Michael Blum (at): The Three Failures
The critical appropriation and subversion of historical narratives is an artistic strategy that recently acquired significant presence in contemporary art. Michael Blum masters this field by attributing wit and humour to his works in various
media – video, installation, and publications. In the video ‘The Three Failures’, Blum performs a playful take on the ramifications of the grand ideologies of the 20th century, and entwines them in an absurdist fairy tale: a male figure, dressed in a white fur jacket and orange pants, walks around numerous housing blocks and corners. He recites an openair lecture comprised of numerous quotations, a breathless riff that conspires with anecdotes and hints to explain the past failure of communism, the allegedly ongoing failure of social democracy and the forthcoming decline of capitalism. Shot in Riga (Latvia), Malmö (Sweden) and New York (USA), the cities represent the respective political systems at a given moment in history, shrinking to the size of a single street block by means of Blum’s seamless editing. ‘The Three Failures’ is an intellectually challenging and at times openly whimsical re-reading of the production of modern history and its social utopias.