In Leiden If I Can’t Dance premiers Gerard Byrne’s new film 1984 and Beyond. Byrne has developed and produced this project in stages throughout the year with If I Can't Dance.
Byrne projects both the film and a series of slides in a two-room installation, to destabilizes the reading of his film by collapsing several representative paradigms from popular culture, film, theatre, sculpture and architecture and interestingly nationality upon each other, demanding first of the actors and then of the viewers a consideration of the ‘credibility’ of each of these registers.
The film documents an enactment of a conversation between twelve science fiction writers that talk about their vision of the future, originally printed in the magazine Playboy in 1963. Byrne re-centres the scene here in the Netherlands with eleven Dutch actors. As a setting he choses two classics of Dutch modernist architecture: Hugh Maaskant's Provinciehuis in Den Bosch and the Sculpture Pavilion of Gerrit Rietveld in the garden of the Kröller Muller museum in Otterlo. The architecture, costumes, furniture and indeed the Barbara Hepworth sculptures dotted around the Rieveld Pavilion, further situate the scene and re-orient the filmed discussion both conceptually and physically. There is a certain playfulness as the artist explores the systematics of filmmaking, the credibility of transforming the magazine text into a screen play and interrogates the relationship between past, present and future.