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Timothée Calame & Alan Schmalz

Exil Antinal

2015

HD Video, color, sound

3:46:05 h

Courtesy of Weiss Falk and the artists

[…] Also screened sporadically during the Basel show, Calame and artist Alan Schmalz’s nearly unwatchable four-hour Cairo travelogue Exil Antinal, 2015, reflects such assaults on perspective by subjecting the exoticization of the Middle East to entropic parody. (The alluring title was in fact inspired by the name of an antidiarrheal drug.) Initially intending to shoot the Sufi  festival of Mawlid, a carnivalesque celebration drawing enormous crowds who enter ecstatic states, Calame and Schmalz wound up recording life in this loud capital mainly from the windows of some hostel or Airbnb flat, where fashion TV programs run on inexplicably heavy rotation. Ethnographic exploration largely begins and ends with visits to a barber, a coffeehouse, a tailor, and a jeweler, while passages from Stefan Zweig’s biography of the ruthless Joseph Fouché—a careerist of the French Revolution who went on to become Napoleon’s feared minister of police—can be intermittently heard on the sound track. “If one does not see or hear anything of Fouché it is because he works beneath the surface, tenacious, methodical, like a mole,” writes Zweig about this formidable snitch and pioneer of the governmental art of surveillance. […]

 

Daniel Horn on Exil Antinal (Artforum, November 2016)