Turner Prize 2010: The Otolith Group

4 thoughts on “Turner Prize 2010: The Otolith Group”

  1. Thanks for the clear insights. I made a few rough notes as I was watching Otolith III – there were loads of phrases in the narration that I found interesting. I suppose I almost skipped what was actually happening on screen.

    So in the film there are three main characters- the journalist, the industrialist and the boy. Plus ‘the director’. I think I was reading them as being archetypes rather than specific characters. The whole thing had a wizard of oz feel to it, or Pirandello’s ‘Six Characters in Search of an Author’. The characters are searching for the director who refuses to direct them, and thus ‘the film’ (their life?) is failing. The director seems to almost be God, or meaning, for whom the characters search. The boy says to him: “I want more life father”. But the Director doesn’t want to be found, at one point saying to them: “You shouldn’t have come here, you were an experiment. A project I don’t believe in anymore”.

    I see the film as being critical of the world, and our attempts to construct explanation of it, particularly through religion. What if, like in wizard of Oz, it turns out that there is no omnipotent being, “What if the failure of the film has nothing to do with the director”. Everything seems uncertain, the director says “you don’t even exist”.

    I’m not going to attempt to stick any more meaning to the film, I’m sure the Otolith group wouldn’t like it and I’m probably totally missing the discourses they’re engaging with anyway. But these are some other quotes:

    “An event half the people believe happened and the other half don’t believe happened for the wrong reason”

    “Our desire to be images’…of ourselves, for ourselves”

    “What do we look like from the alien’s perspective?”

    “if we go through a process of unlearning by hearing stories without narratives…[the film can succeed]”

    “Your script did not undo the work of political theology but write a new chapter whose effects persists”

    “I’ve been around the world several times and now only banality interests me” (this quote is from the narration in Chris Marker’s ‘Sans Soleil’. Otolith cite Marker’s films as an influence)

    Anyway, let me know what you think.

    1. Josh, I think you’ve got it spot on! I spent ages turning it over in my head, trying to work out if it was about the film or the characters, but it was really about both. If the film didn’t exist, nor did the characters. And I love the idea of the director being like God (although I’m not sure the Otolith Group were thinking that, they seemed to be more focussed on the unrealised story of the characters). And I don’t think it really matters how much of the imagery you took in – they seem to think the two don’t have to be particularly connected.
      I’d be interested to hear what you made of the other artists. Who do you think should get the prize? And who do you think actually will?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s