M . A . G . N . E . T is the title of the latest film by Basim Magdy (Egypt, 1977), a commission for MAAT’s Video Room. The film is a historiographic metafiction that short-circuits past, present and future in a fictional narrative full of ambiguity and mystery. The plot describes how different individuals and communities face the news of an increase in the planet’s gravity — one of the four fundamental forces of nature – describing in a poetic, yet realistic way, a series of unexpected events and situations that take place in different locations and contexts.
Using several effects and cinematic techniques, Magdy leads us into a series of bleak and seemingly abandoned places in a truly immersive and unsettling sensory experience. The centrepiece of a project that unfolds in several formats that occupy and interact with the Video Room’s architecture, the film was shot over a period of almost two years in different locations in Europe, including a volcanic crater on the Greek island of Nisyros, a robotics laboratory in Manchester, the Côa Valley Archaeological Park, and the Dino Park in Lourinhã, which taken out of their historical and geographical contexts are presented as a purely fictional (and disruptive) background that serves the narrative.
A multidisciplinary artist with a vast and established production in the field of moving image, Basim Magdy creates complex narratives between fiction and reality, overlapping different layers of meaning and significance: social, environmental, political and economic. In this project, we are, in some vast and remote way, invited to reflect upon climate change and global warming and on the impact they are having on the planet, how they have the potential to unleash numerous catastrophes and environmental calamities that can render the earth uninhabitable for humans.
M . A . G . N . E . T, the longest film ever made by the artist, is a reflection on the current situation that projects us into a future and hypothetical scenario. An oracular metaphor that warns us of an announced and impending catastrophe or the natural cycle of the earth's revolution?