Omer Fast, Looking Pretty for God (After G.W.), 2008, video, still

By Maria Muhle

Oh my God, they use a history that repeats itself...

- Anonymous

It is remarkable that in one way or another, more or less directly, the videos of Omer Fast all seem to deal with key historico-political topics: from the Shoah in Spielberg's List (2003) to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Take a Deep Breath (2008) and the Iraq war in The Casting (2007). Even his more 'intimate' work, De Grote Boodschap (The Big Message, 2007), which looks at life within four private rooms in an apartment building in the Netherlands, touches upon questions of racism and fear in times of the 'war on terror'. But, crucially, rather than dealing with these topics, Fast adopts them as a foil against which to investigate the status of the image, and does so in a very peculiar way: his work doesn't so much address a specific historical situation, its internal tensions and its mediation by images, but instead tackles the moral issue of what images can or cannot make visible. His works propose an investigation that takes as both its focus and it starting point images understood as things, that is, images in their materiality, interfering in real life, influencing it, even transforming it. And, by addressing the image in its materiality, as an object of the world - and not as a reflection or representation of it - Fast undermines the distinction between the factual and the fictional, and reveals the equally artificial nature of both. In this sense, Fast's work exemplarily follows Jacques Rancière's dictum that 'writing history and writing stories come under the same regime of truth', so that, in order to properly understand it, we as viewers must go beyond the distinction between the truth told by history and the lies told by stories, beyond the hierarchical order established between fact and fiction.Read More...>


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