Omer Fast creates layered film installations that examine modes of storytelling and reconstruct the past. Taking key historic and contemporary events as his subject matter he explores the ways in which a memory is recounted, narratives are retold and events represented. His dramatized films, characterised by high production values, manipulate recorded image and speech and employ the discrepancy between the two as a space to blur the distinction between reality and representation, truth and fiction.
Composed of footage Fast recorded while interviewing US soldiers freshly returned from Iraq, The Casting examines the relationship between images and storytelling to pose the question: ‘where do we seek truth?’ Doubt is immediately cast over any claim one might make of the work. Its war images (it is worth noting that not once is Iraq mentioned in the script) is in reality shot with an American cast in the Mojave desert, while, at the onset of the interview, Fast begins by asking: ‘so how do you feel about improvising?’ The artist embeds the interview within a context similar to a screen test, encouraging us to question whether what we hear is a true or fictional. We are forced to ask: ‘are these real or made up memories?’, as we are confronted by performative and creative modes of retelling the past.
Fast’s work has often dealt with the fallacies of language, in particular the disjunction between image and text, intentions and utterances, and the ambiguities of communication and storytelling. In Her Face Was Covered (Part I) and (Part II), the transcript is rendered as a series of text slides, interwoven with images found through Google searches generated by typing in a single line from the script and selecting one of the resulting images. The randomness of this kind of logic builds a picture of the treacherous nature of language and its vast and unruly potential.