A program bringing together a number of audiovisual gems from all corners of the world, exploring the relationship between unpretentious, poetic action and its conveyance through the medium of video. Punctuations of reality, invitations to share the gaze through small objects, actions and thoughts. Please join us on this venture!
IN THE PRESENCE OF SHALAN ALHAMWY AND GWENDOLYN LOOTENS
Colorful circles outlined by black lines separate from each other and come back together again, underscored by evocative sounds referring to the horoscope and to sexuality.
The early sixteenth-century Japanese garden in the Zen temple of Ryoan-ji, in Kyoto, is considered a masterpiece of the karesansui or “dry landscape” style. This film, a collaboration between architect Arata Isozaki and avant-garde filmmaker Taka Iimura, invites the viewer to experience the garden as an embodiment of ma, a Japanese concept that conveys both time and space.
The videos of Gwendolyn Lootens are emotionally and psychologically evocative, despite their apparent abstraction. Zooming in onto a small gesture, a movement or an object, the artist liberates a space of associations and connections, both simple and essential. By focusing on seemingly random phenomena, her videos invite for a transformative vision, in which no thing becomes a thing, and a thing becomes no thing.
The filmmaker’s first short film with the National Film Organization, produced after his return to Syria from the Soviet Union, Our Hands is a compelling visual essay on laboring, gesturing hands.
Short film version of a nine-screen film installation, in which Rosefeldt sets up a visually opulent and highly stylised theatrical environment in order to examine and deconstruct the stereotypes associated with immigrant citizens and the idea of ‘the other’. The work deals with nine different ethnic groups or nationalities, including Chinese, Vietnamese, Turkish, Kosovan-Albanian and Afghan. A hundred and twenty ‘performers’, many of whom are immigrants living in asylum seekers’ hostels, literally ‘act out’ their existence as foreigners by repeatedly executing typical, cliché-ridden jobs in exuberant settings. The hypnotically slow motion of the camera, its pendulum-like movement within the picture frame, emphasises the ritualistic and nonsensical aspect of the tasks being performed. Always portrayed as homogeneous groups, the performers are stripped of their individuality. Far from adopting a documentary approach, the artist has constructed subjective and tightly controlled compositions — tableaux vivants, at times reminiscent of traditional fine art, at others playing on pure kitsch.
The Argentinian video and performance artist Eugena Calvo produces film work with the simplicity and originality of magic tricks, with the humor of playful traps, or as parts of a domestic system that is falling apart into pieces. They all incite the public to feel, whether in their homes or outside, by day or by night, that the silence of an orderly room can suddenly be lost and transform itself into a site of confusion.
The Swiss artist Markus Raetz produced in the spring of 1971 an animation film based on 1525 drawings. This work remained unknown to the public for many years, and was only recently released as an artist edition. The film reveals the sense of wonder, which characterizes the work of the Swiss master, notably the potential of every object to transform itself into another object and even into a being, or a word… “eben”, a German word which is quite untranslatable, meaning something like “just”, “simply”, “indeed”, but also “plane”, “flat”.
Based on the precarious reality of living in Syria today, Shalan Alhamwy’s video work exhibits a surprising sense of wit and inventiveness. Being primarily a musician and a composer, these videos are based on musical pieces of his own hand. By means of animation, as well as digital video compositing, he creates powerful audiovisual gestures inviting for a transformation of the reality of a country in war into the poetic world of possibilities.
The camera films an electric plug which provides the power for lighting the scene. After a while, a hand enters the frame and disconnects the plug. Black. A message from the artist conveys the trope of an artistic gesture which depends on self-destruction and slapstick.