Gil & Moti saw a connection between the chances gamblers take in the hope of monetary luck and the gamble that migrants take when they leave their home in the hope of a better life. They delved into the gambling scenes of three different cities – Rio de Janeiro, Helsinki and Rotterdam – where they talked to migrants about their motives and their lives.
In a personal and disarming way, Gil & Moti unleash poignant stories. About lacking perspective, the longing for home, new and sometimes-hostile environments. And about the parallel world of gambling as a possibility of escape. They processed these stories into theatrical installations, playing with the atmospheres and settings of these three cities’ gambling scenes. Videos feature predominantly, in which they exacerbate abrasive reality with burlesque mimicry or soften it with loving attention.
Rio de Janeiro
Three years of field research preceded Wild Bet. In Rio de Janeiro, Gil & Moti went on the trail of ‘Jogo de Bicho’ (animal game), an illegal gambling game played everywhere on the street. Here, they made a film with Gustav, who puts himself forward as their gambling instructor and guide. He reveals the genesis of the game, shows the harsh daily reality of the favelas and shares his dreams and concerns.
In Helsinki, Gil & Moti learnt about the government-run slot machines that are in every supermarket. The most popular games represent a folkloric fantasy land. The cheerful farmers and gold diggers from the gambling games starkly contrast with the stories of the migrants Gil & Moti met there.
In Rotterdam, Gil & Moti found both commercial gambling halls with their seductive gold and glitter aesthetic, as well as informal card tables in the back of brown cafés. Here the artists began an intimate collaboration with Shari, who came to the Netherlands 24 years ago. From the many encounters, they created an image of life on the edge of Dutch society. The sometimes-stifling experience of exclusion and loneliness is punctuated by moments of happiness in the gambling hall.
With thanks to Mondriaan Fund; Capacete, Rio de Janeiro; the Helsinki International Artist Programme (HIAP); and CBK Rotterdam’s O&O scheme. With thanks to all participants.