Al and Al
, Wood Street (18th April
- 8th June 2008)
Between 18th April and 8th June, FACT is giving visitors Eternal Youth.
No the holy grail hasn’t been discovered (though I doubt that’s
what you thought!) but FACT is exhibiting the work of Al and Al and Eternal
Youth. This is an exhibition that takes over two floors of the centre.
The bottom floor has a blue screen and editing equipment allowing you
to take an real interactive role in the exhibition. There is also the
opportunity to see screenings of a film by the duo, however both the blue
screen and the screenings have allotted times so phone ahead to really
be part of their work.
Upstairs the exhibition can be wandered around without time slots, perfect
for my hour lunch break. As you walk in the light is dark blue, and you
are immediately faced with some kind of larvae playing on mud, something
I didn’t dwell as I had just eaten my sandwich. I groped my way
along the dark corridor to the first screen showing Perpetual Motion in
the Land of Milk and Honey, a strange film with evocations of paradise,
death, hell, consumerism and industrialisation. We watch two hooded figures
that follow the story of an old man who it seems is passing through to
another life. We - the voyeurs - look on and become a third party in this
Interstella Stella asks questions such as celebrity, what is it? how
do you get it? and what do we now hold sacred? The paparazzi and the act
of photographing our celebrities is explored, how paradoxically they can
make you a star but can be responsible for your downfall. The protagonist
(a rather slimy character) at times holds a camera, other times holds
a gun; are these two interchangeable? A car crash attracts media attention
- perhaps a reference to Princess Diana and the part the media have been
accused of playing in her death.
Both these films were visually spectacular, with the sheer scale of the
large screen sucking you in and holding my attention. The themes and ideas
presented are something that resonates with very modern culture. It struck
me as I watched and also stayed with me long after I left the dimmed corridor,
provoking debate and questions. So although my chances of remaining young
forever are slim I would still recommend seeing this exhibition.