2008 Biennial

Omer Fast

The Casting, 2007

Video Audio: "I was thinking to myself, ‘Come on. You have to see the burning vehicle. You have to see the Americans shooting. You have to see me pointing my weapon at you. Stop!’ But he didn’t stop. So, I remember leaning over and going, ‘How fast are we going?’ And she just kind of laughed and said, ‘You don’t know anything about love. Did you know that?’’

Omer Fast: “My name is Omer Fast, and I’m talking about my piece, The Casting. When a viewer walks into the room, what he or she immediately sees are two screens hanging from the ceiling.  There are four simultaneous projections. On the front side of the two screens, you see stories that are enacted by actors who are standing still. On the back of the two screens, you see two heads. One of them is a young man who is a sergeant in the US army who is telling a story. And the other head is my head. A viewer coming in will always see the front side with the actors, and so that suspends his or her figuring out how the piece is constructed until they make a turn around the screens and see the back of the screens.”

Video audio: “And they don’t speak a lick of English. So now I’m like, ‘Wow.’ They’re just staring at me. They don’t understand a word I’m saying. They’re talking to me and I don’t understand a word they’re saying. It’s just really uncomfortable.  And its night and there’s not a whole lot of lights because they don’t want us to know that, the people who make the decisions don’t want anybody to know we’re there. So everything is done under cover of darkness.”

Omer Fast: “I use the interview almost as a pool of words from which to edit new sentences and new thoughts that were not said in the interview, both on my part, and on my storyteller’s part. I met with a group of soldiers, young men who had just returned from Iraq. Out of these interviews, I chose one particular person’s stories.  One of them takes place on a road in Iraq, and the other takes place on a road in Germany. And that gave me the idea to sort of start cutting between them.”

Video audio: “But I had met a German girl, beautiful redheaded German girl. And I didn’t know that she was completely, absolutely insane. She would stand on the side of the road, and watch as we drive past, and blow us kisses and stuff, give us a thumbs-up. But you know, she was blowing kisses at us so fast, it looked like she was just slapping herself in the face. It was actually pretty funny, but it was sweet at the same time.”

Omer Fast: “Someone in recalling a memory, in telling a story, is obviously being a storyteller. There are a thousand decisions that are made about what’s remembered. A lot of those decisions are not conscious, of course, but many of those decisions are obviously conscious. And the eyewitness account, the thing that we prize so much in our media, it brings out into the storytelling as part of the piece itself. And it puts it on the same level as the sort of bigger storyteller, if you will, which is I guess me. And I think that the piece, in a sense, by having all these cuts visible, doesn’t try to pretend like this is something the guy said. It takes a little bit of moving, and a little bit of thinking, perhaps, or looking at the piece carefully to realize that  parts of the story had been sort of cobbled together.”

Video Audio: “We’re having a good time, and we’re making out again. And she told me she loved me. And she told me cigarette burn and that was it. I started freaking out…”