Last Man

Dana Levy

2020 | 00:12:17 | United States | English | B&W | Stereo | 16:9 | HD video

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: City, Found Footage, Health, Surveillance

Last Man is made of the raw footage of security cameras that stream online. During the spring 2020 lockdown imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Dana Levy, who lives in New York, monitored the images transmitted live from security cameras in city centers and at airports, beaches, universities, restaurants, and zoos around the world. In them, these key venues, which in normal times are bustling with life, appear nearly devoid of human presence. When the world stopped, Levy says, security cameras continued to record and stream their respective scenes 24 hours a day, allowing for the most direct and objective observation possible, without the tendentious mediation of mass media.

The reality of the Covid-19 lockdowns assumed a cinematic-poetic aspect reminiscent of works of science fiction. In addition to the materials Levy has procured from online cameras, her work includes excerpts from the 1964 film The Last Man on Earth – a sci-fi horror film of the vampire genre, depicting a man who finds himself alone in the world following an epidemic that has turned humans into vampires that sleep by day and are awake at night. The menacing and surreal world of the film – the emptiness surrounding the protagonist, the raging epidemic (which, here too, ironically, originates in bats), the fear of people who only appear to be healthy and sociable, and the inability to distinguish between those who are infected and those who are not – has become an absurd reflection of our experiences in recent months. The dialogues are taken from this and another science-fiction film of that period – The Last Woman on Earth (1960) – which also depicts a journey of survival in an apocalyptic world. The result is a mysterious, mesmerizing, and disturbing film, which intermingles contemporary reality and science fiction.

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Bruno David Gallery
St. Louis, MO

Exhibitions + Festivals

Interfilm Berlin, Ashdod Museum Of Art, Germany, 2020