In this experimental film and installation a megalomaniac London cityscape features not just as a striking backdrop for the group of adolescents who populate the film, but also as a theme in itself. It is the main subject in a cinematic work that describes an urban reality marked by migration and change.
As the characters pass through seemingly makeshift architecture, empty lots, stations, stores, a glass-fronted gym and the new construction site for the 2012 Olympic Games, it becomes obvious that late capitalist urban development – the movements of people and money, and the architectural manifestations of wealth within the urban fabric – is Åsdam’s main character. The city’s economic, political and social pressures are mirrored in the characters’ movements and speech. The female protagonist, O, tries to find her way through the maze of disrupted urban space, but her figure remains enigmatic. Her dialogues with the other characters are erratic at best and «painfully embarrassing to listen to from the realist perspective of ‘good dialogue’,» says art historian Ina Blom. At times, these young people seem to lose their grip on language altogether and meaning is sidelined. The characters’ fragmented speech makes palpable an acutely disconnected world and its psychological effects.
Text: Andrea Kroksnes
From "Highlights. Art from 1945 to the Present", Nasjonalmuseet 2016, ISBN 978-82-8154-116-0