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December 2017, berlinale forum

13th Forum Expanded: "A Mechanism Capable of Changing Itself"

BLÄUE by Kerstin Schroedinger

In 1947, avant-garde cinema pioneer Maya Deren notes: "Marxism - only theory of politics which designed a mechanism capable of changing itself - as in the concept of the withering away of the state." Media scholar Ute Holl begins a paper on this film poet’s theories and conception of cinema, which takes the form of "a sustained inter-vention in the social and sensory relationships of all those who take part in this ongo-ing form of communication." The title of this year’s Forum Expanded programme is taken from this same paper, with "A Mechanism Capable of Changing Itself" referring to the specific agency possessed by cinema, which is especially well expressed in the rich spectrum of forms to be found in documentary works. Since its foundation, Forum Expanded has always placed a special emphasis on doc-umentary forms. This year once again the term encompasses archival works, fiction and experimental film, in the sense that the selected works function as an expression of a reality that represents a new take on the past while transforming it into a possible future.

The works so far selected for the 13th edition of Forum Expanded include films and video works of all genres, as well as installations, performances and panels, and a concert by the Cairo based band The Invisible Hands. The artists invited include Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri, James Benning, Kudzanai Chiurai, Anouk De Clercq and Tom Callemin, Morgan Fisher, Alex Gerbaulet, Margaret Honda, Laura Horelli, Ken Jacobs, The Otolith Group, Michael Robinson, Ghassan Salhab and Mohamed Soueid, John Smith, Kerstin Schroedinger, Deborah Stratman, Clarissa Thieme and Wendelien van Oldenborgh. The complete list of artists will be published in the next Forum Expanded press release in mid-January.

The Akademie der Künste on Hanseatenweg will once again serve as the central exhibition venue during the festival. Film screenings will take place here as well as at Kino Arsenal at Potsdamer Platz. Further venues are the Marshall McLuhan Salon at the Canadian Embassy and, for the third time, SAVVY Contemporary. Think Film No. 6 – Archival Constellations, an international symposium on archival film themes and projects, will take place anew in the silent green Kulturquartier in Wedding on February 22.

This year’s curatorial team consists of section director Stefanie Schulte Strathaus, filmmaker Khaled Abdulwahed, and curator Ulrich Ziemons. Joining the team for the first time is artist and curator Maha Maamoun, co-founder of the Contemporary Image Collective (CIC) in Cairo. Form Expanded co-founder Anselm Franke (Haus der Kulturen der Welt) will continue his involvement in a consulting capacity.