Emmanuel Van der Auwera: The Sky is on Fire

5 September - 3 November 2019

The Sky is on Fire interrogates digital culture and memory through a virtual reconstruction of the urban landscape. Spectators will be invited to take part in an immersive experience which will plunge them into the heart of Miami. The film trawls the Miami back streets, strangely deadened by the use of a technology that can "scan" the environment using a smartphone, and delivering an account in which only the surface remains. This technology resembles a photograph folded and shaped with the techniques of origami, generating a digitalised reality, fixed outside time, as if the world had been 'backed up'. A camera explores and probes the banality of these reconstituted places, while off-camera we can hear the voice of Chaz, an insomniac city dweller.

Captured on a new media platform on which the anonymous interact live with the unknown, this audio recording expresses the distress of a man alone with a reality that is slipping between his fingers. In the nocturnal torpor of these troubled times, Chaz delivers a rambling and feverish soliloquy, speaking of the permanence of things, technology and its powers, and his own failures. The empty promise of an era resonates in his voice and in the images.
"We are temporary, but what we do is permanent".