I have been inspired by many of Francis Alys’ films, which display performed events as he invades the public sphere, questioning and disrupting the everyday. Through uncomfortable, humorous or disruptive performances he draws attentions to socio-political issues, which question the surrounding environment, its basis, history and intentions.
SOMETIMES MAKING SOMETHING LEADS TO NOTHING (1997)
I am inspired by Alys’ performative work, ‘Sometimes Making Something Leads To Nothing’ (1997). In this work, Alys pushes a block of ice around Mexico City for 9 hours, until the ice melts into the size of an ice cube. The inevitable invisibility of the product of this work appears ridiculous to many onlookers, as Alys is seen to initially struggle with the weight of the block; however as the block melts, degrading slowly into nothingness, becoming easier and easier as the the degradation process takes it’s toll, it makes an important statement. Was their any point to the earlier effort exerted if it was to never travel with any purpose or end setting? I believe what Alys is saying is, is there any point to any exertion if it leads to inevitable nothingness and desertion? Through the effortful, almost humorous act, Alys disrupts the public on the street, walking from something to nothing, confronting them as they are completing the same act he is.
FITZROY SQUARE (2004)
Additionally, I have taken great inspiration from ‘Fitzroy Square’ (2004). In this film, Alys can be seen to drum against the railings of a park in London. Here Alys disrupts the privacy of the individual within the public setting not only through action, but also through sound, as his ever-changing rhythms alter the tranquility of the gentle, small park on a snowy day. Here Alys is making his presence known to other members of the public, through the announcement of the din of the railing – he is ready to waiver the anonymity of the quiet element of the private and become active. In doing this, he challenges the quick passing of human interaction, and lingers in the public domain. I am interested in this loud disruption, and would like to explore the this style of interruption with the public further.
LOOKING UP (2001)
Finally, I also took inspiration from ‘Looking Up‘ (2001), in which Alys stands in the middle of a public square in Mexico City looking up as if something is, or is about to happen. Once the members of the public join him in looking up, he can leave – allowing the public to decide whether to wait for an event to occur, or realise they have been had. I am inspired by the subtle jest of this work, as Alys convinces the public of action where there is none. However, Alys is not making these people the butt of the joke for falling for it, but rather they have proved their trust in the stranger, something rarely seen in modern society, and almost tender as a result. Here Alys manipulates the public, and however unkind or fond you deem this work to be, the effect of the work is entirely dependant on the reactions of the audience. I like the unpredictability of type of work, and would like to explore this further in our own film.