Curated by Andrea Bellini, Director of Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, and DIS, a New York-based collective (who also participate in the exhibition), there is a notable shift from previous editions, including a reduced number of artists, many of which have collaborated in the past. In this context, the slightly misleading press release hinges on the production of 'entirely new and original' commissions, yet the films by artists Camille Henrot and Akeem Smith were exhibited priorly. In addition, too much autonomy – no overarching concept, no artist/curator boundaries, no informative wall texts, no corridor lighting, no notions of the work’s starting or ending – can be disorienting. Upon entering the separate booths, isolated works, both acted and animated, encourage intimacy and demand attention.
Set in Lake Geneva, the witty Illuminati Detectives (2021) film by New York-based filmmakers Emily Allan and Leah Hennessey pays tribute to Switzerland’s obscured history of the patriarchal predication of witches. Inspired by the Romantic-era, it recounts the story of 19th-century poets Lord Byron and Percy Shelley who, as secret agents (in their spare time amid consuming opium and indulging in incest), discover the female that turns men to stone using her sorcery. Despite demystifying the paranormal, the piece was devised at CERN, the Geneva-based scientific institution. Concealing their American accents with a recreated Britishness, and cross-acting as their male characters, the duo’s otherness is only made more palpable.