Soundtrack, 2013

Basel 2019
Sommer Contemporary Art
One-channel video with sound; 11’50”
Guy Ben Ner, one of Israel’s foremost video artists, makes low-tech films that star his family in absurdist settings carved out of their everyday surroundings. The inception of his film Soundtrack came from an 11-minute audio track of Steven Spielberg’s 2005 film War of the Worlds, based on the classic novel by H.G. Wells, which recounts the Martian invasion of planet earth. Ben Ner’s film uses the original soundtrack as a readymade, unaltered and paired with footage shot in the artist’s kitchen in Tel Aviv. A fire breaks out, cupboard doors fly open, dishes smash, electric appliances go wild. Smashing plates and combusting appliances replace Spielberg’s high-budget alien apocalypse. The documentary filmmaker Avi Mograbi emerges from the refrigerator at one point, while video of recent Israeli conflicts appears on a nearby laptop screen. Ben Ner names this audio-stealing technique ‘budding,’ in contrast to dubbing. The 50-year old artist wrote, directed, filmed, edited, and produced the work himself. ‘The film took seven months to make. You film, then you have to edit and make sure the filmed images fit the sound, and then go back and shoot it again. It’s more like a painting …’