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20 July 2010

Gabriel Valansi, Mad

I’m interested in the part the media image plays in the recollection of violent events, especially as documentary. There’s something about the involuntary aesthetic of war documentaries: a common factor, something that’s present in all wars. It seems to reverberate at moments when nothing is happening, in down times, in the nothingness hovering over armoured vehicles and planes. Ephemeral images from between events we’re used to seeing in war documentaries: explosions, bombings, soldiers running and firing.

MAD is based on declassified Cold War archival material, mostly the testing of nuclear devices. What interests me is the last second before nuclear destruction takes place: the vibration of the landscape, just ahead of catastrophe; the feeling of a presage; all that (potential) energy that only animals can sense. I reuse the old notion that before everything comes to an end, an ultimate image remains on the retina.

MAD is the acronym for Mutual Assured Destruction, a common expression from the Cold War period.

It means crazy, too.


Gabriel Valansi, March 2010.


Exhibition venue: Atelier des Forges, Parc des Ateliers, Rencontres d’Arles 2010.