Artists' Film International showcases artists working with film, video and animation, selected by 14 partner organisations around the world and presented over the course of a year in each venue. This is the fifth season City Gallery has participated, represented this year by Murray Hewitt’s The Downfall of Light (2011) and Smoke rises around the silent sea (2011–12).
Each work will be screened in on a loop our auditorium for one week.
Katarina Zdjelar, My Lifetime (Malaika) (2012)
Belgrade Cultural Centre, Belgrade
In Katarina Zdjelar’s film we hear the National Symphony Orchestra of Ghana perform a famous Swahili love song, while seeing images of the musicians barely able to keep their eyes open. When Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of the state of Ghana, established the symphony orchestra in 1959, Ghana was celebrating the second anniversary of independence, the first African country freed from colonial rule. A national orchestra was seen as what the new nation needed to assert itself as independent and cultured. However, due to the subsequent lack of Governmental financial support, public interest and professional competition, soon the orchestra’s musicians were forced to take on other jobs, arriving exhausted to their four hour long rehearsals. Today the orchestra’s existence remains ambiguous.
Morgan Wong, Plus-Minus-Zero (2010)
Para/Site, Hong Kong
In Plus-Minus-Zero the artist walks backwards and anti-clockwise through a white landscape in Sapporo, Japan. While other skiers pass by in a forward direction, travelling the right way, he sets out to reverse time, synchronising each step to the second and methodically recording the time elapsed. Turning the clock back 56 minutes and 6 seconds, his travel represents the physical abstraction of the difference in time zones between Hong Kong and Sapporo. Wong's laborious performance asks the viewer to mediate on theoretical possibilities of timeless suspension, while the lone figure represents a desire for autonomy against the authority of time.
Marinella Senatore, ROSAS, 2nd Chapter: The Attic, Derby (2012)
GAMeC /Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Bergamo
The Attic is the second in a trilogy of large scale collaboratively produced operas conceived for the screen. Marinella Senatore’s projects often involve entire communities in the creative process. In this work 16,000 citizens of Derby, UK, participated in free workshops lead by local professionals, teachers, and technicians in order to prepare for different roles required in the making of the film. They were engaged in a variety of different activities ranging from crew members and actors to cooks and flashmob participants. After the work was completed Senatore left the set and all of the technical equipment in place, allowing the local community to use it for their own projects. The first and third works in the ROSAS series took place in Berlin and Madrid.
Rahraw Omarzad, Gaining and Losing (2012)
Centre for Contemporary Arts Afghanistan CCAA, Kabul
Structured in four episodes, this film overlays past, present, and future narratives. The work addresses the massive destruction of archaeological artefacts at the Kabul National Museum of Afghanistan over the last decade, and the current rebuilding of Afghan cultural institutions. Responding to a deeply troubled present tense, Rahraw Omarzad’s film questions the relationship of institutionalised historical narratives to the suspended tension of the present condition in Afghanistan. Here physical disability symbolises the cultural, economic and political challenges facing the country, as well as the West’s one-dimensional perception of it.
Bengu Karaduman, We Are All in The Same Boat (2012)
Istanbul Modern, Istanbul
Two images—a horse and a ship—dominate Bengu Karaduman’s work We Are All in The Same Boat. The ship represents the current world economy, and the systematic erosion of natural resources in the name of mass production and consumption. Beneath this we see horses running underwater, an image drawing on the fate of the phaeton horses from the Princes’ Islands in Istanbul. Made to work under poor conditions for a tourist market, when they die they are thrown into the sea and replaced by new ones.
22 July-28 July
Hong-An Truong & Dwayne Dixon, The City & The City (2010)
Hanoi Doc Lab, Hanoi
Tokyo and Saigon share a history of devastation and occupation; today they are both sites of shifting urbanism. The film’s title references China Miéville’s baroque urban fiction in an exploration of the two cities, drawing on ethnographic, documentary, and performative modes of film-making. Splitting the screen between views of the cities’ topographies, in shots so slow they seem almost photographic, time doubles back and fitfully slips forward between them. The City & The City questions how we discover the traces of a shared history in the aftermath of modernism, and within the current relentless construction of capitalist space.
29 July- 4 August
Nasan Tur, Berlin Says…(2009)
NBK Video-Forum, Berlin
Hundreds of graffiti slogans collected by the artist from the facades of Berlin are sprayed onto one wall over and over again. Smiling makes me thin overwrites my mother taught me well so I rebel overwrites SEX until ultimately they become an unreadable blur of non-language, one message cancelling out the other. Nasan Tur’s work echoes the social conditions of its production, exploring symbols of power and dissent that surface in the urban landscape, and considering the limits of public action and mass communication.
Einat Amir, I will be you guide for this session (2013)
New Media Centre, Haifa
Unscripted and unrehearsed, Emit Amir’s film is shot in a dining room and a study, each with a moderator (a psychotherapist and a choreographer) and five participants. These moderators guide the volunteer participants through interactive group workshops based on their own professional methods, using predetermined scenarios developed in collaboration with Amir. Participants were chosen by the artist through interviews. Creating artificial situations in which ‘real’ interactions take place, Emir builds space for improvisation and active decision-making.
Jessica Warboys, Pageant Roll (2012)
A historical figure or place is often the starting point for Jessica Warboys’ works. In the past these have ranged from the medieval poet Marie de France and the little-known dancer Héléne Vanel, who was associated with the Surrealists, to the Forest of Fontainebleau in France and East London’s Victoria Park. These become tangible spaces to project and animate the unexpected.
Pageant Roll alludes to early British Modernism’s preoccupation with the power of landscape and ancient mysticism, and to a feline presence. Geometric objects such as hula hoops bent into ellipses and squares in the form of monochrome paintings are placed in the landscape whilst shots of Cornish standing stones are collaged with painted eggs in milk.
Kaia Hugin, Five Parts – A Motholic Mobble (Part 5) (2012)
KINOKINO Centre for Art and Film, Sandnes
Artist Kaia Hugin’s appearance in this work fuses slapstick-mystic, gymnast, and homage to the avant-garde filmmaker Maya Deren, whose mid-twentieth century experimental works combine film, choreography and movement. In Hugin’s Mobble films, the main character goes through a variety of (compulsive) acts: she hangs, levitates, floats, walks backwards, or bores herself into the ground. Referencing Picassos’ Guernica in its multiple distorted forms, A Motholic Mobble has also been described as a ‘soft splatter’, or a poetic horror movie, where the corporal fights itself in a battle that can never be won.
26 August- 1 September
Eric and Marc Hurtado, Jajouka, something good comes to you (2012)
Cinémathèque de Tanger, Tangier
In Jajouka, a village in Morocco’s Rif mountains, magic rites accompanied by the musical performance of the Master Musicians of Jajouka are commonplace. Acclaimed musicians Eric and Marc Hurtado, founders of the group Etant Donnés, explore these rituals and legends with the master musicians and other villagers of Jajouka. Combining documentary and fiction, the Hurtados eschew an investigation of the fabled healing power and spiritual transcendence of Jajouka; instead, they have created a riveting and poetic film that projects the experience of trance and emotional release onto the viewer.
Alix Pearlstein, The Drawing Lesson (2012)
Ballroom Marfa, Texas
Working with actors and dancers, artist Alix Pearlstein is interested in spectatorship and the relationship between the camera, viewer and subject. In The Drawing Lesson we are positioned to observe studio actors who are in turn observing each other, before turning their gaze directly back onto us, heightening the tension and reversing the conventionally passive relationship between the watcher and the watched. The camera is also a performer in the piece, in constant movement and producing vivid high-definition footage that imperceptibly enhances our viewing experience.
Ana Gallardo, Don Raul (2012)
Fundacion Proa, Buenos Aires
In 2010 Ana Gallardo travelled to Mexico with the idea of inviting Don Raul, a man of 93 years old, to dance at the 29th Sao Paulo Biennial. Raul is well known for his dancing, both ballroom and popular dances, and Gallardo wanted to ask him to travel with her and give dance lessons. Arriving in Mexico she had to wait for a month until he came out of hospital. Having escaped, he danced all day long. Gallardo's work is often shaped by gestures attempting to eliminate loneliness, find meaning in the past, celebrate old age or recover dreams.
Neha Choksi, Minds to Lose (2008–2011)
Project 88, Mumbai
Minds to Lose is based on a live performance in which Neha Choksi anaesthetised herself and four farm animals, encouraging the public to pet both sedated artist and animals. The film considers what having a mind and rational consciousness means to a body under general anaesthesia. Choski is interested in exploring the distinction between human and animal, the conditions of volition and powerlessness, and ideas of presence and absence that underpin live performance and sculpture. The work is accompanied by a soundtrack of field recordings and fragments of traditional lullaby which addresses body parts associated with thinking and feeling.
No animals were harmed during the performance in Neha Choksi’s film.