The video artwork, Burden of Proof (2022), by Federico Pozuelo stages a crime narrative in order to reflect critically on the narrative system itself and on the foundations of Western rationalism that constitute common thought.

Onus probandi incumbit ei qui dicit is the fundamental legal principle according to which it is necessary to prove the facts alleged in order to ensure their existence. Pozuelo adapts this principle belonging to the Roman legal system to the cinematographic narrative construction and focusing on the Crime genre. In the short film made by the artist inside the mysterious and gloomy house built by architect Oscar Niemeyer, the observer chases the characters who move between indoors and outdoors in search of clues to reconstruct the crime scene. The atmosphere is extremely rarefied and dark, the characters move with precision and attention, everything is suspended and one has the constant perception that something is about to happen. Details, assumptions, strategies and deductions are added to try to give an interpretation to what happened. The investigator, the distinguished man in a beige raincoat who coldly and detachedly tries to put together the various elements of the complicated puzzle that is taking shape in front of his eyes, never seems to lose his conviction and tenacity in pursuing the resolution. The tension remains throughout all the video, leaving the viewer in constant suspense and curiosity of solving the case.

But the story is not resolved, the observer is left in the limbo of a circular structure that does not allow an escape route. Pozuelo, using a very specific aesthetic that characterizes crime films especially from the early 1980s, proposes the narration as a critical tool for analyzing contemporary thought. So under the investigator’s magnifying glass there is not a specific case, rather the thought of man and the value of truth within our society.

Even if the suspension left by Burden of Proof could initially cause a sense of dissatisfaction and almost frustration, it is actually a gift that the artist gives to the viewer: he will be the one to complete the narration according to his own criteria and with the own logic without accepting a given truth (at the end, up to what point can it really be considered as such?). Pozuelo makes a shift in meaning: the center of his research and his work is not the conclusion but the process that must be valued and protected with a view to enhancing the thinking of the single individual.


Federico Pozuelo
Burden of Proof, 2022
Looped video HD, 00h 12m 12s