Jesper Just developped his film installation Intercourses when he represented Denmark at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2003. On that occasion, he took the starting point of the Biennale—representing a country in another country—as the subject of his work. After a successful presentation in the Danish pavilion, he went on to adapt Intercourses for presentations at various other venus: AroS in Aarhus, The Jerusalem Show VII, Bonniers Konsthall in Stockholm and Eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam.
Intercourses is set in a suburb of the Chinese city of Hangzhou, which was built as a full-scale architectural replica of several parisian districts. Just films this setting as though it really is Paris. We see the familiar Haussmann boulevards and the Eiffel Tower, but also Chinese characters on fraffic signs and un-Parisian vacant sites. Is this a future vision of Paris perhaps in ruins? To make matters even more confusing, the characters in the film are not played by Chinese actors, but by Black French actors. The bamboo plants and pink glow of grow lights that Just incorporated into various parts of the installation deepen the sense of strangeness. Just plays an ingenious game with nationality and identity and our sense of place, of location, becomes unstables.
Intercourses is presented on five large screens. Because of their arrangements in space, you cannot view all of them at the same time, not is there a clear chronology. Each viewer must decide which screen to focus on and how to direct their gaze, thereby making their own, individual montage of the film.
The New York design office Wkshps has created a dynamic design for this book, its format and structure capturing his approach to filmic and architectural space within the format of the page.