Oda Fiskum - Elephant in the Room Theatre

The Red Alert project started in Florence by Leonardoworx and Fabrizio Massini in 2009. The concept is simple: Contemporary urban landscape, and a red plastic bag doubling as a mask. The project has been done in several cities on various scales, and Elephant in the Room Theatre is now presenting the Beijing interpretation.

We have chosen to focus on Beijing as it descends into night. The entire sequence is shot in one evening, and we started at one of the city’s busiest roundabouts at 21.00 (which at the time was still a buzzing beehive) and kept shooting until midnight, moving into the streets of the old town as the main roads gradually emptied. When we reached the midnight mark, one of the busiest and most crowded cities in the world had already turned into a ghost town, the only remnant of day being the red neon signs and paper lanterns.

The exhibition is in two parts, the first is a loop video showing the city while the merry-go-round is still spinning. The second is a series of “still” photo prints where the masked character comes into focus as the people gradually disappear. She can be anything from the loneliness we feel when confronted with a large anonymous crowd to the red speckles of characters painted on a grey wall. From a lost foreigner to a differently lost local, to the silent watcher that all cosmopolitans eventually become.

We have tried to keep the video and the prints as “raw” and un-edited as possible. Since we often work with video and photography on stage, the step from multimedia theatre to video/print exhibition did not seem entirely illogical, although our approach is on the theatrical side.

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