Fatal Act

September 21 - December 7, 2019

Programme Notes


The Douglas Hyde Gallery is proud to present Fatal Act, the first exhibition in Ireland by 13BC, a research collective for moving images co-founded by Vic Brooks, Lucy Raven, and Evan Calder Williams. Fatal Act centres on histories of war, toxicity, and territory, delving into the images and forms of vision inseparable from these histories.

The works that comprise the project, especially the feature-length film Straight Flush, take their bearings from an unlikely exchange of letters that started in 1959, and stretched from Vienna to a Texan veterans’ hospital. These were letters written between Claude Eatherly, the U.S. Air Force pilot whose "all clear" weather report precipitated the bombing of Hiroshima and whose botched robberies after the war landed him in and out of jail and psychiatric care, and Günther Anders, the German anti-nuclear activist and philosopher who fixated on technology's capacity to outpace any human intention. More particularly, Fatal Act takes shape around a film that never came to be: Bob Hope’s attempted biopic of the life and crimes of Eatherly, a film that Anders warned stridently against, arguing that falsifying this most “fatal act” would deprive both the epoch and Eatherly’s own life of their “deadly seriousness."

The exhibition extends from Anders’s rejection of the unmade film to articulate a broader refusal of the iconic images and spectacular aesthetics that shaped public memory and served to dampen revolt against militarisation, pollution, nuclear proliferation, and the exploitation of indigenous land. The works that comprise Fatal Act develop provisional and analogical forms that seek to grapple with these histories without resolving them, tracing paths between prop closets and desert test sites, casinos and waterfalls, Foley studios and Geiger counters, Hollywood sets and military hospitals. 

Fatal Act is composed of four moving works – Straight Flush (2019), Act 1 (2019), When Horses Were Coconuts (2019), and Corpse Cleaner (2016/19); newly commissioned music by American artist and pianist Jason Moran; and an immersive installation that draws on techniques honed by the casino, film, and medical industries to produce varying effects of disorientation, focus, and the loss of any sense of time’s passage.


This exhibition is presented in partnership with 80 Washington Square East gallery, New York University (NYU), New York. 

The exhibition Fatal Act was co-commissioned by 80 Washington Square East gallery and the Rosenkranz Foundation, with additional support from La Biennale de Montréal, and the Center for Land Use Interpretation.

Straight Flush is generously funded by the Rosenkranz Foundation. Co-produced by 80 Washington Square East gallery, with additional support from the Center for Land Use Interpretation.

13BC is a research and production collective for moving images co-founded in 2015 by Vic Brooks, Lucy Raven, and Evan Calder Williams. Their work has been presented at La Grand Balcon, La Biennale de Montréal (2016); Each Aspect of Life Is a Thing of Triad, mumok, Vienna (2016); Fade In: Int. Art Gallery - Day, Swiss Institute, New York (2016); Over You/You, 31st Biennial of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana (2015); and Random Acts, Frieze Film / Channel 4 Television, London (2015). 13BC’s solo exhibition Fatal Act premiered at 80 Washington Square East Galleries, New York University in 2019. 

Vic Brooks is a curator and filmmaker. Alongside co-founding 13BC, she is senior curator of time-based visual art at EMPAC / Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, co-chair of the Contemporary Curatorial Workshop at Williams Graduate Program in the History of Art, and works with the Calder Foundation to commission artists moving image. Brooks has commissioned and produced new works in the expanded field of visual art, moving image, and performance with artists such as Charles Atlas, Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener, Martine Syms, Laure Prouvost, Ephraim Asili, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Clarissa Tossin, and Moved by the Motion (Wu Tsang, boychild, Josh Johnson, Patrick Belaga, Asma Maroof)

Lucy Raven is an artist based in New York. A co-founder of 13BC, her work is grounded primarily in animation and moving image installations. She has had exhibitions and screenings internationally, including at the Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Serpentine Gallery, London; MoMA and PS 1, New York; Portikus, Frankfurt; the Tate Modern, London; and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. A new permanent public artwork recently opened at the Bauhaus Museum in Dessau, Germany on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the school’s founding. She teaches at Cooper Union School of Art in New York

Evan Calder Williams is a writer, theorist, and filmmaker. He is the author of Combined and Uneven Apocalypse; Roman Letters; Shard Cinema; and two forthcoming books, The Negative Archive and Manual Override: A Theory of Sabotage. He is an editor of Viewpoint Magazine and the translator, with David Fernbach, of a new edition of Mario Mieli’s Towards a Gay Communism. His individual and collaborative films, installations, and audio works have been exhibited at the Berlinale, Mercer Union, ISSUE Project Room, the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, and other institutions and festivals. He teaches at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.

Image: 13BC, Act 1 (2019), video still