Since the real estate bubble burst in late 2007, already, the glittering ruins of developer architecture are being reclaimed by nature. Entire suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona, are overgrown with tumbleweed. In post-Soviet Georgia, unfinished resorts rot on the Black Sea coast. In Abu Dhabi, palm trees are dying among half-built film studios and sports’ complexes. It is where the world’s largest arms fair now takes place, held in the same kind of desert that provides the location for most of our real and virtual wars. Elsewhere, new man-made deserts take shape as shopping mall replicas of Venice, inhabited by the living dead. Composer and filmmaker Christian von Borries’s new film Desert of the Real visits these contemporary wastelands. In a rich collage of acted scenes and documentary footage, he extends the metaphor of the wasteland to today’s medial reality. At the heart of so many holographic simulations and replicas, in a world custom-made for selfies, Instagram posts, and tweets, he reveals emptiness and potential violence.
Christian von Borries, Desert of the Real, 2017, 76 min
Followed by a conversation between Christian von Borries and Christian Höller
Christian von Borries produces media from other media. He is a conductor, composer, filmmaker, and producer of site-specific psycho-geographical projects. His work has been commissioned by Lucerne Festival, Kunstfest Weimar, Volksbühne Berlin, Kampnagel Hamburg, and documenta 12 (among others), and his films have won prizes in Marseille and Hamburg.
Christian Höller is editor and co-publisher of the magazine springerin – Hefte für Gegenwartskunst.