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Fac-system at Moderna Museum


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Fac-system at
Moderna Museum

From February 3 until April 15, 2007, you were able to visit Moderna Museet in Stockholm to see the project of William Kentridge, the Black Box. The piece comprises a mechanized theatre, where the parts used mainly originated from the Fac-system.

The project Black Box was made on behalf of Deutsche Guggenheim, but it was produced in Sweden and in South Africa in cooperation with Mr. Jonas Lundquist, prop maker, and Mr. Ronald Hallgren, programmer.
The show has also been presented in Johannesburg, in Salzburg and in Malmö and it will be displayed in several other places in the near future.

Black box

The duration of the show is 23 minutes, comprises among other things our Meccano covered with pasteboard and similar in order to create different purposes and which is brought to and fro like a theater performance by means of computers. The show itself begins with a megaphone, which like a presenter announces a "Trauerarbeit" [an act of mourning]. The most important point of departure of the work and which is alluded to in the act of mourning is the forgotten massacre of the Herero people in the South-West Africa by the Germans in the beginning of the 20th century. In 1885, South-West Africa became a German protectorate, after which settlers began to encroach upon and exploit the land of the African indigenous people. Out of frustration, the Herero people revolted in 1904 against the colonisers who hit back against the uprising with disproportionate force. This atrocity is often referred to as the first genocide of the previous century.

However, the show is not a linear narrative but rather conveys itself through our senses. It is at times beautiful, violent, horrible and sad. The show has also been presented in Berlin in 2005.

William Kentridge

Jonas Lundquist at work with the mechanism for the show, using several FAC components.
William Kentridge is born in 1955 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He studied political science and art in Johannesburg and Paris. He works with drawing and short animated films, where he comments on South Africa's history and apartheid.
Already in his first film, Kentridge began to develop what became a characteristic element of his work: the animation of entire sequences from a single sheet of paper. By having a fixed camera registering how he draws, erases, continues to draw and gradually alters the image, he depicts the transformations and movements that have come to define his work. The uninhibited flow of associations arising from when something suddenly turns into something else is reminiscent of the imagination of a child. However, the technique also carries a conceptual meaning. Each new frame carries the traces of the previous frames as wounds or memories from transformations and alterations, just as the present carries with it traces of our history and we carry with us our experiences.

William Kentridge & Jonas Lundquist.