The exhibition, a collaboration of Argos and Siemens Arts Program, is based on the contrast between the actor and the extra in the cinema. An actor represents a process of embodiment, vocality and the ability to give direction to an activity. An extra is a voiceless figure in a background crowd: body without embodiment. If the extra, in contrast embodies anything at all, it is a conflict of location. Works that have the figure of the extra as a subject have often be read as social and/or political allegories.
The concept of the exhibition is based on the contrast between the actor and the extra. The dividing line between both is the difference between cognisance and ignorance, pre-eminence and insignificance. An actor represents a process of embodiment, vocality, and the ability to give direction to an activity. An extra is a voiceless figure in a background crowd: a body without embodiment. If the extra, in contrast, embodies anything at all, it is a conflict of location.
The tension area between background action as abstract, modulative, and manipulatable human material on the one hand, and the consciously acting individual on the other, motives the exploration of social relations of power and the place of collectivity. Works that have the figure of the extra as their subject often have to be read as social and/or political allegories.
A possible psychological and lifestance-related approach is based on the human condition which originates in and develops from an ambiguity caught between an “I” and a “non-I”. On the one hand, man is thrown into the world free, on the other hand, he is conditioned by the world (read: culture and society). This principle, the catalyst for much art production in terms of content, is approached in the exhibition from a strictly cinematographic point of view.
In this respect, identity processes and physical poses which directly relate to friction with the authority of the camera, direction, or the interweaving of reality and fiction, are given a prominent place.
Many of the works included in the exhibition present themselves as social psychological experiments. This mainly concerns auditions, castings, and re-enactments. Particularly re-enactments, which process events etched into the collective memory, stand for a direct appeal to the creation of consciousness.
With the exception of a photo series which portrays extras and an installation made to look like a film set, the exhibition solely consists of film and video installations. ’Actors & Extras’ will include work by Irina Botea, Jeremy Deller & Mike Figgis, Omer Fast, Christian Jankowski, Mark Lewis, Aernout Mik, João Onofre, Julika Rudelius, Krassimir Terziev, Clemens von Wedemeyer, and historical propaganda footage.
A publication to be published simultaneously with the exhibition will, aside from descriptions of the works and interviews, include contributions by Jean-Louis Comolli, Sven Lütticken, Thomas Trummer, and Paul Willemsen.
“Actors & Extras” is a collaboration of argos and Siemens Arts Program with the support of Mondriaan Foundation and Levis.