Candice Breitz’s current exhibition "Candice Breitz: Same Same" at The Power Plant in Toronto includes the premiere of the first works in Factum, a series commissioned by the gallery. Named after a pair of paintings by Robert Rauchenberg, Factum I and Factum II (both 1957), that appear indistinguishable but reveal differences on closer inspection, Breitz’s Factum consists of interviews with identical twins, found by placing ads on craigslist in Toronto and in the city’s alternative weekly. Each set of twins appears side by side one another on matching monitors, hung portrait-style. Breitz spoke to each sibling separately about their lives, but using similar questions, then edited the discussions so the pair’s words and gestures play off one another, highlighting both parallels and departures. The college-age Kang sisters, for example, diverge when discussing whether one twin has had a tendency to look up to the other, while a set of seventy-something siblings tell complementary stories of getting not-quite-matching rounds of plastic surgery over the years. Each piece runs roughly an hour, feeling like deftly structured documentaries unto themselves.
Prior to the opening of Same Same—her first major solo survey in North America—Breitz gave a sneak preview of a few freshly-edited examples from Factum at the Toronto Film Festival in a talk called “The Origins of Factum,” part of the festival’s Future Projections sidebar, which focuses on the intersections of cinema and the visual arts. In addition to a discussion with TIFF co-director Noah Cowan, Breitz screened a number of clips from cinematic works that informed the creation of her latest work. The following are excerpts from a transcript of her talk, including three of the films she screened. - Ed Halter
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Nowadays, those who want to display themselves do it on YouTube in the YouTube video format. What does this format offer to amateur dancers, strippers or porn actors? Several minutes of do-it-yourself footage, untouched by an editor or a camera operator. This last thing is even more important to us voyeurs than the feeling of authenticity that comes from the lack of editing: it gives us several seconds to look around in someone else’s room, a moment or two when the camera is already switched on, but the actor (who also doubles as a camera operator) hasn’t entered the frame yet. These are the sweetest moments.
In the summer of 2007, a German rapper and a debutant net artist Dennis Knopf opened a channel on YouTube that he named Bootyclipse. Every video broadcasted on that channel consists of those candid moments, prolonged to 40-60 seconds. Dennis has collected fragments from more than twenty videos where a girl who is going to shake her booty in front of a camera has not appeared in the frame yet, and looped these moments, leaving the music to play in real time.