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©Rui Calçada Bastos

If you`re going through hell, keep going. Video, Pal, 16:9, colour, sound. 3´5´´. Edition of 5 plus 1 A.P.

Instalation video at Vera Cortês Art Agency. Lisbon

The video, the result of the artist’s collaboration with the author Patrick Findeis (also a Villa Aurora fellow), shows what seems like an endless flow of cars on a motorway at night. Accompanying the slow, rhythmic movement of headlights, reminiscent of the ocean’s waves nearby, is a dark soundtrack whose monologic narration of short sentences does not add up to a coherent story; rather, it relays an inconsistent and almost schizophrenic stream of consciousness. The sentences, which were in fact quotes from infamous serial killers assembled by Findeis, ranged from supposed innocence and delight (‘See you in Disneyland’ and ‘I have a good time’) to dystopian visions (‘People in this time and age are brain-washed, programmed like a computer, being nothing more then puppets’, and ‘I want to see the whole city burned down’). By making the criminals’ recollections and reasons the subtext for the imagery of the familiar carscape of LA, Bastos created an elegant and challenging recontextualization that inverted the reality of serial killers as figures of exception. Like the later films of David Lynch, whose cinematic aesthetics seem an obvious inspiration for Bastos, the video insinuated that violence is embodied in everyday life: it is in the car driving next to you on the freeway on your way to and from work; and it is without a recognizable face. As one of the serial killers’ proclamations has it: ‘I am just a normal person.’ Replacing stereotypical serial killer imagery with the killers’ own words, the video came off as a radically disturbing statement, suggesting that perhaps the serial killers are not psychological freaks but extreme embodiments of a more fundamental violence haunting the nation.

Jacob Lillemos in Frieze Magazine, Issue 145, March 2012

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