In the Shadow of the Big Projector
Review of David Blair’s The Telepathic Place: from the Making of "The Telepathic Motion Picture of THE LOST TRIBES” at the MUHKA in 2013. The review of this magical show somehow got lost after the renovation of my website, so it is reposted.
The top floors of the MUHKA in Antwerp have been transformed into a walk-in dream sequence. Five rooms filled with traces of a history that never could have been but which still comes alive together form a sort of 4D feature film. In it film itself is both a theme and a surreal, malleable prop. David Blair’s The Telepathic Place: from the Making of "The Telepathic Motion Picture of THE LOST TRIBES” is a surprising and captivating installation work. Poetic text scraps painted in oil on small canvasses or written on walls with pencil, traces of (im)possible histories in the shape of manipulated film devices, miniature train tracks as tangible traces of … of what? Though the main story describes the fictional history of a rather esoteric movie industry in Manchuria, the most important underlying themes of The Telepathic Place seem the driving sentiments and imperfections of storytelling through media, in particular film and video. The Telepathic Place exposes the malleability of memory and history, even if it is captured on film, recorded in any other way, or, as historical practice, materialized in old tools and objects. At the MUHKA Blair makes the experience of film and that of train travel get entangled to the extreme, which evokes an uncanny feeling of mock nostalgia. Both film and train travel take the visitor, whilst sitting in her seat, to far away places, while life and time pass by. By crossing such similar experiences David Blair taps into that part of our memory where things easily blur, creating confusion, surprise and wonder.