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Program : Installations


The Odds (Part 1)


The Odds (Part 1), 2019

HD video with sound, LED wall, 16 min

Artist : Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen

Venue : World Travel Service

Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen’s research-driven projects interrogate the sites, raw materials, labor, and commodities that form global production chains through the lens of economics, geopolitics, and neoliberalism. Part of their multifaceted project on the gaming industry, The Odds (Part 1) considers gambling as a contemporary condition, whereby they trace the political and cultural implications enmeshed within a physical and virtual matrix of places and bodies, drawing attention to irrational and self-exploitive practices at play. By juxtaposing three scenes—racehorses getting anesthetized with ketamine ahead of being operated on, show girls dancing their routines for a Macau casino, and the anarcho-punk band Crass front man Steve Ignorant becoming a bingo-caller in a former church—the artists zero in on the vulnerable bodies that sustain and submit to the ruthless forces of speculation and capital.  

Central to the gaming industry is the production of spectacles that suspend disbelief: case in point are the Macau resorts Venetian and forthcoming Londoner, designed as simulacra for the cities from which they take their names. The backer of both is a huge political supporter of Donald Trump and finances West Bank settlements. The work thereby binds together the devastation of actual and fictional geopolitical issues, overlaid with random computer-generated glitches and visual glitter that disrupts the image such that the LED wall is part screen and light display. The seductive visual sensations and amalgamation of fantasy, entertainment, and precarity synthesized in these artificial worlds underscore the neoliberal trance that not only we, but the artists as cultural producers, are captured within, endure.

Supported by Flanders State of the Art.

Co-commissioned by Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston, UK;, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Art Institute of Chicago.

With thanks to Naomi Esser, David Falkner, Hannah Fasching, Yasmin Hepburn, Lily Mccraith, Alexander Paveley, Lucia Pietroiusti, Elizabeth Price, Georgina Rae, Jan Wade, and Steve Williams.