Dominique González-Foerster b. 1965, Strasbourg, France
Digital color video, with sound, transferred from 35 mm film, 15 min.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund, 2014
The action of González-Foerster’s Plages takes place in Rio de Janeiro on New Year’s Eve, presenting the viewer with a bird’s-eye view of Copacabana’s beach crowded with white-clad revelers gathering for a seasonal firework display. Structured around a sequence of memories that intermingle personal desire with utopian ambitions for the city, it references landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx’s pavement designs and architect Sérgio Bernardes’s plan to build helix-shaped apartment blocks. For González-Foerster, the beach—with its free social movement and fluid boundary between land and sea—is a symbol of possibility. Copacabana could be a utopia, but as it starts to rain and the film nears its end, a local fisherman makes a stark announcement: “Copacabana does not exist.”