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Down With Reality

María Cañas


Taking the form of a false documentary, this piece reflects on the phenomenon of the reality show by means of contemporary art and film.

Today it is almost impossible to turn on the television and not be confronted by one form of another of a reality show. Sooner or later this social phenomenon was to arrive in the art world. In this piece, we watch the artist María Cañas fully immersed in a strange experiment: she is the contestant and recorder of her own reality show.

As part of Mery Cuesta’s curating project “Te mando un colega / I send you a mate”, Cañas lived with Cuesta for a whole week, not having met ever before. The artist videotaped the seven days of conversations, parties, arguments, concerts, joys and tears, to then show it as a video piece. In this work we perceive various, very different realities converge. This then generates a reflection on representation, the capture of the image, the definition of personalities by the mass media and the role of reality shows as creators of different social behaviours. We thus see how the images that result from the difficult cohabitation between artist and curator are introduced into a chain of clips from other television programmes, of fragments of films, bizarre performances, fakes and visual registers of all kinds, creating a work that is both crazy and exciting: a distorted mirror that vomits different aberrations and monsters from those created by reality shows.

Down With Reality presents a subversive reflection on the art world and gauges a very peculiar collective, one who makes of the night its field of (re)creation, the troup of nocturnal creatures who inhabit the bars, art galleries and streets, and who hide within themselves an exhibitionist spirit, which is more or less pathetic. This is a type of exhibitionism which, when we are being taped, we all take pleasure in.

This video contrasts the scarce cultural input of reality shows to the creative force and the sense of immortality that film offers our collective psyche. It makes us think about television’s and film’s capacity to generate models of representation, and realise how our life is saturated with images, people, emotions, fights and affects.

In its final part, the piece pays tribute to those wonderful B Movies, and to the visionary filmmakers who made of minimalism (less cash means  more creativity) their leitmotif. Television in reverse, sociological experiment and multiplicity of realities that converge in this innovative and experimental television format

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Down With Reality
  • Direction: María Cañas
  • Production: María Cañas. 2006.
  • Team:

    Llicència: creative commons CC BY 2.5 ES

  • Duration: 00:21:20
  • Languages: Spanish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Original format: Mini DV
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: NTSC - PAL
  • License: Creative Commons