The Landscape is Changing (2003)
video, colour, with sound, 22:07 min
edition of 5

A project for the 2003 Tirana Biennial, for the film The Landscape is Changing (2003) Mircea Cantor composed a pseudo-demonstration resembling the various protests he encountered in Tirana, Albania. In this documentary-like film, the artist took a detached view of the act of protest, wondering how it was possible to criticize reality while neither affirming nor denying anything. Rather than providing any political or social demand, he constructed a neutral protest by replacing the protestor’s placards with mirrors. This disruption allowed participants to reflect only the landscape, an undeniable and unbiased truth.

The film opens with a typical street scene. Gradually, a group of young people appear, each holding a flimsy but reflective panel up to their faces. They march down the street as a single unit composed of numerous individuals while cars drive by and people go about their business. It becomes a silent protest; the urban and human reality reflected in the demonstrator’s panels becomes the fleeting content of their protest. 

The procession is both progressive and unobtrusive as the group periodically comes to a standstill. The panels, though flimsy and disfiguring, stand in for the absence of a targeted protest. Cantor articulates his position by holding these mirrors up to society. While poking fun at protests as a cultural critique, this work questions their validity within a political climate. Can public demands create change?

The Landscape is Changing (2003) has been exhibited at The Philadelphia Museum of Art; SFMOMA, San Francisco; Magasin III, Stockholm; De Appel Centre of Contemporary Art, Amsterdam; and the artist’s solo exhibition at rennie museum in 2014, among others.

Back to the video exhibition