‘E comme economie’ @ Gâité Lyrique reviewed.

, 16 February 2013

The good thing about this century’s devastating economic crisis is how it’s been used as a breeding ground for new art expressionism, all over the world but particularly in Europe. Last Wednesday’s E comme economie @ la Gâité Lyrique presented a few selected works from artists that have documented said global economic and political tsunami in unusual ways.

still from Diego del Pozo's "El topo y la Anguila"
still from Diego del Pozo’s “El topo y la Anguila”

Diego del Pozo Barriuso’s ‘El topo y la Anguila’ follows two groups of ‘illegals’ in a post war society who invent a new economical system based on emotional exchange and labor. The individuals are anonymous and come from two different class systems on the production ladder.  Their encounters are depicted through animation, real footage and a voice-over that narrates their journey, while using the imagery as a symbol of the contradictions of our time. Economists may yet have to figure out the solution of our economical problems but Barriuso seems to have figured it out himself, even if it would be pretty hard to fit in the ‘real world’.Speaking of ‘real’, what could feel more tangible and of a zeitgeist than interviewing multinational CEOs and heads of banks? Marina Landia in ‘Enjoy Business No5’ , interviews executives from all over the world about the current economical situation and starts a global debate using editing. In this video you will hear different schools of thought concerning the problems we are facing and also the suggested solutions. It is impressive how she has managed to get solid answers that are understandable to everyone without dumbing it down or resorting to populism; something traditional media has been trying all of this time without much success.

Firing somebody is not an easy job, finding inventive ways to tell them is an even harder one. Marianne Flotron applied the psychiatric tool of role playing in the corporate world only in this case it had no healing quality. In ‘Fired’ we are watching, as suggested by the title, a person getting fired. Only this time the term ‘dismissed’ or ‘fired’ is replaced by a more eloquent word: ‘mobility’. The voyeuristic filming style makes us somehow complicit in the crime that is being committed in front of us; we never see the faces of the players and wonder if the session is real or some elaborate and uncomfortable role play. It is astounding how an unfortunate every day practice can be turned to a gripping psychological thriller of sorts.

still from Marianne Flotron's Fired
still from Marianne Flotron’s Fired

The crimes of the corporate world are much worse when we leave the corporate buildings as it is shown in ‘Border’. With a hand held camera Laura Waddington follows refugees from Iraq and Afghanistan trying to escape to Britain through the English Tunnel (La Manche) in France. She follows them all the way from Iran, Turkey and the Balkans where they would travel in any way possible to reach the Eden of the imagination. The scenes that play out through the movie are uncomfortable, to say the least, with people being beaten by police or mutilated in their efforts to escape to a better world.  It’s a reminder of the very cruel side of the current economical and political situation.

Allow me to leave you with a line said by one of the CEOs in Enjoy Business No5, “The market is humanity’s greatest invention”; it’s up to you now to consider it ironically, literally or dismiss it all together.

(E comme Economie is part of the monthly ABCD Moving_image cycle by Nathalie Hénon et Jean-François Rettig)