Inextinguishable Fire Premieres at 2016 Sundance Film Festival

The installation from Canadian, Los Angeles-based artist Cassils uses techniques borrowed from Hollywood stunts to speak to the violence of war.

Inextinguishable Fire put a match under our certainties and perceptions, making you confront what you might prefer to ignore.” – The Guardian

An installation of the film Inextinguishable Fire created by Cassils, will make its U.S. premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. The piece will be displayed as part of the New Frontier program in Park City, UT, from January 21-31 in Park City.  

Inextinguishable Fire aims to make spectators engage with the media’s often constructed images of violence and war. Witnessing it’s impact in the form of a slow motion video displaying Cassils being set on fire, this performance for the camera features the artist engaged in a treacherous fire stunt. The final film makes the stunt’s theatrics as visible as the ostensible risk. Using techniques borrowed from Hollywood stunts, the 14-second live burn is extended to 14 minutes of slow motion flame, shot at 1000 frames per second. Slowing the burn down requires the viewer to spend time in a world reduced to fleeting headlines on our Twitter and Facebook feeds. At New Frontiers Inextinguishable Fire plays on a continual loop, first forward and then reverse, referencing the cycles of political uprising and apathy, life and death, ignition and extinguishment. The title of the piece references Harun Farocki’s eponymous 1969 film, which reflects on the impossibility of effectively representing the horror of napalm on film. Though the stunt is a simulation of violence, it still presents real danger. This possibly volatile situation is captured to create an image where immanent physical danger, empathy for those experiencing violence, and the privilege of distance from such circumstances operate simultaneously in one transparent performance.