Karen Mirza and Brad Butler‘s first German solo show, The Unreliable Narrator, opens on the 2nd of May at Champagne Premiere.
Part of the London-based artists’ cornerstone project The Museum of Non Participation, the body of work The Unreliable Narrator is an examination of power, privilege and violence spanning three new installation and video works. Together these works explore the dangers of passively consuming the torrent of pervasive mass-media narratives and entice spectators to question the ability to find a “truth” in the context of war when framed and filtered through media images.”What happens when a frame breaks with itself is that a taken-for-granted reality is called into question, exposing the orchestrating designs of the authority who sought to control the frame” – Judith Butler (Frames of War). A neon sign, You are the Prime Minister (2014), hangs forebodingly over a role of school desks. Atop each is the first page of an entrance exam to England’s elite Eton College, an institution that has famously educated 19 of Britain’s Prime Ministers. Based on an excerpt of a 2011 exam, the would-be prospective candidates are tasked with a singular request: to picture themselves as heads of state in 2040 in order to write a speech justifying “necessary” and “moral” use of military force against civilian protesters.
Behind a curtain that bisects the gallery in two, The Unreliable Narrator (2014) recounts the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks on two screens, alternately from the position of the terrorist and that of a seemingly impartial commentator. The video—sourced from CCTV footage, reenactments from a 2013 Bollywood movie, and audio of the intercepted phone calls between the young gunmen and their controllers in Pakistan whom carried out the attack while on their Blackberries—suggests an attack performed for and enabled by the media for the benefit of news cameras. “This is just a trailer, the main feature is yet to come” assures a boastful voice of a controller.