December 2011, berlinale forum

Forum Expanded 2012: Mental States and Global Structures

Still from Peril of the Antilles

PERIL OF THE ANTILLES by Fern Silva

Forum Expanded 2012 will once again be exploring new forms of artistic, cinematic and political expression. 37 works by artists, filmmakers, theorists and musicians from 20 different countries comprise the compact and focused programme, taking in exhibitions, film programmes, discussions and performances that place an emphasis on aesthetic explorations of the global and individual dimensions of current crises. The programme explores the extent to which the radical and avant-garde ideas of the past are still relevant today and seeks to redefine the role of contemporary cinema.

This year’s exhibition in Kunstsaele Berlin is entitled "Critique and Clinic". Criticism of institutions and clinical psychiatry in particular played a central role in the political discourse of the 1960s and 1970s, a movement which regarded psychological pathologies as a product of social conditions and the repressive structures of society. Luke Fowler’s film ALL DIVIDED SELVES, which explores the work of psychiatrist and guru of the anti-psychiatry movement RD Laing, forms the starting point for the "Critique and Clinic" exhibition. The works it comprises take an in-depth look at the current psychological dimensions of socio-political structures. By examining the relationship between mental states and global structures, the exhibition offers a diagnostic panorama of the "psychospheres" of a form of capitalism which has made life, subjectivity and the psyche into a central resource. Much like the rest of this year’s Forum Expanded programme, the exhibition also raises the question of art’s scope for taking action in both visual and narrative terms.

Another exhibition will be presented at the Gutschow-Haus in Friedrichstraße, which takes the global geographies of conflict as its theme. The focus here is on the Israeli-Palestinian border zone (Elle Flanders/Tamira Sawatzky and Yazan Khalili) as well as on a copper mining district in southern Spain used to carry out research on Mars (Anne Quirynen). We will also be presenting some treasures by experimental filmmaker Steve Reinke at the Marshall McLuhan Salon in the Canadian Embassy, which together form a feature length film.

Forum Expanded will once again be bringing cinema to the stage at HAU – Hebbel am Ufer. Israeli director Avi Mograbi, whose work has been shown at the Forum on numerous occasions and who is known for his radical staging of the self, returns to Berlin as a musician and will be performing with his four-person band at HAU 2. THE LAST DAYS OF BRITISH HONDURAS by Catherine Sullivan and Farhad SharminiFarhad Sharmini, an adaptation of the play of the same name by Ronald Tavel, is a cinematic adventure of the absurd.

Two programmes by Harun Farocki and Constanze Ruhm/Angela Melitopoulos look to explore how cinema functions as a historical space for the present and provide insight into the large-scale "Living Archive – Archive Work as a Contemporary Artistic and Curatorial Practice" project taking place at Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art.

The Forum Expanded film programmes include works by artists such as Deimantas Narkevičius as well as filmmakers Isabell Spengler and Isabelle Prim, whose work has already been shown at previous editions of Forum Expanded. The short film programmes will be showing experimental works by Eva Heldmann, Laure Prouvost, Ahmad Ghossein and many more.

For the second year in a row, Prinzessinnengärten will be turning the Arsenal cinema foyer green as well as running the bar. As in previous years, the b_books collective will also be present with a bookstand.