous, nostalgic or tense, they bring to the fore dissonances and defects in synchronisation with regard to the grand narrative of History, helping to shake up convictions and preconceived ideas. Imperfect translations of events in which we can still hear echoes of reality, these “false friends” nevertheless have undeniable authenticity.

Mixed, open and dynamic, this project offers visitors both free access to the videos on individual screens (first room) and a presentation of the same works in four thematic cycles (second room): “Rereading History”; “Meanders of Memory”; “Tensions and Identities”; and “Mediations on Absence and Loss.” A parallel series of discussions and debates in relation to the works in the exhibition has also been programmed.

The logic of mainstream media coverage of events is usually based on constant renewal, in order to keep the spectator interested. They therefore have a relatively limited lifespan, which is why information is sometimes forgotten or goes straight into the archives. At the same time, however, it is clear that the events themselves evolve and gain in complexity, and continue to exist outside the main media circuits.

The advent of digital platforms, fostering new communications networks and blogs, has helped to attenuate the impact of the mass media by creating alternative modes of access to information. This is precisely the context in which the “ephemeral videotheque” project can be interpreted.

The works brought together in “Faux Amis / An Ephemeral video library” feature stories from the margins of history and main stream media. Using tension, humour and testimony, these micro-narratives work to shed light on events outside the history books and main stream media.

This selection of films made by artists from all over the world offers a fragmented description of the real that is rich in nuances. In a sense, these works highlight dissonance and failings of synchronisation, perhaps even shaking our convictions or preconceptions. They are interested in the reality that we know, but do not describe it in a classic, conventional way. Nor do they seek to mediate it, or to make it easier to understand by simplifying it. They are “false friends” – inadequate translations of events that still contain echoes of reality.

Jeu De Paume | Paris | "False Friends / An Ephemeral Video Library" |

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