Cate Blanchett Turns Manifestos Into Empty Spectacle

THE DAILY PIC: At the Park Avenue Armory, Rosefeldt's 'Manifesto' turns screeds into fun scripts for Blanchett.

THE DAILY PIC (#1703): Manifesto, Julian Rosefeldt’s video installation at the Park Avenue Armory in New York, could hardly be more impressive. Thirteen massive screens show the actress Cate Blanchett playing as many radically different characters, from a tyrannical choreographer to a homeless man, each reciting passages from famous artistic or political manifestos. Rosefeldt’s immaculately produced project is absolutely thrilling – and also deeply troubling, at this moment when ideas and politics have even graver implications than usual. Turned into fodder for Hollywood-level spectacle and a Hollywood star, the manifestos offered up to us, made interchangeable one with the other, become empty entertainment and artifice – sound and fury signifying absolutely nothing. In an age of Trump, this level of cynicism feels like complicity with the oligarchic status quo. If there’s one thing we need right now, it is new manifestos and the courage to believe in them.

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