The installation from Canadian, Los Angeles-based artist Cassils uses techniques borrowed from Hollywood stunts to speak to the violence of war.
“Inextinguishable Fire put a match under our certainties and perceptions, making you confront what you might prefer to ignore.” – The Guardian
Los Angeles — An installation of the film Inextinguishable Fire created by Cassils, will make its U.S. premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.
The piece will be displayed as part of the New Frontier program in Park City, UT from January 21-31 in Park City.
Since 2005, with support from the Canada Council for the Arts, Cassils has embarked upon a series of projects that investigate the theater of war present in mass media and the overlap between the military industrial complex and the Hollywood film industry. Inextinguishable Fire aims to make spectators engage with the media’s often constructed images of violence and war. Witnessing it’s impact in the form of a slow motion video displaying Cassils being set on fire, this performance for the camera features the artist engaged in a treacherous fire stunt. The final film makes the stunt’s theatrics as visible as the ostensible risk.
Using techniques borrowed from Hollywood stunts, the 14-second live burn is extended to 14 minutes of slow motion flame, shot at 1000 frames per second. Slowing the burn down requires the viewer to spend time in a world reduced to fleeting headlines on our Twitter and Facebook feeds. The film plays on a continual loop referencing the cycles of political uprising and apathy, life and death, ignition and extinguishment. The title of the piece references Harun Farocki’s eponymous 1969 film, which reflects on the impossibility of effectively representing the horror of napalm on film.
“When we show you pictures of napalm victims, you’ll shut your eyes. You’ll close your eyes to the pictures. Then you’ll close them to the memory. And then you’ll close your eyes to the facts.” -Harun Farocki, 1969
Cassils commenced this line of inquiry 2005 when they attended the United Stuntman’s Association’s International Stunt School and made Simulation In Training, an experimental documentary which investigates the theater of war present in American mass media. Though the stunt is a simulation of violence, it still presents real danger. This possibly volatile situation is captured to create an image where immanent physical danger, empathy for those experiencing violence, and the privilege of distance from such circumstances operate simultaneously in one transparent performance. Although Inextinguishable Fire is a simulation of violence, it still presents real danger. This possibly volatile situation is captured to create an image where immanent physical danger, empathy for those experiencing violence, and the privilege of distance from such circumstances operate simultaneously in one transparent performance. Previous films by Cassils include Hard Times, 2011-2013, Fast Twitch// Slow Twitch, 2011, Tiresias, 2010 and 10104 Angelo View Drive (At Home With the Toxic Titties), 2016 (all distributed by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts).
The artist will be in attendance Jan. 21-26th. To schedule an interview or for any inquiries please contact Kyle Stephan, Studio Manager for Cassils: firstname.lastname@example.org