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Singularity, 2015

Media installation, Variable dimensions

Albert Serra’s films elude all the usual visual codes. Situated between performance and arthouse cinema, he puts the visual atmosphere before events or what is being told, and he never proposes a closed story or a narrative with a single reading. Serra does not usually work with professional actors or with a closed script.

Faithful to this way of filmmaking, Singularity is a film installation that Albert Serra created to represent Catalonia at the Venice Biennale in 2015, in a project curated by the art historian and curator Chus Martínez. It is a multiscreen projection distributed across different dark spaces that visitors can explore at their own discretion. Like all of his works, the film does not have an easy narrative; the story is fragmented and long (the version shown in Venice had a run time of 12 hours, and the one subsequently installed in the Palau de La Virreina in Barcelona had a run time of 13 hours), and it requires concentration and some degree of effort. Given the principle that reality requires more than one code to be interpreted, and that an artist should not be limited to representing but should instead activate possibilities, Serra’s films never permit a linear viewing. Nor do they lack irony, humour, the plastic beauty of the images or a certain climate of mystery.

Serra begins with the mathematical concept of ‘singularity’, also used in artificial intelligence to describe the moment in the relationship between humans and machines when technology stops being a tool and becomes a companion. In the first scene of the film, some kinds of drone fly over the Earth while an on-screen subtext tells us that these autonomous machines should be given the “right” to use force without any human intervention. If a drone can take decisions about death, then it can also fall in love with one of us. 

From this starting point, the camera follows a mixed group of people in proximity to a mine, a businessman and a brothel. Without a defined identity, the characters, all with a homosexual relationship, have conversations about betting, money, personal profit, interest and the future. With scenes of a certain mystery set in a non-specific time, the film follows the random future of this group. At the presentation of the film in Venice, the director said: “It’s not so much a dramaturgy of action or representation, but rather of presence.” And also: “The relationship between content and form is the issue at stake here. It’s the first time I’ve built a fictitious world around an idea: the singularity that defines the contemporary relationship between man and machines. My raw material is the actors; it’s the only thing I shape, but it’s a remote manipulation. I never give instructions while filming, and the atmosphere is gradually created in real time through the dialogues and the interaction.”

Technical details

Original title:
Registration number:
Serra, Albert
Date created:
Date acquired:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
Object type:
Media installation
Five-channel digital video, colour, sound, 181 min 45 s
Variable dimensions
Edition number:
Ed. 1/5 +2 P.A.
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation. Work purchased thanks to Agrolimen
© Albert Serra
It has accessibility resources:

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