No More Reality II (la manifestation), 1991

PAL, sound, colour

No More Reality II (La manifestation) is the second production from the programme entitled No More Reality (1991-1993). The first part is a video-conference on the history of relations between art and politics, from the Renaissance to the present day, scrambled by interference from the artist's memories (about Asterix, and his personal life) and by hypertrophied vocabulary, passing from one language to another. This series ends with a display of objects in reference to films.

The whole programme presents content that is critical of a certain reality, by means of derision or denial, a re-appropriation of the form of the conference, and a questioning of images, by images.

Children protest in a playground – they march, waving banners and shouting: “no more reality”. The camera captures this movement in a medium-wide shot, through a blue filter that deepens the atmosphere of the group, then it shifts, recording the single slogan in close-ups, as well as the faces and shouting mouths.

The framing designates all of the elements that define a protest, one after the other. The title and slogan question the meaning of this political model. The absence of circumstances, which generally motivate this action, poses a problem for interpreting the artist's message. In Art Press Philippe Parreno responds to Nicolas Bourriaud: “Reality can be manipulated and is constantly manipulated. Saying “no more reality” means engaging in this process of recreation and reinvention of the real. But this specific project focused on a decoding of images – an analysis of the effect that they have on us. I continue to maintain that there is no fundamental difference between reality, images and commentary. I look for dimensions of space and time in which these three elements can be simultaneously grasped.”1

The substitution of children for adults implies a non-realisation or absence of social implication in the representation. But the director's hand, organising this fictional space, makes certain projects concrete, through the choice of a site of intervention, whether it be television, as in Surface de réparation 2, l'homme public, or the audience of an inauguration in L'Homme public, l'ordre du discours (la tribune). Social space is an interface that allows an act of denial to have meaning and provoke reactions. However, on the other hand, the image loses its meaning – particularly, here, the video image – when transmitted in contexts other than as a part of the artist's work and the entire programme of No More Reality. On television, images never capture the real – that is, what really exists – they are merely constructs that create a reality effect. The participation of children highlights this “make-believe” of images. Similarly, in the first part of the program, the metaphor of the Tower of Babel indicates a language that has no interface with the real and that no longer represents it.

Thérèse Beyler

1 “Philippe Parreno: Real Virtuality”, Art Press, Paris, issue 208, December 1995, p. 42.