French-Israeli artist Absalon (1964-1993) died before realizing his radical “life project”, The Six Cells. To be located in the cities of Paris, Zürich, New York, Tel-Aviv, Frankfurt, Tokyo, these minimal homes incorporated a monastic spirit while referencing Le Corbusier’s idea of a “machine for living”. Meticulously planned, each cell was designed around the basic individual needs of the artist himself. While the project might be seen as an anti-social protest, a reduction of the utopian aims of early modern architecture to the level of individual subjectivity, it possesses a rare artistic clarity.
Since Absalon’s death, his cells can be found in important museum collections (Centre Pompidou, Paris, New Tate, London, De Appel, Amsterdam) where they no longer maintain their purpose, nor their effects. The film shows Absalon explaining his project during a slideshow in 1993, articulates the details of the houses, and uses speculative sequences to explore their enigmatic meaning in their projected locations. Film maker Cédric Venail asks: “What remains of his project today? Between memories and projections, I wanted to see for myself. I found A Virus in the City." The result is a beautifully photographed and inventive approach towards an unfinished art project.
||A Virus in the City
France 2008, 80min. Video
English. No subtitles
Screenplay: Cédric Venail
Cinematography: Simon Beaufils, Laurent Desmet
Sound: Marc Parazon, Edouard Morin
Editing: Cedric Venail
Production: Cedric Venail for HUCKLEBERRY FILMS
Founder of the Société Ferrerienne Pour la Suite du Monde, Cédric Venail is also the editor of the book Trajets: à travers le cinéma de Robert Kramer (2001). He just finished an experimental short film, Carmel and he is presently filming a documentary in Cairo with Rochelle Fack. With Huckleberry Films he is producing a series of short films dedicated to the debut of photography.. A Virus in the City is his first film.