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Storm Arnold


Recreational Grounds: Off Site
Curated by Fiona Grady, Anna Lytridou and Tim Ralston

Exhibition Dates: 29 May-13 June 2021

Text written by Hector Campbell;
The climax of Paul Verhoeven’s martian science-fiction epic Total Recall sees Arnold Schwarzenegger’s conflicted construction worker Douglas Quaid singlehandedly activate a subterranean reactor to liberate a source of storedoxygen, thus rendering the planet’s atmosphere breathable and it’s population saved. Whilst depicted as the films brave and heroic
denouement, it is the potentially problematic ethics that underpin this fiction terraformation that moving image artist Ted Le Swer uses as the starting point for his latest short film project. In ‘Storm Arnold’, Nottingham-born, London-based Le Swer focuses on a quartet of unseen and unheard characters either unseen, in the 1990’s original.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s stunt double, two ‘so-called’ mutant extras and the, now anthropomorphised, atmosphere unite to reenact scenes from Total Recall by way of mining their ecological memory in order to build a collective resilience against the film’s preordained narrative. Le Swer similarity investigates narrative dominance through his filmmaking style, which utilises green screen, prosthetics, costume & set design and computer-generated imagery to deconstruct the accepted production process. ‘Storm Arnold’ contains no oral dialogue, with Le Swer relying instead on the characters ability to converse through choreographed movement, assisted by a soundtrack of ambient electronica and original sound effects from ‘Total Recall’.