DENNIS ADAMS, "MAKEDOWN" -
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MAKE DOWN, a video installation by DENNIS ADAMS.
DVD (approx. 34 minutes) presented on a flat screen with a vanity created by the artist
MAKE DOWN is a close-up shot of the artist looking at himself in a mirror, as he carefully removes a thickly applied coat of make-up from his face, hair and upper torso with a linear sequence of 96 film stills each printed on an individual piece of paper. The make-up is an olive drab color suggestive of military camouflage. The film stills are from a shot extracted from Gillo Pontecorvo’s “Battle of Algiers” showing a young Algerian woman removing her veil as she prepares to transform herself into a beautiful French woman. Her disguise allows her to pass undetected through a military checkpoint to plant a bomb in the French quarter of Algiers.
Released in 1966 and initially banned by the French government, “ Battle of Algiers”
has long been a cinematic primer of guerilla tactics, feminist practices and avant garde political actions. Since 9/11, it has become an essential case study for both Islamic terrorists and Western security forces.
For Adams, given the ongoing transformations of conflict between Islamic and Western cultures, the layers of representation in this cinematic clip from “ Battle of Algiers” are too complex to unravel. He chooses instead to reenact the process of disquise, locating and transforming himself between the frames of the image.
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