Cécile B. Evans @ Tramway

AMOS' WORLD is the most ambitious installation yet by Belgian-American artist Cécile B. Evans, and deconstructs an emotional and challenging feature length film into episodes spread across a large scale installation in the Tramway main space

Review by Adam Benmakhlouf | 01 Feb 2019
  •  Cécile B. Evans, AMOS' WORLD, Tramway 2019

In Cécile B. Evans' Tramway show, a complicated narrative is spread across three cinema-scale projection screens. There are large viewing structures that parallel an ambitious building that is at the centre of the film, AMOS' WORLD. The paradox is set out that Amos as a single architectural genius attempts individually to mastermind the conditions for community, and most of the characters reside in the resultant building.

It becomes clear that the many different architectural flourishes of the building have failed grotesquely. For example, the Solarium is full of bird corpses that have burned up over the solar panels. The building is thus to be demolished. These plans are then frustrated in part by the machinations of four computer-animated daffodils that join a resistance force/terrorist organisation, The Rainbow Connection.

This summary is a reduction of the narrative and visual embellishments that have surprising effects on the more conventionally cinematic elements of the film. Take the puppet that plays Amos, for instance. He is rendered and operated with delicacy and care; his microgestures giving an insight into his agitation. There is also the formal decision to dub the entire film, and the daring of the final formal upheaval that reduces the film set to a sparse stage.  

Without the narrative separation of walled setpieces, and in a climax of poignant simultaneity, in the final scene the camera pans from a tense exchange of judgment and justification to a long tender stare shared by two characters who are enjoying the rapport of newfound empathy, as the dubbed audio from the initial exchange continues to play. The formal experimentations here combine to draw out a moment of filmic expression of one of the final key principles: community that can survive and thrive from radical difference.

Until 16 March at Tramway, Glasgow