By Ellen Blumenstein, Jean-Louis Comolli, Céline Condorelli, Doris von Drathen, Nuria Enguita May,
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Extra info for Afterall: A Journal of Art, Context, and Enquiry volume 24 Spring 2010
Taken from Marshall’s series The Garden Projects (1994—95), the canvases shown in Kassel depict scenes from public-housing projects in Chicago and Los Angeles that were given names with what could be considered — if one were to be generous — wishful thinking: for example, Rockwell Gardens, Wentworth Gardens, Altgeld Gardens and Nickerson Gardens. The latter refers to the place where Marshall lived for two years during his childhood and adolescence after his family moved from Birmingham, Alabama to Los Angeles in 1963.
The off-screen is the site of what remains: what remains to be shown, to be acted out, to be experienced. A reserve, a surplus, a beyond. An emptiness that the fullness of the frame empties and ﬁlls to measure. This is how Ossos progresses, in a cut-up of ﬁlmed bodies, through the breaking up that the frames subject them to and which do not thwart their inertia and slowness — on the contrary. In a swelling of sounds which is also on this side of language or its partial disappearance. Thus the system of frames, aided by that of shadows, works to ensure that we never know much about the characters, apart from the fact that they wait and pass by, caught in a game of hide-and-seek with everything that could feed a plotline: the story itself is off-screen.
Costa initially wanted to remake Jacques Tourneur’s I Walked with a Zombie (1943), an uncanny tale of vodun and obsession set in the West Indies. Casting Edith Scob for one of the female leads added a second strong reference — she had worked regularly with the French ﬁlm-maker Georges Franju as a young girl, and in particular in his horror classic Les Yeux sans visage (Eyes Without a Face, 1960). Costa’s notebook bears witness to his original plans for the ﬁlm — they show collages directly confronting stills from Franju’s ﬁlm and other ﬁlm-historical sources with photographs from the Cape Verde Islands.