The Average of The Average

THE AVERAGE OF THE AVERAGE is a contemporary 3D documentation of certain aspects of Middelfart (means ”The Middle Of The Road”), a perfectly typical Danish small-town and it’s citizens. THE AVERAGE OF THE AVERAGE is created for Middelfart Cultural Museum and supported by The Heritage Agency of Denmark as a attempt to rethink what a museum exhibition is and can be.

On a conceptual level, THE AVERAGE OF THE AVERAGE addresses the core problem any museum faces in displaying contemporary life: Without the “privilege of time” (the significance of things show themselves more readily in hindsight, given the perspective of time), how to ”see” and recognize what is important and special in the very time we live in? In other words, THE AVERAGE OF THE AVERAGE challenges the relationship between objectivity and subjectivity and asks how you actually can “display” something about “human life”?

Every museum works with a (intended) universal categorization-system capable of encompassing all objects in the world in order to pass on knowledge to the future in a orderly way. From the universal Danish ”Museum Manual” I have chosen 12 such categories, that is, objects or phenomena and then asked: Let me find the exact average of this phenomena in Middelfart and see what it is today. As a result, THE AVERAGE OF THE AVERAGE is 12 films which can be seen individually or as a whole.

The use of 3D, this enhanced visual registration and strange presence of reality in a moving documentary image, testifies in it’s very form to the dilemma of any museum exhibition: how can the mere registration or display of a object tell something beyond that this object physically exists? What do objects tell about life itself?

The 3D-effect, this magnificent artificiality, creates in THE AVERAGE OF THE AVERAGE a kind of “display cabinets” – or cinematic wunderkammer – and I wanted this formal, alienating and ominous presence of “realness” in order to make a film ultimately questioning “how to represent human life”? Perhaps the average, when scrutinized, is anything but average?

Michael Madsen, provincial Denmark

2011 / 3D / 2D
52 min

Director, scriptwriter and producer: Michael Madsen / Gallery Tusk

Selected Screenings & Awards

Nominated for Best New Danish Documentary at CPH:DOX 2011 and voted 2nd best Museum Hit 2011 by Danish Agency Of Culture. Worldpremere at Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2012, Plante Doc, Warsaw.