Rite of Spring 
 
 
 
 
 
Rite of Spring, film, 7'51", 2010
The simple and poetic gesture of children burning mounds of white poplar fluff implies a promise—the promise of renewal. Some are street kids, some have a family and some do not, some have a home, some are nomadic, and some just squat in derelict houses without roofs. Occasionally, the mesmerizing play of the children leads the fire to consume a tree and then firefighters rush to extinguish it, leaving the burned trunk as a black drawing on the sky. The sparks and small fires in the film suggest the catalyst of change to existing orders. They recall the fires in the French banlieues in recent years, the perpetually deported and repatriated Roma people throughout Europe, anti-war protesters against the invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan around the globe, or this year's uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East—all of which point to the hope of a more equal world.
Rite of Spring, installation view eva International Biennial of Visual Art - After the Future; on the floor Shadow Report, Sanja Ivekovic, 2012 Rite of Spring, installation view daadgalerie Berlin, 2012
"The first frames of the film show poplar pollen clouds blown around the street by the wind. Then we see how they are instantly consumed by fire, and then the reason for this spectacle - it is the children who set them on fire for fun. They are completely engrossed in this activity and fascinated by its fleeting effect. The fire approaches in an uncontrolled manner the cars and buildings; inconspicuous pollen clouds burn, and in a while the flames take up an increasingly large area. The status of the children in undefined in the film; it is not known weather they are homeless, weather they live in the surrounding houses; we only know that nobody is paying attention to them. The artists do not impose on the viewer any preconceived social framework. Their practice consists of attentive observation and taking notice of material elements of reality. They often choose from it that which is ephemereal, small, marginal as dust, rust, fluff, soil. The work of the artists with such material can be a starting point for questioning social relations, economic changes, political conflicts. In their work they consequently take up the issues of the post-communist changes in Romania following also in the global relations the destructive aspects of transformations and spectres of the past and the future revolutions. Thinking of questions provoked by their art requires, on one hand, a careful observation of details, and, on the oher hand, the setting in motion of poetic associations. What is, for instance, the relationship between the unrooted, restless status of fire and the unpredictable bustle of the children running after the fluffy clouds? What potential lies in the uncontrolled state of being unrelated to anything solid? What will happen when the inconspicuous setting fire to fluff turns into a real fire? Will it be a destruction or purgatory rite of Spring bringing hope for a better tomorrow? No-one paid attention to a Tunisian vegetable vendor Mohamed Bouazizi, before he set fire to himself in 2010 at a market in Sidi Bu Zajd in a protest against incessant humiliations. No-one could predict the consequences of this event, as in various places of the world we do not notice the signals of upcoming changes or problems calling for a response. Is the awarness required by art a challenge to such indifference?"
text by Joanna Sokolowska, Rite of Spring, part of Untimely Stories catalogue edited by Joanna Sokolowska & Jaroslaw Lubiak, published by ms Muzeum Sztuki Lodz, 2012.





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