The Battle of Algiers
by Marc Lafia and Fang-Yu Lin
launched March 1, 06
artport, the Whitney Museum's portal to Internet art
This work recomposes scenes from the 1965 film "The Battle of Algiers" by Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo. The original film is a reenactment of the Algerian nationalist struggle leading to independence from France in 1962. The success of the actual battle for independence has been attributed to the nationalists' organization: a pyramidal structure of self-organized cells. For their project, Lafia and Lin recomposed the film along a cell-based structure, in which French Authority and the Algerian Nationalist cells are represented by stills from the film and move according to different rulesets. When cells of different camps intersect, they trigger video cells displaying each side's tactics (as depicted in the film) according to the rules of the system.
Accompanied by an essay by Daniel Coffeen: "Film, Play, Power and the Computational, or Byting Celluloid: On Marc Lafia's and Fang-Yu Lin's 'The Battle of Algiers'"
"The Battle of Algiers" is the second in a series of three works co-commissioned in collaboration with Tate Online. See http://artport.whitney.org/commissions/new_commissions.shtml
Critical texts and video interviews with the artists will accompany the works at http://www.tate.org.uk/netart/