January 2016, berlinale forum

Traversing the Phantasm – The 11th Forum Expanded


The selection process for the 11th Forum Expanded programme is nearly complete. Film and video works of different lengths will once again be screened at the Akademie der Künste on Hanseatenweg and the Arsenal cinema at Potsdamer Platz. The group exhibition of additional film works will take place again in the three halls of the Akademie der Künste. The Marshall McLuhan Salon of the Embassy of Canada and silent green Kulturquartier will also each house one video installation. The theme of this year’s Forum Expanded is "Traversing the Phantasm". The programme sees experimental and artists’ film as a form of traversing real and imaginary territories that are manifested in (geo-)
political realities and the fantastical constructs symptomatic of capitalist consumerist societies alike. The question also arises here as to what changes this type of traversing can and must trigger within us: what traces can be left behind by an art or film event? In reference to theoretician Jacques Lacan, the concept of the phantasm is reflected in numerous different ways, including in the sense of working through archives, social and political themes or collective fantasies.

Angela Melitopoulos’s four-channel video installation THE REFRAIN thus examines the function of the refrain in marking out a territory in artistic terms. The post-war history of Okinawa and the South Korean island of Jeju established a staunch peace movement and anti-militarisation campaign along the axis between US Army bases on Japanese and Korean soil in the East China Sea, a movement in which protest songs play a significant role.

AL MARHALA AL RABIAA (The Fourth Stage), a video work by Ahmad Ghossein shot in southern Lebanon, is an account of the disappearance of an old magician and of new monuments that appear in the landscape. Both this film and a lecture performance entitled "When the Ventriloquist Came and Spoke to Me" trace the contemporary ideologies and mythologies that connect new narratives with visual forms and reshape geopolitical landscapes.

Film prints and video tapes that were re-discovered, thought lost, suffered degradation or were never actually completed are the subject of a series of events that include guests and works from Nigeria, Afghanistan, Jordan, Cyprus and Indonesia. As a continuation of the "Visionary Archive" project presented in 2015, the question here is once again how encounters with archives generate phantasms and history is projected into the present and future.

The Think:Film Award was established in 2014 in cooperation with Cimatheque, Cairo. The award is supported by the Allianz Kulturstiftung and the Goethe-Institut, and will be given to three short and three feature-length films from the Forum and Forum Expanded programmes. The jury is made up of members of the NAAS network, an association of art-house cinemas, film clubs and initiatives from the Arab world that are dedicated to artists’ film. The prizewinners will be presented at the NAAS member cinemas.

Art critic Helmut Draxler will give a keynote lecture on this year’s theme "Traversing the Phantasm". The invited artists and filmmakers include Robert Beavers, James T. Hong, Mark Lewis, Marie Losier, Anja Kirschner, Joe Namy, Pushpamala N., Sandra Schäfer, Deborah Stratman, Mika Taanila, Anton Vidokle, Clemens von Wedemeyer, and many more. Angela Melitopoulos’s piece was created in collaboration with Maurizio Lazzarato, Angela Anderson, Aya Hanabusa and Jane Jin Kaisen.

The full list of participating artists will be announced shortly.