Screening: Benjamin Orlow, Horses and Ants: An Opera in Eight Acts

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Benjamin Orlow, Horses and Ants - An opera in eight acts (2017), single channel HD video with stereo sound, 24 hours. Video still. Courtesy of the artist.
Benjamin Orlow, Horses and Ants - An opera in eight acts (2017), single channel HD video with stereo sound, 24 hours. Video still. Courtesy of the artist.

About

Part of Hot with Excess: A Season of Contemporary Artists’ Opera, a special season of live events exploring the collision of contemporary art and opera, featuring Sam Belinfante, Beatrice Gibson, Trulee Hall, Richard Kennedy, Benjamin Orlow, Marijke de Roover and Alexandre Singh.

Benjamin Orlow’s 24 hour film Horses and Ants: An Opera in Eight Acts is a record of the year the artist spent completing his conscription in the Finnish army, compressing the experience into a single day. With each hour tethered to his real-time experience, the durational film gives an insight into a hierarchical and disciplined institution, which is both physically and mentally exhausting. While being known as a very progressive nation, Finland is one of the few European countries that still enforces mandatory military service for all men from the age of 18. This work aims to show a realistic and human perspective of an institution – little known to outsiders – that presents itself as an ambitious, fast-paced and action-packed place for adventure and personal growth to the young men who must immerse themselves in it, drawing on the popularity of first-person shooter games and blockbuster action movies.

The GoPro footage documents relentless training, bizarre rituals, performances of young masculinity and the boredom of repetition that occupies the artist and his fellow conscripts day in, day out. As the hours advance and night deepens, the work reveals the psychological impact of the constant role-play of violence, of an endless rehearsal for a war that never comes.

At certain moments, the screening will be augmented by live performances by All Choreographers Are Bastards and singer Frida Österberg, expanding on the movement and soundtrack of the work. Further details will be released shortly.

Please note that a ticket for this screening will allow unlimited entries over the course of 24-hours. We encourage visitors to bring sleeping bags if they wish, or to leave and return.

Doors will open at 18:00. Bar provided by Mezcal Union, serving drinks until 23:00.

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