Bat-batean guztia aldatzen bada = Si todo cambia rápidamente = If all that changes quickly
A Project by Parastoo Anoushahpour, Faraz Anoushahpour and Ryan Ferko
In an age of collective anxiety around issues of safety – be it global, national, or personal –we are interested in the ways in which different practices of resilience change environments, create subjects, unlink temporalities, and redefine relations of security and insecurity. As populist political rhetoric across Europe and North America expresses this in increasingly reactionary ways, often articulated in relation to threats created by other people, what is the relationship to earlier, more fundamental issues of safety that are managed more quietly and bureaucratically?
Starting from one of the earliest threats to domestic life – fire – our work considers the desire to control this natural force as a metaphor for anxiety in a global moment that is often described as “out-of-control.”
The starting point for this project is the recently acquired archival footage and scientific written reports from one of the earliest house burn tests ever conducted, entitled The Saint Lawrence Burns.
Supported by international funding and leading-edge technologies of vision available at the time, in the winter of 1958 the Canadian Government, in collaboration with the British and the American Governments, burned eight buildings to the ground, carefully filming the process. With a 16mm camera set on a tripod casting a fixed gaze over the burning buildings, the final images of these homes were inadvertently created, complete with a stopwatch in the frame to systematically time the duration of destruction. Colour celluloid film was deployed as a tool for the empirical analysis of how fire spreads through buildings. This study culminated in a detailed written report that became the basis of fire safety codes in North America and Western Europe.
The resulting images of these burning houses are of a society at a dramatic rupture under the influence of notions of progress, empiricism, resilience and a belief in the ability of technology to predict and tame the forces of nature.
As artists in residence at Tabakalera we will develop a new method of activating these archival images, combining location research with experiments in script writing, sound design, performance, and re-enactment to create new contemporary environments for these provocative, silent archival images.