Date/Time: 16/12/2003 12:00 am
Two Days to Apocalypse
14 – 28 December, 2003
Performing and Visual Arts Department
The American University in Cairo
The fictional character of Superman embodies the idea of the quintessential hero. As a human endowed with the powers of a god he always manages to save the world from evildoers. Basim Magdy’s ‘ Two Days to Apocalypse ‘ is an animation that explores hidden assumptions and expectations implicit in constructions of heroism and empowerment presented by mass media.
A sequence of unrelated misfortunes is depicted using rudimentary black and white animation. Throughout various absurd scenarios Superman appears repeatedly in the background, flying in transit from one event to the next on his way to what appears to be a worthier mission. This quest culminates when he finally confronts his eventual fate.
Magdy’s “Two Days to Apocalypse” depicts a fabricated world that has turned awry. In this nonsensical space, categories of good, evil, right and wrong appear simplistic, and the value judgment imbedded in the rhetoric of mass media is exposed. By using the language of animation conventionally associated with child entertainment, portrayals of violence are both masked and neutralized, echoing the de-sensitizing effect of media repetition.
Born in Assiut in 1977, Basim Magdy lives and works in Cairo. His body of work employs murals, painting, video and photography to deconstruct representations of war, military and heroism in mass media and entertainment. He constructs familiar images from news channels, movies, comics and video games to underscore the absurdity and contradiction inherent in our visual culture.
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