Taking an extended view of time as a starting point, Nikolai Nekh, in Achilles' Heel, embarks on a journey narrated by a ghostly figure who visits different civilizational, social, political, economic and ideological contexts to weave together a speculative analysis of the inter-relations between the industries and technologies of raw materials and energy sources and the representation of movement.
In the video, the artist invokes classical history, the collapse of Greek city-states, philosophical references (such as Plato's Cave) and architectural monuments such as the Parthenon and the Taj Mahal, as well as the emergence of ancient and modern imperial powers, colonialism, the invention of the steam engine and oil exploration in Siberia. In this evocative setting, Achilles and his proverbial heel take on a decidedly symbolic importance that transposes the vulnerability and fragility of the Greek hero onto a historical narrative of technological and industrial progress.
Distancing itself from both an optimistic vision and a fatalistic view of human action, Achilles' Heel is a reflection on the relationship between man and nature, the consequences of technological possibilities on social equilibria, and the importance and meaning of economic and ecological sustainability in the evolution of humanity today. It is also a work that interpellates the viewer, inviting them to re-interpret myth and reflect on the materials of both history and the image.
Sandra Vieira Jürgens