The Battle of Algiers (Launched March 1, 2006)


Marc Lafia and Fang-Yu Lin

The Battle of Algiers, 2006

The Battle of Algiers is the second in a series of three works co-commissioned in collaboration with Tate Online. Critical texts and video interviews with the artists will accompany the works at

The Battle of Algiers recomposes scenes from the 1965 film of the same name by Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo. The original film is a reenactment of the Algerian nationalist struggle leading to independence from France in 1962. The success of the actual battle for independence has been attributed to the nationalists' organization: a pyramidal structure of self-organized cells. Lafia and Lin recomposed the film along a cell-based structure, in which French Authority and the Algerian Nationalist cells are represented by stills from the film and move according to different rule sets. When cells of different camps intersect, they trigger video cells displaying each side's tactics (as depicted in the film) according to the rules of the system.

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Text: Daniel Coffeen, Film, Play, Power and the Computational, or Byting Celluloid: On Marc Lafia's and Fang-Yu Lin's "The Battle of Algiers"

Marc Lafia has shown work internationally in seminal exhibitions such as ZKM's Net Condition and Future Cinema, The Walker Art Center's Let's Entertain, as well as venues including the Georges Pompidou, The ICC Tokyo and other museums and art centers. Throughout his work, including his films and photographs, the image is not understood as a representation or a record of an event but as an event in itself, an entire mode of "going." For Lafia, computation and algorithmic procedures allow for the production of new structures of organizing image and information, as well as new ways of distributing affects and emotions. His recent "Computations|Permutations" project is an on-going exploration of the limits of the image, as it asks: what is an image? How can it "go"? Marc Lafia lives in Brooklyn, New York, and currently teaches at Columbia University.

Fang-Yu Lin, born in Taiwan, is a New York-based new media artist and designer whose artwork reflects the interplay of human experience, culture, and technology. His works have been exhibited in many venues, including the Chelsea Art Museum, Felissimo Design House, Bauhaus Dessau and dorkbot-nyc. His interactive installation From the Great Beyond, received an Honorary Mention in the 2005 Prix Ars Electronica (Net Vision). He holds a MFA in Design & Technology and a MS in Information.