Mark Aerial Waller


Resistance, Domination, Secret is an installation of 3 video works, each shot in three cities, Istanbul, Warsaw and London. Bringing together ancient and contemporary history, cult film and science fiction, the work is open to constant interpretations. Waller's trilogy is based loosely on the Oresteia, Aeschylus's trilogy of Greek tragedies centering on the murder of Trojan War hero Agamemnon by his wife Clytemnestra.

In the first piece ‘Resistance’ : Resistance Domination Secret, 2007 Waller unravels the plot in the Modern Port of Istanbul, divided by the Bosphorus and centered between Europe and Asia, drawing on the classical potency of the location. Waller visualises the murdered Agamemnon as a disembodied golden mask hovering ominously over hellish flames and chastising his wife from beyond the grave. This golden mask rotates within the installation as Waller's homemade mythological drama is spliced with clips from ‘Les Visiteurs du Soir’(1942), a film made by Marcel Carné during the French occupation, about a pair of 15th-century envoys, Giles and Dominique, sent by the devil to disrupt a wedding feast by seducing the bride and groom. The original film held a covert French Resistance subtext, produced under Nazi occupation during the 2nd World War. Their evil plan fails when one falls in love with his target, prompting the heroine to to enter a bitter existential conflict on the perversion of love. Some 2,000 years divide these two wartime dramas, but both seek to allegorise the violent rupture of a moral order, whether by bloodthirsty ancient warriors or the Nazis

Waller's second work, ‘Domination':The Flipside of Darkness , (2007), roughly corresponds to The Libation Bearers, the second of Aeschylus's plays. The setting has shifted to Warsaw's Palace of Culture and Science. This creates a link between the brutality of the Stalinist regime and that of ancient Greece. As with all Waller's videos, actors have been selected from friends and acquaintances, with an intentional disregard for polished professional acting technique. Furthermore the actors seem awkwardly amateurish and ill-suited to their roles, but paradoxically their failings seem to add sincerity and pathos to the mythological narrative. The murderous plotter, Orestes’s, South London intonation seems to contradict his mother, Clytemnestra's, thick Polish accent, however the maternal bond seems, however unlikely, curiously convincing. Waller develops several layers within this setting, the genre of television drama is sabotaged to reveal openness in an otherwise closed system. Classical mythology finds a new context where objects, landscapes and people compete for dominance in the symbolic order of the frame. With soundtrack by the band‘Romvelope’

In the third piece ‘Secret’:The Children of the Night (2008) Waller heightens the curious connections of inconsistencies throughout the work by crafting bizarre cultural settings for his mythological characters, stripping bare the dramatic to a vertiginous tableau. Orestes is tormented by topless dancers, the Ancient Furies, who wish him torn to pieces. He faces judicial enquiries from the young gods; Apollo and Athena who bring wisdom hand in hand with draconian benevolence.

Finally in the backspace Waller presents ‘ A’ which exists as a key to the trilogy. Displaced heads are removed from Marcel Carné’s 1942 film ‘Les Visiteurs du Soir’. The surrealist vista, which is created, depicts the man, Giles, becoming an introspection of Dominique’s thoughts as he is cut from his background and is framed within Dominique’s profile.

Mark Aerial Waller is currently exhibiting a new solo project 'THE CASSIOPEIA PLAN' at Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge until February 28th. Exhibitions include: Kafe Pitoresk: L’éxperience du Monde Visionnaire, (collaboration with Giles Round) at Serpentine Gallery, and solo pieces; For the Straight Way is Lost, 2nd Athens Biennale, Greece (2009), You have Not Been Honest, Museo D’Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina, Naples, Italy, British Council (2007) and La Societé des Amis de Judex II, Tate Modern, London (2007). His collaborative novel ‘Philip’, A speculative fiction with Cosmin Costinas, Rosemary Heather, Francis McKee, David Reinfurt, Steve Rushton, Heman Chong and Leif Magne Tangen, published by Project press, Dublin in 2007. Waller is also the founder of The Wayward Canon, a platform for event-based interventions in cinematic practices.