Remnants of the Future - VISUAL

VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art &
The George Bernard Shaw Theatre

Remnants of the Future

Uriel Orlow

18 Sept - 21 Dec 2018 |

Part-documentary film, part sci-fi, Remnants of the Future portrays the precarious existence in a post-Soviet ghost-town – a modern ruin that is still waiting to fulfil its utopian ambition of communal living. It is set in Northern Armenia in a vast, unfinished housing project called Mush, built on the orders of Mikhail Gorbachev to house the people displaced by the 1988 Spitak earthquake. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 abruptly halted the ambitious housing development and it has since remained in a ghostly unfinished state, inhabited only by migrating birds and isolated human scavengers who salvage scrap metal out of the hollow shells of concrete and live in parts of the big, skeletal housing blocks.

As the day turns into night, the soundscape, composed by Mikhail Karikis, moves from the sounds of everyday activities to modulations of radiowaves emitted by pulsars, or dying stars, which still reach us after the star has died. Out of this electro-acoustic cloud a woman’s voice announces: “I am an emissary from the
future...” a snippet from the time travelling character in 1930’s film The Bathhouse by Mayakovski, inviting those left behind by failed state capitalism to join her in the commune of the future.

Cinemascope video with stereo sound 17’18”, 2010-12

Uriel Orlow lives and works between London, Lisbon and Zurich. He studied at Central Saint Martins, the Slade School of Art and the University of Geneva, completing a PhD in Fine Art in 2002. Orlow’s practice is research-based, process- oriented and multi-disciplinary including film, photography, drawing and sound.

His work has been presented at major survey exhibitions including the 54th Venice Biennale (2011), 8th Mercosul Biennial, Brazil (2011), Aichi Triennale (2013); Manifesta 9 in Genk (2012); Bergen Assembly (2013), Qalandia International (2014) EVA International (2014, 2016), 13th Sharjah Biennial 13 (2017), 7th Moscow Biennial (2017). Recent institutional solo exhibitions include PAV – Parco Arte Vivente (2017) Parc Saint Léger (2017) The Showroom, London (2016); Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2015); John Hansard Gallery, Southampton (2015); Depo, Istanbul (2015); Spike Island, Bristol (2013); CCS Paris (2013); Al-Ma’mal Foundation, Jerusalem (2013); Les Complices*, Zurich (2013); Centre PasquArt Biel (2012); Kunstforening, Oslo (2012).