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Francis Alys: When Faith Can Move Mountains [Hardcover]

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Item description for Francis Alys: When Faith Can Move Mountains by Francis Alys & Cuauhtemoc Medina...

As essayist Cuauhtamoc Medina puts it, "A desperate situation requires an absurd solution." On April 11, 2002, 500 volunteers (mostly students from the University of Lima) were supplied with shovels and asked to form a single line at the foot of a giant sand dune in Ventanilla, an area outside of Lima. This human comb moved the 1600-foot-long sand dune about four inches from its original position. When Faith Can Move Mountains attempts to translate social tensions into narratives that in turn intervene in the imaginary landscape of a place. Instead of following the classic model of an artist or exhibition catalogue, this book focuses on the conjunction between the social and historical conditions that the work appropriated, and the metaphoric analysis that the intervention put in motion. Through images (such as photos of the event and drawings for the project) and text (including letters and documents of the intervention) this publication, reminiscent of a science book, narrates the facts and concepts of the work.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   182
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 7.75" Height: 10.75"
Weight:   2.1 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   May 15, 2005
Publisher   Turner
ISBN  8475066399  
ISBN13  9788475066394  

Availability  0 units.

More About Francis Alys & Cuauhtemoc Medina

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Francis Alys was born in Antwerp, Belgium, in 1959. Trained as an architect, Alys moved to Mexico in 1986 and within a few years began to work as a visual artist. Known initially for his paintings, Alys has also become a highly regarded video artist, interventionist and performance artist. His work received a great deal of attention in 2002, when he staged a ceremonial procession commemorating The Museum of Modern Art's move from midtown Manhattan to its temporary home in Long Island City, Queens. Alys has also exhibited work in group exhibitions at The Hayward Gallery, London, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Sciences > Earth Sciences
2Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Other Media > Conceptual
3Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Artists, A-Z > General
4Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Professional Science > Earth Sciences > Geology

Reviews - What do customers think about Francis Alys: When Faith Can Move Mountains?

symbolic, restorative community project in Peru  Feb 27, 2008
In 2002, 500 Peruvian volunteers, mostly students at the University of Lime, gathered in a long line by a giant sand dune on the outskirts of Lima. In the period after the end of the lengthy, troublesome autocracy of Peru's leader Fujimora, the tensions caused by his regime continued to unsettle Peruvian society. Many continued to feel anger over the violence and coercion of the Maoist Shining Path radical group. The largely-ignored poor were looking for answers to their conditions. Rival groups clashed in the streets of the major cities. And lawlessness was threatening to further fray Peru's historically-precarious social fabric.

In this atmosphere, the artist-activist Francis Alys got the idea for a large-scale community project--namely the moving of the mountain of sand. This impractical project was intended to be not only symbolic of the power of persons working together toward a goal, but also a model of a physically challenging activity to release pent-up angers and thwarted hopes and reorient these toward something productive. Alys' idea attracted much attention, and accomplishing its symbolic aim and immediate purposes. As the sand dune and the hundreds of volunteers moving it but a few inches around its edges were visible from the impoverished shanty towns set up by rural Peruvians fleeing Shining Path, the project's message was absorbed by this dislocated, restive population especially seeking new ideas, activities, and directions.

The planning, execution, and the intentions and hopes entailed in the impractical, encouraging outsized project are covered in the varied content of interviews with the project leaders, remarks by many of the student participants, and commentary by other activists and artists involved in different ways giving different perspectives. The many photographs and illustrations from topological drawings of the sand dune, the long line of volunteers at work, and faces of individuals convey the varied psychological, political, and social aspects of the imaginative project. A collage-like format represents the anomalies and multiple aspirations of this unique project with aspects of performance art and social ritual.

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