b. 1972, Jerusalem, Israel
Omer Fast is an Israeli, Berlin-based artist whose layered film installations examine modes of storytelling and reconstructions of the past. Taking key historic and contemporary events as his subject matter, Fast explores the ways memory is recounted, narratives retold and events represented. His dramatized films, characterized by high production values, manipulate the recorded image and speech and employ the discrepancy between the two as a space to blur the distinction between reality and representation, truth and fiction.
Composed of footage Fast recorded while interviewing US soldiers freshly returned from Iraq, The Casting examines the relationship between images and storytelling to pose the question: 'where do we seek truth?' Doubt is immediately cast over any claim one might make of the work: its war imagery (it is worth noting that not once is Iraq mentioned in the script) is in reality shot with an American cast in the Mojave desert, while at the onset of the interview Fast begins by asking: 'so how do you feel about improvising?' The artist embeds the interview within a context similar to an audition or screen test, forcing us to question whether what we hear is a true or fictional account. We are forced to ask: 'are these real or made up memories?', as we are confronted by the performative and creative modes of retelling the past.
Omer Fast's work has often dealt with the fallacies of language, in particular the disjunction between image and text, the discrepancy between intentions and utterances, and the ambiguities of communication and storytelling. In Her Face Was Covered (Part I) and (Part II), the transcript from the work's first part is rendered as a series of text slides, interleaved with images found through Google searches generated by typing in a single line from the script and selecting one of the resulting images. The randomness of this kind of logic builds a picture of the treacherous nature of language and its vast and unruly imaginary potential.