The Casting

The Casting


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Omer Fast

(American, b. 1972)

Four-channel video installation, color, sound; 14 minutes; edition 4/6 (Commissioned by the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 2009.8



Omer Fast’s work examines mass media’s alteration of memory as it interweaves personal and universal experiences against the background of immediate historical events, such as the Holocaust, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Iraq war, or postcolonial global migrations. The Casting is based on an actual interview with a U.S. Army sergeant who had been stationed in Germany and then served in Iraq. In the installation, the soldier’s recollections provide a unifying soundtrack to the tableaux vivants that reenact disparate moments. The seamless narration, however, has been spliced together and extended to include the artist’s process of auditioning actors for his work. Positioned at the back of the installation, the interview plays the role of "reality" as the more theatrical images are projected at the front. While the narrator’s speech remains casual, the tightly rendered tableaux vivants borrow from the stereotypical language of mass media even as the segments represent an ongoing human drama. Partitioned screens in The Casting encourage an open-ended experience of the video, offering a perspective on the Iraqi conflict that takes into account actual lives as opposed to only the political content.

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