David Rych

Border Act

David Rych’s work is primarily concerned with issues related to the construction of identity with a special focus on reality, questioning knowledge production and representation, and references to political contexts. His films address issues in connection to the constitution and construction of “society”, whereby the type of documentary format chosen essentially depends on the specific topic. Thus the documentary genre and its different variations—as well as the underlying conditions of film productions as such—become a subject of discussion as well.

People are more and more aware of their potential roles as media protagonists—performance is an integral part of our reality, whether we are being filmed by a camera or not. A pre-cinematic state of being unobserved, a reality existing before its dramatization and reproduction by the media, is difficult to locate in this day and age and does not appear to be very in-demand, either. Documentary films show a clear trend towards enactment. Fictional elements used in a documentary may create affective emotions and dramaturgical suspense that have long since been part of the illusion traditionally associated with the feature film industry. Reenactments, set designs and archive materials enable new forms of expression in documentaries when it comes to the utilization and construction of events or personalities, blurring the dividing line between two once strictly separated genres. Yet in politically motivated films, the fictionalization of reality is a stylistic device that helps imbue a reflexive film with an explicit message and illustrate aspects of reality; aesthetic decisions in this context have a political dimension.

David Rych’s residency at Büchsenhausen was spent working on preparations for his film Border Act. The film would feature a casting session for amateur actors to play illegal migrants in the project. Border Act was inspired by the practice of British director Peter Watkins, who assigned real-life roles to the protagonists. The project is mainly about creating a set of conditions that offer the protagonists a space for exploring aspects of their personality and related social and political viewpoints, whereby the freely-developing plot becomes integrated in the fictional framework of the project: “Where the staged scenario starts to crack, or has been designed to crack, a new space opens, providing an opportunity to critically assess the present and deal with the new social structures defined by politics, the media and the public.”
(Text source: David Rych)

While the financially demanding project could not be completed during Rych’s residency, both the artist and Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen continue to pursue the realization of the film.

David RYCH (*1975 in Innsbruck), lives in Berlin. He studied at the University of Innsbruck (1993-95), the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna (1995-2001) and the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem (1999/2000) and completed postgraduate study at the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Marseille (2004/05). Rych participated in Manifesta 8 (2010/11) and the Berlin Biennal (2012).