Speak, Memory: Omer Fast

12 December 2010 thru 20 February 2011
Location: Hogewal 1-9, The Hague
Back to overview page Speak, Memory: click here

Personal stories, distorted memories, lost moments and old traditions, traces of buildings: these are the elements that connect the diverse works in this exhibition. Below we focus on the work of Omer Fast.

Omer Fast (1972) was born in Israel and lives and works in Berlin. His work is characterized by a fascination for the ways in which stories and realities are constructed. Who decides how history is written and "known"? What makes one version of a memory more true than another? Fast works with film, video, performance, media and television images to examine how we deal with our personal or collective history. The narratives  in his work navigate between personal stories and media versions of these same events.

In Speak, Memory, Fast shows the video installation of the performance TALK SHOW (2009), that was held for the first time during Performa 09. In the video installation a story changes totally and unrecognizably through six retellings. The child's game 'broken telephone', whereby a sentence is whispered from one child to the next so that in the end it sounds nothing like the opening sentence, not only describes this work strikingly but also the ways in which our memories often distort and transform under the influence of time and other forces.

After Ayers finished speaking, he left the stage and was replaced by the actress Lili Taylor, who then played host to Noonan's rendition of Ayers's story. Taylor in turn told her version to Jill Clayburgh. And on and on six times, ending with Rosie Perez speaking to Ayers, closing the circle so to speak. By which time Ayers's highly nuanced description of protest and radicalisation, social conscience and moral dilemma during the Vietnam War years had morphed into a ‘Catholic high-school girls in trouble' tale of violent protest against the Iraq War and George W. Bush, whom Perez fittingly called "the most stupid president we have ever had".

[Joshua Mack on TALK SHOW by Omer Fast in Art Review, November 2009].

Omer Fast has a solo exhibition at The Netherlands Media Art Institute (Amsterdam) between May 14 and July 23, 2011.