Liverpool Biennial 2010: Marianna Mørkøre and Rannvá Káradóttir's Magma in the Nordic Pavillion as part of City States in the NOVAS Contemporary Urban Centre.

Contemporary Urban Centre

Art When it first opened/began broadcasting, Channel 4, faced with the twin dilemma of a charter obligation to service minority interests and fill hours of television with a tiny budget, offered a far more eclectic set of programmes than we're used to now.  As anyone who's watched the rather good Adam and Joe survey will know that included some fairly way out material, the likes of Naked Yoga, Laurie Anderson and Countdown with its rumoured Alejandro Jodorowsky's The Holy Mountain broadcast in the same timeslot as our generation's version, Grand Designs.

I wasn't old enough to appreciate any of this of course, watching Moonlighting and Dallas on the other side instead.  I've often wondered what my reaction would be and I hope and expect it would something akin to the enthusiasm with which I greeted Marianna Mørkøre and Rannvá Káradóttir's Magma, a five minute short film exploring minimalist movement projected behind a screen in the Nordic Pavilion (more of a room hidden at the back of one of the exhibition spaces) which was a mix of "Oh wow" and "Oh this must have been what it was like to see O Superman for the first time" and "I can't wait to see what else they've done."

This trailer offers just a flavour of what is one of my favourite pieces of the Biennial.  In Magma, a group of girls portray what might be futuristic nuns lost on a kind of manic retreat in the wilderness (or the Faroe Islands) taking part in a ritual that looks like it has the capacity to shake the foundations of the planet.  After a time, some kind of initiation ceremony takes place, perhaps suggesting the moment when a girl becomes a woman, but it's not clear.   Nothing's clear, but for once, because the imagery is so mesmerising both in terms of editing and lighting, I don't care, I just let it wash over me.

Just the sort of thing to fill the gap between Ken Loach's latest Film on 4 and Club X, alongside a rerun of some ancient Bunuel/Dali effort defaced by a red triangle in the corner of the screen.  Shot on 8mm, featuring dancers in strange costumes against a barren landscape and employing haphazard editing, a less intended reference point is the behind the scenes footage and production stills that appear in the extras on Doctor Who dvds, perhaps for some lost 60s Troughton, featuring some cousins of the Drahvins ready to fight off an attack by the Yeti, a suitably stimulated Fraser Hines just off camera waiting for the end of the rehearsal.

Until 30th November.

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