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of FATMI Mounir

FRANCE, 2013, 00:11:00

Production : STUDIO FATMI
Genre : Video art

Summary :

When Salman Rushdie went into hiding following his fatwa he was forced to take on another life, and he often used the pseudonym of Joseph Anton, a name inspired by two of his favorite authors, Joseph Conrad and Anton Chekov.

Who is Joseph Conrad, an experimental film by mounir fatmi looks at the idea of assuming another identity and goes one step further. Though the film centers around Rushdie, Chekov and Conrad, the underlying premise revolves around the idea of the Other in literature and philosophy in general. His interest is in the many writers who over the years have used names other then their own to create their work, whether for political reasons or creative license. Women like George Sand (née Aurore Dupin), or Science Fiction writer James Tiptree, (née Alice Sheldon, or political revolutionaries like Trotsky (ne Lev Davidovitch Bronstein) have all created a cult of personality around a totally fictitious person.

The filming in Who is Joseph Conrad gives the impression that we are watching footage from a hidden camera. Hands rifling through papers, looking at photographs of Rushdie, Chekov and Conrad, holding up archives, cutting up images, or drawing points on a grid. It is as if we are getting a peek into a laboratory of something elicit, maybe a mad scientist who wants to fuse these three identities and actually produce a new person. One of the early scenes in the film shows a pair of hands flipping pages of a blank notebook. Is this a story that has yet to be written? Are we the makers of our own story?

Through the use of former FBI sketch portraiture technology, photographs, drawings, 3D modeling and other scientific inspired materials including vintage diagrams of skulls, we witness the evolution of this new identity or identities, leading to a final set of images which are horrid mutations that slightly resemble a swirled Francis Bacon painting meets Silence of the Lambs.

The film brings into question the very idea of what is meant by identity, seeing it as a fluid, shape-shifting concept rather then a fixed feature, but it also suggests a sort of impossibility of physically assuming another identity, leaving open the question of where do you end and the other begin?

Blaire Dessent, February 2016

puce to print

Original language : _wordless
Original format : HD Video
Aspect ratio : 16/9
Chroma : Noir&Blanc
Available version(s) : Sans paroles

rental : 100 euros

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