Bernadette Corporation


    About the artist

    It is the summer of 2001, and the New York and Paris-based collective known as Bernadette Corporation has temporarily merged with Le Parti Imaginaire, a faction of post-situationist militants and intellectuals with links to the burgeoning antiglobalization movement.

    The two groups have their own distinct practices and motivations, but, for the moment, they are united by the idea of making a film, which is to be set in the seaside Italian city of Genoa, amid the protests and stultifying inconclusiveness that will engulf the G8 Summit that July.

    The film resists knowing what it is or wants to be. And so its makers improvise, exploring what they call the "potential of community based on a radical refusal of political identity."

    What results is Get Rid of Yourself, an hourlong cine-tract-cum-documentary centering on the experiences and reflections of the so-called Black Bloc.

    Originating in Germany in the 1980s, the Black Bloc have become a bogeyman of globalization protest culture an umbrella name for the black-clad anarchists who temporarily, and anonymously, convene in places like Genoa. With their symbolic targets and superfluous actions looting supermarkets, ransacking banks the group's "zones offensives d'opacite," as members characterize their tactical goal, have sought to disrupt the deliberations of the more mainstream demonstrators as much as they have the summit meetings themselves.

    Get Rid of Yourself uses the Black Bloc's words and images to portray the fight over globalization as a fiction, a space for losing oneself on purpose. Much of its footage is what might be expected: scenes at the barricades, hooded youths surging and scattering, swarms of cops and tear gas. Other parts of the film are set in the days and weeks just after the protests, when Bernadette Corporation and friends repaired to a quiet Calabrian beach house to take stock of the violence.

    These scenes of country landscapes and low-level leisure provide a melancholy countereffect to Genoa's harsh compression of events. Still other scenes layer fiction on fiction, as when footage from an undisclosed fashion shoot is merged with that of the protestors and their capitalist targets.

    Bernadette Corporation is currently based in New York as a collaborative with three principal members, Bernadette Van-Huy, John Kelsey and Antek Walczak.

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