Uncheck the box to avoid the aggregation and analysis of your behaviour data collected on this website. Done
Looking for something specific?
Just start typing anywhere to search anything.

Yours, KOW

Deserted – Episode 1, 2023

Multimedia installation

The multimedia installation Deserted – Episode 1 (2023), comprising of photos, video and text, takes us to Western Sahara, a territory that is under illegal occupation by the neighbouring country of Morocco. While half the people of Western Sahara have fled the territory since Morocco’s invasion in 1975, its resources are today still commercialized by Morocco.

Since 2011, Mario Pfeifer has repeatedly travelled to Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony on the Atlantic coast of Northwest Africa. In 1965, the UN called for decolonization and a referendum on self-determination for the people living there. Although Spain withdrew in 1975, they left the entire area to the countries of Morocco and Mauritania for division in the so-called Madrid Accord. Mauritania withdrew in 1979, and officially the US and EU support the UN resolutions. Nevertheless, several countries can still conclude trade agreements that affect the territory of Western Sahara with Morocco without sanctions.

Deserted – Episode 1, is a conglomerate of works dealing with the ongoing illegal occupation, the plight of the displaced population, and the sale of natural resources by Morocco. The subject matter is presented cartographically and chronologically; the most significant historical facts are arranged on a timeline, while various conflict areas are identified on a map. Pfeifer shows two photo series depicting the city of Dakhla: once the original coastal city located in the occupied territory today, and the camp in Algeria named after it because it housed the people arriving from Dakhla.

Also on display is a new video work: In A Garden That Means More Than a Garden (2023), in which a man, Taleb, who came to a refugee camp at the age of five in 1975 and returned there after his studies abroad, tells of his life as a displaced person, his gratitude for the reception and support in Algeria, and his hope that the Sahrawis may one day return to their homeland. For Taleb, this hope drives him to actively prepare for better times: as a graduate in agricultural sciences, he conceived a successful small-scale closed-loop economy in a desert under the most difficult conditions, producing enough food for self-sufficiency.

2 x 25 B/W Monochrome Archival Inkjet Print
each 20x25 cm

4K video, stereo 2.0, color
11:00 min, looped

  • INDEX:

Mario Pfeifer

Mario Pfeifer was born in 1981 in Dresden, Germany. His work explores representational structures and conventions in the medium of film, in locations ranging from Mumbai to California to the Western Sahara. Conceiving each project out of a specific cultural situation, he researches social-political backgrounds and weaves further cross-cultural art historical, filmic and political references into a richly layered practice, ranging from film and video installations to photographs and text installations. Often, Pfeifer collaborates on publications that reconsider these projects, offering research materials and critical investigations by writers and thinkers of related fields, concerning issues suggested in his projects for a wider social-political discussion. After his studies in Leipzig (HGB) and Berlin (UDK), Pfeifer graduates from Willem de Rooij's class at Städelschule Frankfurt in 2008. He is a Fulbright fellow in Los Angeles (California Institute of the Arts) in 2008/09. Further grants and projects lead him to Bangkok, Mumbai, Marrakesh, Beirut, Tierra del Fuego, Santiago de Chile, and New York. Mario participated in the 10th Berlin Biennale (2018), the 11th Bienal do Mercosul (2017), the 3° Montevideo Bienal (2016) as well as the 4th Marrakesh Biennal (2012). Survey exhibitions took place in 2016 at the GfZK Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig and in 2019 at The Power Plant Toronto. In 2019 IDFA commissioned the first performance work AGAIN – Live which premiered at Amsterdam's Pakhuis de Zwijger. Pfeifer lives in Berlin and Dresden. In 2023 Pfeifer was awarded the Hessian Film- and Cinema award in the categorie "Best Short Film" for "Zelle 5 - Eine Rekonstruktion".

Full Biography