The Trick Brain

Atkins, Edward. 2012. The Trick Brain. [Film/Video]

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Creators: Atkins, Edward
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The Trick Brain is a video that was exhibited at the 2013 Venice Biennale’s main pavilion exhibition, ‘The Encyclopedic Palace’, curated by Massimiliano Gioni. It was originally made for an exhibition at Isabella Bortolozzi Galerie in Berlin in May 2012 called 'The Big Inexplicable Paravent Illusion' but was re-edited, polished and subtitled in English for the Biennale.

The work was inspired by, and incorporated photographic material from, an auction catalogue of the sale of André Breton's personal library, art and artifact collection. The entire contents of his home at 42 Rue Fontaine, Paris, were sold at this auction in 2003. Its catalogue spanned several volumes, indexing everything from old tobacco to Joan Miró paintings. The catalogue was in a DVD-ROM format, including a video tracking steadily across the objects in the apartment. This became the primary visual material for the video.

The original footage had seemed disinterested in the location’s historical context, merely documenting auction lots in situ rather than creating the emotional, spiritual or memorial connections between objects that Breton himself may have valued. I first wrote an accompanying narrative to the footage in order to salvage something of the context of this collection and to eulogise its loss to sale. I then edited the footage to go with this narration, which now constitutes the soundtrack. The other source of footage is from an auction at Christie’s in which an ornate, bejeweled, clockwork toy gun sold for $5 million, and seemed to perfectly represent the absurdity, melancholia and violence of bidding games at auction.

The work has had a UK premiere at the London Film Festival in October 2013, and was recently acquired by the National Gallery of Scotland, where it will be on display for the next six months.

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Item ID: 9373
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2013 14:40
Last Modified: 23 May 2016 15:06


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