During his excursions into the literature, archives and history of China Ivan Garcia encounters the Red Guard Zhou Xuan, the daughter of a metal worker, who was born in 1946 and later studied mathematics and mechanics,. She speaks to us with the voice of the younger Su Guangyu, leading us through Mao’s cultural revolution. But Zhou Xuan is film, she is a fiction fed by the unspeakable knowledge of the multitude. In our lives there are circumstances, truths and hells of which a single individual cannot tell.
A poster is an image with a purpose. It informs, it advertises, it warns or entertains. Collectively, posters form a gallery in the public space. But if there are no longer any messages, if advertising is prohibited and the billboards are abandoned, they reflect only our inner void. Out of the sound of traffic in the street, voice fragments and a concert of whistles and sirens emerges a continuous ominous tone that grows steadily louder, like the sound of approaching aircraft squadrons.
According to Clausewitz, war is the continuation of politics by other means. 16 years after the war the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague sentences the Croatian general Ante Gotovina to 24 years’ imprisonment for war crimes against Serbian civilians. On the streets people sing a fervent a love-song for their hero, then are stunned when the loudspeakers announce his sentence. They weep, defiantly, angrily, and one declares war. The crowd chants “Fight, fight, fight! Fight for our people!” A year later the Tribunal reverses the verdict and finds him not guilty on all counts. Ante Gotovina is a free man and is given honorary citizenship of the city of Split. Since Roman times it is said that before the courts and on the high seas we are in God’s hands.
The Romans called the département in the far northwest of Brittany that today bears the number 29 “End of the Earth”. Finis Terrae. Its Breton name Penn ar Bed means “Beginning of the World”. Between these two points of view an unnamed suicidal man survives in a boat on the beach, and attributes his favourite quote to the anarchistic chansonnier Léo Ferré: Better lonely than in bad company. In death the man hopes to finally find his daughter Sophie, who died before him but still has no gravestone.
Anonymous consumer products on a shelf. Nonstop staccato from the small and large print from the packages, catalogues, consumer information and world history. In the foreground Auguste Rodin’s “Thinker”, posing as he does in countless copies the world over, sitting and thinking and thinking and depicting for all time Dante Alighieri. But this Thinker is made neither of bronze nor plaster, but of flesh and blood. Here and now a Serb contemplates human behaviour, until the infernal fire turns his supermarket too into the gates of hell.