Protocinema Brings Adrian Paci’s Poignant Collage of Humanity’s Mourning Rituals to Istanbul

The launch of the new film by the Albanian artist coincides with the opening of the 15th Istanbul Biennial.

Still from Adrian Paci, Interregnum, (2017). Courtesy: kaufmann repetto, Milan, New York, Protocinema, Istanbul, New York.

Adrian Paci, the Albanian artist known for his work with video and performance, is debuting his new film Interregnum in Istanbul, coinciding with the opening of the 15th Istanbul Biennial.

Presented by itinerant art organization Protocinema—a group which seeks to engage individuals in cross-cultural dialogues—Interregnum collates together found footage taken from official state and national television broadcast archives from around the world, which have been restored by the artist.

Exhibiting until October 14, the film—the title of which references the period of suspension between two incumbent regimes—transports the viewer across time and space. Spanning from Europe to Asia over an entire century, Paci’s work offers up a survey of death rituals across disparate cultures, socio-economic classes, and religious beliefs.

He explores these public displays of mourning by contrasting the different costumes donned and funeral rites performed by mourners, and the very existence of footage of these mass mournings speaks to the performative element of the ritual. Indeed, the public nature of these rituals is one that we, as viewers, connect with totalitarian regimes. When the eyes of the world are watching after the death of a dictator, this kind of outward display can show the world how ‘beloved’ the authoritarian ruler was by the masses. In Paci’s film, many of the mourners are very aware of the camera, and sometimes seem to exaggerate their dramatic gestures of mourning as they walk past.

As the screen flashes through close-ups of faces twisted in misery, through wild sobs to enduring stoicism, Paci’s work examines and explores how distinct individuals can be united in their suffering. Much like his other works, Interregnum makes a connection between physically separated societies and cultures by stitching together a shared language of grief.

See some stills from the film below:

Install shot of Adrian Paci, Interregnum (2017). Courtesy kaufmann repetto, Milan, New York; and Protocinema, Istanbul, New York.

Still from Adrian Paci, Interregnum, (2017). Courtesy kaufmann repetto, Milan, New York; and Protocinema, Istanbul, New York.

Still from Adrian Paci, Interregnum (2017). Courtesy kaufmann repetto, Milan, New York; and Protocinema, Istanbul, New York.

Still from Adrian Paci, Interregnum (2017). Courtesy kaufmann repetto, Milan, New York; and Protocinema, Istanbul, New York.

Still from Adrian Paci, Interregnum (2017). Courtesy kaufmann repetto, Milan, New York; and Protocinema, Istanbul, New York.

Still from Adrian Paci, Interregnum (2017). Courtesy kaufmann repetto, Milan, New York; and Protocinema, Istanbul, New York.

Still from Adrian Paci, Interregnum (2017). Courtesy kaufmann repetto, Milan, New York; and Protocinema, Istanbul, New York.

Still from Adrian Paci, Interregnum, (2017). Courtesy kaufmann repetto, Milan, New York; and Protocinema, Istanbul, New York.

Still from Adrian Paci, Interregnum (2017). Courtesy kaufmann repetto, Milan, New York; and Protocinema, Istanbul, New York.

Still from Adrian Paci, Interregnum, (2017). Courtesy kaufmann repetto, Milan, New York; and Protocinema, Istanbul, New York.

Adrian Paci’s “Interregnum” is on view at Protocinema from September 9 to October 14.


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