Present Continuous was the first comprehensive monographic exhibition in the UK by renowned filmmaker Omer Fast.
Best known for video works that question the conventions of storytelling, media reportage and historical representation, Fast employs cinematic techniques and complex narrative structures to explore the ways stories, and consequently history and identity, are formed. Undermining the divide between ‘reality’ and ‘representation’ and between document and artifice, his practice also interrogates the potential truthfulness of images.
This exhibition, divided over BALTIC’s two largest floors, included several recent and new installations and projection-based works. 5,000 Feet is the Best 2011, is underpinned by an interview Fast conducted with a former operator of Predator drones. The 30-minute film weaves together the operator’s account of his life and work along with scenes depicting crimes in and around Las Vegas.
CNN Concatenated 2002 is an 18-minute-long video collage edited from thousands of individual words spoken by presenters on the Cable News Network. The footage is reconstructed to form a disconcerting poetic narrative with an underlying sense of threat. The exhibition will also include Everything that Rises Must Converge 2013, a film that presents ‘a-day-in-the-life’ of four adult film performers and a new commission that will be shown for the first time internationally, Spring 2016. Despite their often overt political content, the narrative constructions and deviations of Fast’s videos, moving effortlessly from thriller, to documentary to comedy, ensure they transcend the issues he at first seems to address.
The exhibition was organised in collaboration with Jeu de Paume, Paris and KUNSTEN, Aalborg. A fully illustrated exhibition catalogue with new essays is available from BALTIC Shop.