The late 1960s, a time of ideological struggle and social activism, are a reference point for a number of artists in the Biennale. In Final Machine, Amanda Beech draws inspiration from French Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser’s lectures “The Spontaneous Philosophy of the Scientists,” delivered in Paris in the months immediately preceding the May 1968 uprising: lectures that sought to reposition philosophy as a revolutionary weapon. The three-channel video and architectural installation counterposes Althusser’s critique with excerpts from the script of Miami Vice and a CIA indoctrination lecture. The effect is discordant yet unified through the insistent declarations of a single narrator, whose voice appears mediated by a radio communications system.
The voiceover, which follows the video as it moves from screen to screen, is punctuated by gunfire, metaphorically ricocheting off the three references. The narrator’s authoritative “bullet points” link to visuals of deserts, jungles and freeways, intermittently perforated by the dot form. The claustrophobic and oppressive scenario established feels omnipresent, thereby resisting allusions to history or possibilities of escape through an alternative future. Final Machine both simulates and pushes against a disordered and overdetermined world where conflicting and shorthand constructs of reality are engendered by language and representation.