Anu Pennanen’s La ruine du regard (The Ruins of the Gaze) is a 5-screen architectonic video installation about the historic Les Halles, Europe’s biggest metro station/shopping centre complex, in Paris. The Metro station’s central traffic interchange has been nicknamed ‘Le Flipper’. The pinball metaphor aptly depicts the uncertain, violent character of the liberal world: stay in the game as long as possible, follow the rules, and be ready to be hurled out at any moment. The people coming face to face at Les Halles are caught between endlessly judgemental gazes, social conflicts and history, right at the centre of the city of the image. The installation’s five irregularly shaped, sculpture-like screens form a space of intersecting perspectives. Distinguishable amid the mass of humanity in the enormous building complex are a few individuals who momentarily break out of the ongoing, grinding pulse of everyday life, to become untouchable.Pennanen has made La ruine du regard in collaboration with Parisians of various ages and with young film students from the suburb of Aubervilliers. This new work concludes her eight years of working in European shopping centres and public spaces. La ruine du regard is the third part of a trilogy, the first two parts being Monumentti Näkymättömälle (A Monument for the Invisible) shot in Helsinki, 2003, and Sõprus – Дружба (Friendship), shot in Tallinn, 2006. The central theme of the whole trilogy is gaze. It starts with the blind protagonist’s cane in Helsinki’s glossy new center, passes by the curious regards of teenagers, who meet each others in the historically dense urban Tallinn, and ends up in the overpopulated central metro station of Paris, where hundreds of thousands of gazes cross each other everyday.
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