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by Jaume Vidal

For video artist Toni Serra (Barcelona, 1060), the message is not to be equated with the medium of expression. As a matter of fact, Serra first attempted to express his ideas by writing essays; he later switched to video creations and is now experimenting with the possibilities that have opened up with multimedia equipment. His latest creation is called "Interzona", a CD-Rom which has represented a step forward in the use of new artistic media in his professional trajectory. The coherent message he has kept developing in all his works is centred on his fellow human beings' suffering and anguish. It refers to all the problems shared by mankind : loneliness, explotation, despair, frustrations, lack of freedom, etc ...; the images conjured up in Serra's video films echo all the feelings that form part of the sensitive life of human beings in collective as well as individual terms.
His video productions are the result of the combination and ensuing interplay between his own recordings and other images borrowed from diverse sources within the world of television, cinema or advertising. "One of the constants in the process of video creation has been the use of already existing visual material, but you cannot consider it undue appropriation any longer. With the latest advances in digital technology, the differenciation between original and reproduction has become blurred. Modern society has a considerable stock of images at its disposal and we may therefore use them to construct new realities as though we were using the words contained in a dictionary".
The use made by Serra of a television advertisement, for instance, makes us perceive the concealed ideological message inherent in advertising as something obvious while it shows how the mass media now constitute one of the most blatantly effective mechanisms for exerting ideological control over people. But Serra challenges the impositions of the powers that be by giving them a taste of their own medecine. The artist re-uses images taken from advertisements in a way that emphasizes all their deceitful aspects. "We have now moved into an era in which corporations and sects are striving to control our wills. The western system itself is the biggest sect of all", declares Serra, who rebels against this state of affairs both as an artist and as a human being. (...)