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Program : Installations


Night for Day


Night for Day, 2021

Video installation, 47 min

Artist : Emily Wardill

Venue : World Travel Service

Emily Wardill has long been invested in deconstructing cinema to explore the disconnect between movement of time and bodies, images, histories, and narrative structures. Night for Day imagines a fictive kinship in Portugal, composed from a series of interviews with Isabel do Carmo, founding member of an armed resistance in the 70s, and two young astrophysicists, Alexander Bridi and Djelal Osman, who run a Lisbon-based start-up that develops software for computer image recognition. Set against instabilities of the two different historical junctures, the film stitches together fragments to unpack the variances of past political ideals and a present-day techno utopia, a binary epitomized by this phantasmal mother-son relationship. 

The make-believe family takes up residence in the home of architect Antônio Teixeira Guerra—completed in the same year the fascist government fell in 1974. Shot in the magic hour, the time Guerra chose to invite guests, Wardill probes the illusory moment when perception breaks down, where objects are caught in the interplay of clarity and semi-darkness. The film collages found glitchy footage of actresses cast as automations, on the verge of disintegrating, as a counterpoint to resist the latest computer-image processing technology. In the film, Do Camo says, “we’ve been experiencing continuous defeat. We must think in terms of an obvious utopian future.” Employing punctures and nonlinearity, Wardill’s work sheds light on female subjectivity, political labor, and performativity while questioning how new utopias can be formulated, haunted by historical visions and a techno-teleology reality to come. 

Courtesy the artist and Carlier Gebauer, Berlin. 
Produced by Stenar Projects, Lisbon.