Omer Fast
19 Jun 2014

An evening event dedicated to the artist Omer Fast, in celebration of the presentation of his film 5000 Feet is the Best in the historical building of the Stedelijk Museum (beginning June 23).

Teijin Auditorium, Stedelijk Museum
8:15 - 9:45 pm
Entrance price to the museum + € 2.50 cover charge

It is necessary to make a reservation. Book here

In his work, artist and filmmaker Omer Fast (1972, Jerusalem) explores the space and narrative form of cinema. The storylines of his films are reminiscent of those of Akira Kurosawa, such as Rashomon, a film which tells the story of a murder through the eyes of four witnesses, including the murderer. This multiplicity of perspectives, which makes it possible to present different versions of the same story, represents a break from the usual linear structure of cinema. As many of Fast’s films show, another aim of film and video in contemporary art is to redefine the relationship between reality and fiction. The artist explores the structures of the narrative and how they change at the moment that they are transferred from the screen to the viewer. He analyzes these structures by not only focusing on different perspectives in the storyline, but also by highlighting various aspects of film production in the work, such as the casting, subtitling, decor, etc. During this stedelijk|film evening, Fast’s work takes a central place. The artist will give a lecture, followed by a screening of his work 5000 Feet is the Best, which premiered at the Venice Biennale in 2011.

5000 Feet is the Best (2011, 30 minutes)

5000 feet – at this distance drones can identify virtually anything. A former drone operator in the American army, who operated “Predator” drones, alleged that it was possible to identify shoes, clothes, and the color of a person’s hair. The term “operator” suggests that the soldier is more of a cameraman than a pilot in relation to the flying object. With the camera, he navigates at a different distance from the drone, which is equipped with sensors and projectiles, and is part of the reality of a war theater, like a sort of avatar. In 2010, Fast was able to make contact with a former drone operator, despite the fact that the FBI quickly removed his search on Craigslist and his producer received threatening phone calls. During two meetings at a hotel in Las Vegas, the soldier was questioned about the technology and the routines of his work. He also talked about incidents in which civilians died and about the psychological problems he suffered as a result.

Fast does not attempt to try to stage a reconstruction of the interview in the film 5000 Feet is the Best. Instead, he recreates the traumatic experience of the “drone operator” in the film experience. The story is an endless loop which is not repeated completely identically, but is constantly changing. It is a jumble of sounds and images, of visual representations and what is represented, in which fact and fiction can no longer be clearly separated from each other. Fast’s themes not only include the effects of linking arms and communication technology, but also refers to the influence of technological developments in the army and in cinema as they relate to way perception and images work.

About Omer Fast

Omer Fast was born in Jerusalem in 1972. He gained a bachelor of arts in English language and culture at Tufts University, a bachelor of fine arts at the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts, and a master of fine arts at Hunter College, City University New York. Since Fast graduated in 2000, he has presented solo exhibitions in the Whitney Museum in New York, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art in Vienna. He has participated in group exhibitions, including at Documenta 13, the Venice Biennale, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Fast was awarded the Bucksbaum prize for his work The Casting, which was screened during the Whitney Biennale in 2008. He was also awarded the National Galerie’s Prize for Young Art in Berlin in 2009 for his work Nostalgia. His works are included in various international collections, such as those of the Tate Modern, the Guggenheim Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Centre Pompidou. Fast recently completed the film Remainder, which is based on Tom McCarthy’s eponymous novel.