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Germany; Indoor Pool "Tropical Islands" in Berlin Brandenburg; Tourist watching the evening show. ©  Reiner Riedler / Anzenberger

Germany; Indoor Pool "Tropical Islands" in Berlin Brandenburg; Tourist watching the evening show. © Reiner Riedler / Anzenberger

Nuclear Test on Bikini Atoll

Nuclear Test on Bikini Atoll

Lenscratch was right to single out the work of Reiner Riedler from the 50 chosen artists of Critical Mass at Photolucida, Portland, Oregon.

The search for the authentic undertaken by the tourists of Fake Holidays creates paradoxically inauthentic (“anti-authentic”) spaces. Invariably, engagement with these theatre-sets of leisure is as spectator. Of the audience, the spectacle requires passive acceptance and, to some degree, a surrendering of their self identities as agents of change.

Many of Riedler’s images are caustic in their humour but others are flat out depressing. “Tropical Islands” reminded me of the images of 50’s movie-goers in 3-D glasses; fun at the time but now cut into apocalyptic montages of human division, destruction and powerlessness.

Riedler’s image suggest little progression since the late colonial exploitations of Europe in the South Pacific. It is as if he turned the camera 180 degrees on its tripod, eradicated half a century, added colour and caught the masses still gawping.

Furthermore, “Tropical Islands” can be read as a simulation of the defacement of human existence. The fake plastic trees, sealed dome architectural skin and industrial spotlights have me imagining these people kicking back on their loungers as a nuclear winter takes hold outside their chlorinated, hemispherical world. It is as if the only method of survival in this radioactive-proof conch is to relive (in full surround-sound) the astounding beauty of the awesome act that drove them to their hermetically sealed lives.

Also, while we are on the topic of nuclear holocaust, you should listen to Nitin Sawhney’s Beyond Skin.

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