View of “Yto Barrada,” 2016. Photo: Iris Ratzinger.

View of “Yto Barrada,” 2016. Photo: Iris Ratzinger.

Yto Barrada


View of “Yto Barrada,” 2016. Photo: Iris Ratzinger.

Yto Barrada’s video Faux départ (False Start), 2015—an investigation of the artisanal production of fake fossils—served as something like an establishing shot for her recent exhibition “The Sample Book.” The film follows the exacting methods used to fabricate historical specimens in a location somewhere “between the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara desert,” and considers why specific modes of labor have cropped up to meet the needs of particular capitalist markets. Though we do not witness a single transaction—the camera is closely focused on the physical strain and remarkable skill involved in manufacturing these curios—we can easily imagine the tourists whose desire for prehistoric souvenirs propels this trade. Barrada clearly appreciates the craftspeople’s dexterity in meeting the demands of the global travel industry; if the search for the exotic runs the

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