One must construct uninhabitable ambiances, construct the streets of real life, the scenery of daydreams. - Internationale Situationniste (1959)
With a practice that consists mainly of the digital moving image, Inez de Coo uses cinema in all its forms as an entry point to her work. The main focus of her research revolves around finding the various areas where reality and fiction collide. She deconstructs illusions and shows their hidden machinery, while revelling in the pleasure of a good show. The work analyses the attraction of a time gone by in an era where nothing truly original might ever be produced, working around the cinematic apparatus but within the seductive mists of hedonistic enjoyment.
In her videos she applies psychoanalytical theory to discover the meaning behind cinema's obsessions with the past, the abject, the convincingly or unconvincingly artificial, the gaze of the spectator and the observed, and the disintegrating yet still valuable ruins of idealism. It marvels at an industry that began in a wave of excitement and arose as a potential tool for revolution, while now only a cynical machine remains, which deliberately blinds and sedates its audience. It is the reanimated corpse that would pretend nothing was wrong, with deliberate and knowing repression as an ideal. Yet searching within the veils of fantasy remains the only way to find truth in a world that, more than anything, loves to fool itself.
The work takes on elements of a shared social heritage to be regarded as a record of collective memory, using the past to analyse the present through the means of retroaction and anticipation. It celebrates as well as mourns the passing of time and the retention of mere fragments of memory as the human condition. It engages us with a distinct but familiar atmosphere, a kind of reverie or sleepwalking, and becomes reflective of the contemporary neoliberal experience of life, desperate to seek meaning by means of consumption.
However, behind it all lays wide-eyed hope that there can still be value to careful optimism in the creation of agency, opposing the contemporary sense of quietism that has muted any real possibility of resistance. If there is no outside to the apparatus of power, discovering the glimmers of veracity that shine through cinematic fantasy can help to explain the things we desire or fear about the world we live in and provide the only tools left to us for subversion of the status quo.