Friday, 08 May 2015

Film Director Albert Serra, represents Catalonia at Venice Biennal with his new project 'Singularity'


Barcelona (ACN).- The Catalan film director Albert Serra, best known for his film 'Story of my Death' (winner of the Locarno International Film Festival, 2013) will present his latest project 'Singularity' commissioned for the fourth Catalan participation at the major, contemporary art exhibition Venice Biennale. The exhibition represents Catalonia in this 56th edition of the international exhibit, within the 'Collateral Events' section. The official opening of the event was held on Thursday and is part of an ongoing collaboration between the cinematographer and the curator of the project, Chus Martinez. Catalonia's participation at the Biennale is driven and coordinated by the Institut Ramon Llull (the public body promoting Catalan culture and language abroad), and this year has cost a total of 497, 000 euros.

The Institut Ramon Lull (IRL) has hosted Catalan projects in diverse editions of the Venice Biennal. Catalonia's pavilion is situated outside the grounds of the independent country pavilions and it is part of the 'Collateral Events' programme. The Director of the Institute which has supported the project, Àlex Susanna, has stressed how it is making a vast international impact. In fact, Susanna suggested that the project “subverted” the rules of the Biennale, capturing visitors and breaking the speed with which usually move from one hall to the other for "excess" supply, he said. Regarding the Catalan participation at the Biennal, Susanna stated that visitors could expect a “surprise” every time, which has raised great expectations. 'Singularity' is a powerful and risk taking project, and "now that I have witnessed it assembled I am very relaxed" he commented.


The exhibition will take the format of a film and is an attempt to tackle the relationship between humanity and technology. The film lasts for over 12 hours, with different parts projected onto five large screens in the pavilion. The film does not have a lineal narrative and for this reason, the project is fragmented. It is meant to emphasise the idea of 'fleeting images' which “belong to the 21st century” emphasised Albert Serra. Each screen will show a viewing of 3 hours except the one which welcomes visitors which will display a 6 minute long video, situating the theme of the project. The pavilion is lit up like a projection room and it is possible to stay for hours watching the film.

The film combines narrative with evocative sequences. “It aims to be a reflection of a transformation in the relationship between humanity” and technology said Serra, and moves away from the central body in relation to the benefit of physical and symbolic devices of machines. He said that he was satisfied with the adequacy of the project space of the pavilion, and happy to have completed a project different from previous ones, that allowed him to go further "in terms of tone, atmosphere and verisimilitude" in a context increasingly arbitrary and unrealistic. "Preserving these two extremes and the possibility of creating a real image fascinates me, "he declared.

Serra and Dystopia

'Singularity' refers to the term which mathematicians and artificial intelligence researchers call the moment when our relationship with machines changes, when technology ceases to be a tool and becomes a partner of the human species. The discussion around this emerging phenomenon between Albert Serra and Chus Martínez is what has shaped more than 12 hours of images that make up the film.

The project is based on the reflection that "the labour market world is over" in the words of Martínez, and in this context, individual initiative becomes the only hope to prosper in life for any group of people. "Like Picketty's 'Capital', there is this idea of 'pitch', 99% of all of us who seek a miracle to exit into a better world," explains Martinez.

On the visitors' reception of the production, Serra has declared that he will rely on them to understand "the narrative impulse that lies behind the work, their innocence and willingness to grow a fiction, a parallel world, almost exclusively through images, with the kindness and sophistication in the small details that I have always loved."

  • singularity_albert_serra_venice

  • Albert Serra in Venice, presenting 'Singularity' (by P. Cortina)