The three gallery spaces will be open again, in addition to the Studio used for film screenings, discussions and performances. The Forum Expanded group exhibition will fill the top floors with film, video and sound installations.
The selection for the 13th Forum Expanded programme, which opens at the Akademie der Künste on Hanseatenweg on February 14 under the title “A Mechanism Capable of Changing Itself”, is now complete.
34 film and video works of all lengths and genres together with 15 installations have been invited from a total of 27 countries.
This year’s programme once again includes a variety of works that use documentary techniques to examine and explore the potential for both cinema and music to question, illustrate, analyse and bring about change in such a way that they are capable of intervening in social and political events on the global stage. In so doing, they also expand the very concept of the documentary.
The title of Margaret Honda’s work 6144 X 1024 recalls James Benning’s 11 x 14 from 1977. 6144 X 1024 separates out the entire colour spectrum of a digital projector in a computer-generated screening. This process lasts 36 hours in total and will be shown for a few hours each day over the course of the festival in the smaller of the two Arsenal cinema auditoria.
Like Benning’s work, Honda’s piece turns form into content and seems almost paradigmatic for the demands to which contemporary cinema is once again subject. While for Benning the primary focus was on finding a new cinematic language, today the emphasis has shifted to altered spatial, temporal and power relations, as well as the new systems of reference within reality that dictate structure.
The resulting need for alternative histories is apparent in many of the works in the programme: Kudzanai Chiurai’s film We Live in Silence: Chapters 1-7 takes Med Hondo’s classic Soleil Ô as a point of departure for staging historical narratives and visions of the future that reject the assumption that African migrants are supposed to think, speak and understand language in the way their colonisers do. Alternative history is also what structures High Dam, a slide installation by Ala Younis which focusses on two films made by Egyptian director Youssef Chahine about the Aswan Dam in the 1960s and 1970s. High Dam shines a light on the politics of the era and Chahine’s efforts to evade censorship.
The installation Café Togo by Musquiqui Chihying and Gregor Kasper examines the campaign to rename streets with colonial connotations in the so-called African Quarter of Berlin-Wedding. It also explores Black activist Abdel Amine Mohammed’s vision of a multidimensional politics of memory. Laura Horelli’s installation Namibia Today is also set in Berlin. In an underground station in former East Berlin, seven people talk about the history of the magazine “Namibia Today“, which was published in the GDR between 1980 and 1985.
Zach Blas’s Contra-Internet: Jubilee 2033 is inspired by Derek Jarman’s queer punk film Jubilee(1978). Blas shows philosopher Ayn Rand and economist Alan Greenspan on a drug trip in 1955, during which they witness the end of the Internet in 2033. In Watching the Detectives, Chris Kennedy takes a critical look at the internet as we know it today by retracing the efforts of amateur detectives to reconstruct the events of the Boston Marathon bombing.
In the Marshall McLuhan Salon at the Embassy of Canada, Forum Expanded presents an installation by artist-duo Bambitchell in which surveillance is investigated as an aesthetic practice. The exhibition opens on February 15. Its title, Special Works School, refers to the code name used by the British War Office between 1917 and 1919 for a group of artists employed to design camouflage patterns and technologies.
SAVVY Contemporary will present an exhibition by artist and filmmaker Jasmina Metwaly from February 13 onwards. We Are Not Worried in the Least confronts viewers with footage from the film archive that she put together in Egypt between 2001 and 2016. Egypt’s turbulent social and political landscape during this period form the historical backdrop to these images.
Music, Avant-garde and Underground
A series of works bring together film and music as interrelated elements of social and artistic movements which each carry the same importance.
The Third Part of the Third Measure is an audio-visual composition by The Otolith Group that can be seen and heard in the group exhibition. It stages an encounter with the militant minimalism of avant-garde composer Julius Eastman, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the ecstatic aesthetics of black radicalism, which Eastman himself once described as “full of honour, integrity and boundless courage”.
Andreas Reihse, who is well-known as a member of the band Kreidler, collaborated with artist and author Mohamed A. Gawad and filmmaker and author Dalia Neis (aka Dice Miller) in composing two audio essays. Entitled Celluloid Corridors, these two works will be presented as a cinematic event.
Morgan Fisher, one of the most famous representatives of structural cinema, will present his response to Bruce Conner’s classic found-footage film A Movie (1958), which he has dubbed Another Movie. By making reference to Ottorino Respighi’s composition “Pini di Roma”, Fisher generates visual associations to Conner’s film almost automatically.
Three more representatives of the North American avant-garde and underground scene that emerged in the 1970s will be showing their new works at Forum Expanded: James Benning, whose installation L. Cohen will be in the group exhibition, as well as Barbara Hammer and Ken Jacobs. And both Heinz Emigholz and Ben Russell once again return to the programme, the latter with Ben Rivers.
At silent green Kulturquartier Forum Expanded will be presenting a concert by The Invisible Hands, an Egyptian band co-founded in Cairo in 2011 by Alan Bishop (aka Alvarius B., best-known as a member of Sun City Girls). The band is also the subject of Marina Gioti's and Georges Salameh’s documentary of the same name, which was shown for the first time at the documenta 14 in Athens.
Another two documentaries are dedicated to underground icons: In Eu sou o Rio, Gabraz Sanna and Anne Santos create both a portrait of Brazilian artist and musician Tantão and of the city of Rio. In Escape From Rented Island: The Lost Paradise of Jack Smith, Jerry Tartaglia combines glamorous pictures of the performer and filmmaker, who died in 1989, with music from his own eccentric record collection.
“Think Film No. 6 – Archival Constellations”, an international symposium on themes relating to film archives and alternative archive projects, will take place on February 22 at silent green Kulturquartier in Berlin-Wedding. Film archives and projects from Nigeria, Egypt, Palestine, Mexico, Japan and India have all been invited to take part.
During the festival, Prinzessinnengärten will be responsible for designing the foyer of the Arsenal cinema, with b_books once again offering a selection of literature.