Paradise and Küba
A Critical Review
I felt that these installations worked well within the course content.
I’ll start by showing giving the Vancouver Art Gallery’s website description of the show.
In his newly commissioned video installation, Kutlug Ataman offers a remarkable portrait of twenty-four southern Californians who describe their encounter with that place they call “paradise.” For the first time, Paradise will be paired with Ataman’s 2004 Carnegie Prize- winning video installation entitled Küba, an equally powerful portrait of another utopian community, this one situated on the outskirts of Istanbul.
Here is the link
In being present to view these video installations, you are free to roam about each room. Located across from one another in separate rooms the shows are separately successfully and together compliment each other greatly. I entered Küba first. Old television sets, furniture and a miscellany of chairs were lined up in the room. On the face of each set the was the face of a person speaking the the camera. Their voices crank out of the tv sets drowning each other out. Each speaking their own story, opinion and life. A sense of a world that is not familiar to myself at least, the aged condition of the furniture and tvs lends to a sense of the old fashioned. This greatly contrasted with the pristine white cube chairs, flat-screens and quiet of the Paradise installation. Complementing the idea of Orange County desirable achievement of what some consider to be perfection.
The two exhibitions present themselves as opposites, new and old. But in reality they are one in the same. They are portraits of people. The tactic in which they are presented not on a simple DVD you can take home and watch, but in a space one can spend hours navigating, viewing as a whole, or sitting to listen to an individual. I find the word interview being questioned in a traditional sense, it is not a series of questions being posed and answers and recorded. Its as though Ataman has found little pieces of each person that in themselves lend to this idea of the public as a whole. The simultaneous existence of these peoples voices in the spaces of the two rooms, I find mirrors society in a way.
What I find unfortunate is that those who do not take the time to listen may find that they are existing as opposites, old/new, sad/happy. However I think they are both equally well rounded with negative/positive aspects of the human condition, existing forever unchanged in a variety of different community landscapes.