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.
A Moment of Eternity in the Passage of Time is a black-and-white video projection with images by visual artist Nicolas Kozakis and text by philosopher and writer Raoul Vaneigem. The work was shot in Mount Athos, a remote mountain and peninsula in northern Greece, which is home to a number of Greek Orthodox monasteries. Access to the area is restricted to few visitors and women are not allowed. Apart from being a holy place, it is also one of escape and meditation for those who manage to gain access. The video unfolds in an undisclosed location, by the sea. A sad-faced, lone immigrant construction worker goes about the task of building a traditional stone house, at his own pace, stopping now and then to smoke a cigarette and contemplate the magnificent, totally still sea view. His task is facilitated by a few donkeys, ancient labourers which have now become all but obsolete from the modern workforce. Time seems almost to have stood still. Vaneigem’ s existential, poetic text builds on the quiet, contemplative pace of the images, reflecting on the nature of contemporary life, and its obsession with work, productivity and success, at the expense of the true experience of life itself. The text muses on the current impasse and the predatory, nature of capitalism, which has reduced life to its « mere shadows», the lonely figure of the worker recalls the myriad of migrants exploited as cheap labour all over the planet. Critical and utopian at once, it argues for the need to reinvent a new, more humane vision of the world, closer to nature. Finally, the work advocates deceleration, the merits of the « slowness of life » and the fundamental driving force of life: love.
(Text: Catharina Gregos)
In this program we present the two existing versions of the same film. Filmmaker Nicolas Kozakis presented his images respectively to Eugene Savitzkaya and Raoul Vaneigem, two writers who only knew each other from their work. The writers commented independently on the same images without contacting each other. In this way, the free inspiration of the two writers came to supplement the freedom of the director. The result is a three dimensional prism that greedily multiplies reflection. “Upon receiving the images by Nicolas Kozakis from some part of the world, the words of Ernst Junger from his book Sur les falaises de marbre came to mind: ‘Though exquisite things are the present of contingency, the best (things) in life are free.’ And this is how I started to inhale and exhale, following a peculiar rhythm, the endless common air that surrounds all of us.”
In the short comedy Taprobana, Luis Vaz de Camoes, the greatest Portuguese renaissance poet, struggles creatively while engaging in a hedonistic, coprophagic, and drug addled lifestyle. The film follows the poet, and his lover Dinamene, as he writes his masterpiece, the epic poem Os Lusiadas. He travels from the cacophony of the Indic jungles, surrounded by allegorical elephants and rhyming macaques, to the frontier of Heaven and Hell, where he is confronted by his fantasy: fame and immortality.
The American minimalist poet Robert Lax (1915-2000) is praised for his originality and spirituality. He was a companion of the painter Ad Reinhardt and the religious philosopher and monk Thomas Merton, who had a strong influence on the poets of the beat generation. After decades of a nomadic life between America and Europe, working as a screenwriter in Hollywood, as a film critic in New York and as a clown in an Italian itinerant circus, he has lived withdrawn for 30 years on the Greek island of Patmos. In his poetry, Robert Lax pursues a maximum compression of language – to the point where only individual words and syllables remain which represent the essence of language. His artistic concept of reduction, in which a pause becomes as important as the things said, makes Lax a kindred spirit of the American composer John Cage. The present films are the outcome of a long-standing friendship between Robert Lax and the filmmakers Nicolas Humbert and Werner Penzel.