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What Will Come, 2007

William Kentridge
South African, 1955
35 mm b/w film transferred to digital video disk (DVD), 8:40 minutes, cold rolled steel table and polished 6 mm steel cylinder
installation dimensions variable
Purchased 2008
National Gallery of Canada (no. 42294)
Photo © NGC

The animated film "What Will Come" stems from William Kentridge’s continuing investigation into the mechanisms of seeing. As he explains: “This process has involved looking at different machines for seeing, machines that make the process of looking self-conscious, in an attempt to chart this mysterious process of looking.” Kentridge has been making anamorphic drawings since 2000. In this technique, which dates from the sixteenth century, an image appears distorted until viewed from a certain angle or with a special device. With "What Will Come", the artist has realized the first animated anamorphic film in the history of the media. The work presents an array of images inspired by the conflict and violence related to the Abyssinian war of 1935-1936. Spinning around like a carousel, the film depicts the “necessities” of war - planes, bombs, and gas masks - as well as more pleasant images such as landscapes, the cosmos, and a self-portrait. The soundtrack of fairground noises and screams of delight is mixed with an Italian marching song favoured by Mussolini’s fascists. In the final scenes, the carousel figures form one of Kentridge’s famous processions where, in his own words, “a raucous band of humanity storms across the world.”

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