two channel video, 4k, 21:13 min.
The two-channel video (authenticity) by Offert Albers explores the notion of originality and authenticity by looking at the example of a design object: the EA108 Aluminum Chair, originally designed by Charles and Ray Eames. In the video we follow two people who bought one of these chairs second-hand and now reconstruct together how they inspected it to determine its originality. In the video, the evolution of the design is shown against the backdrop of a legal dispute: the two possible producers, ICF and Vitra, competed over the European market. In the 1980s, ICF lost the right to produce the chair and only Vitra was allowed to continue manufacturing it. Both companies subsequently claimed the label "original" for them, defining it on the basis of criteria they had created themselves. Thus, the protagonists search for distinctive features, such as the (non-)presence of screws, stickers or seams, which could indicate one or the other origin. But with each seemingly distinct discovery, the question of authenticity becomes more complicated: Who, after all, has the authority to answer it?
Over the course of the work, the initial question regarding the chair's authenticity becomes obsolete and remains unanswered. Instead, (authenticity) thematizes the usage of the term and its function. For this purpose, the artist employs a visual language that resembles that of advertising or image films. This is broken up by blurred scenes in which the camera is refocused on other details. Is "original" synonymous with quality or is the whole matter a finely edited marketing strategy? Using the exemplary story of the EA108, Offert Albers creates a deconstructive moment which questions the legitimacy and ascribed value of the concept of authenticity.
Text by Hannah Niemeyer