Tornado, 2000-2010
Single channel video, color, sound
Ed. of 4

Over the last decade Alÿs made recurrent trips to the highlands south of Mexico City to chase, video camera in hand, the dusty whirls whipped up by the wind in the burnt fields at the end of the dry season. Rumour has it that the genesis of this project was, in fact, a comic quid pro quo: Alÿs overheard a conversation where friends were talking about Don Quixote fighting windmills (in Spanish 'molinos de viento'), but he understood instead tornadoes ('remolinos de viento'). As in Cervantes's work, Alÿs's intent to penetrate the peaceful zone in the epicentre of the tornado illustrates a condition where 'the vanity of the action is paired with its absolute necessity'. Although there are analogies between this chase and the pursuit of mirages in Patagonia, "Tornado" is a convoluted reflection on the struggle for Utopia, which ought to take place in the eye of the tempest. The work is a celebration of the way one's endurance in the pursuit of meaning cannot be ruled by calculation, for then it would turn into a means to an end, rather than be an expression of desire.

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