A Memorial to Failure. 2013
HD video; 19.55 min, color, sound
On the pretext of a studio visit, an influential cultural figure visits an art student. Roles shift, vulnerability becomes professional, and failure celebrates itself as an infinite process.
In 2012, the well known theorist Franco “Bifo” Berardi conducted studio visits with artists on an independent international post-graduate study programme in Beirut, Lebanon. One of these artists was Mahmoud Khaled who was trying to recover from an artist’s block induced by current socio-political complexities. Instead of showing Berardi his work, Khaled decided to interview him, asking questions related to the conditions hampering his creativity. What remains is a trail of thought in which Berardi thinks about failure, revolution, social change, art, and activism – the same issues that occupy the artist but that also frustrate him. While we listen to Berardi’s determined voice the camera takes us on a non-linear journey in birds-eye view through the cities of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Jounieh, Lebanon. Shot while on cable car rides in both these cities, the vast scenic views in slow motion transmit a sense of relaxation, a sense of looking at things from an objective distance, but also of inspection. The juxtaposition of Berardi’s insights with this imagery of open spaces paints an abstract portrait of the artist’s inner psyche as he struggles to unleash his creativity from the confines of artist’s block.
Engraved crystal / marble plaque accompanies the video. This item commemorates a moment of acute awareness the artist had. It is the moment when he was able to perceive the connections between moving in a cable car suspended in mid-air and the idea that failure is evident and should not be feared put forth by Berardi at the beginning of the video. The documentation of that private moment is the artist’s memorial to failure.