News from the Locarno Festival

Points of Collision

Points of Collision



What form(s) would an actual contemporary work of visual art assume? Alexander Carver and Daniel Schmidt (who, with Gabriel Abrantes, won the Pardino d’oro for A History of Mutual Respect) attempt to answer this question with their debut feature, a globe-trotting multi-lingual queer science-fiction satire on Otherness set amongst the background of particle colliders (some of the film was shot inside Cern, other material in China, with film stock having to have been surreptitiously smuggled out).

In innumerable senses – chiefly among them visually (shot on 16mm) and narratively (I can’t begin to summarize that in this space, but links to Schmidt’s earlier work can be drawn) – The Unity of All Things 物之合, which mines the borders of history and subjectivity, literally and figuratively, is unlike any other work being presented this year in Concorso Cineasti del presente.

Carver and Schmidt’s daring proposition takes off from Fredric Jameson’s notion of Utopian form as “a representational mediation on radical difference, radical otherness, and on the systemic nature of the social totality, to the point where one cannot imagine any fundamental change in our social existence which has not first thrown off Utopian visions like so many sparks from a comet.” Where it ends is up to the viewer.

Mark Peranson

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