From October 10-14, Arsenal is organizing an international congress for the very first time, in collaboration with the Film Institute at the Berlin University of the Arts. Think:Film, the International Experimental Cinema Congress 2012, is taking place at the Akademie der Künste on Hanseatenweg with the goal of examining the special position occupied by experimental cinema in contemporary artistic and intellectual practice in philosophical terms and redefining just what this position might be. Fifteen panels over five days bring together international filmmakers, artists, film and arts scholars, authors and curators, who will jointly be exploring questions relating to the influence of the cinematic image on today’s thought and discussing how cinema itself can become an act of thought. Rather than grasping experimental film a definitive genre, the congress seeks instead to pose some fundamental questions, many of which go beyond the central theme of how film and thought influence one another (such as how film itself can be understood as theory) to encompass the institutionalization of the cinematic image, the relationship between acting, performance, the stage and film, film as a means of political practice, the production and distribution of today's experimental cinema and the current status of such terms as "underground" and "avant-garde". A screening of Isidore Isou's film TRAITE DE BAVE ET D'ETERNITE (France 1951, 10.10.) opens Think:Film.
The film, which was greeted with a suitably explosive reception at its premiere at Cannes and was only available in an edited version until recently, is a forgotten trailblazer of 1960s and 70s European and North American experimental cinema In his two-hour manifesto for a "cinéma discrépant", Isou, the founder of lettrism, separates sound and the image in systematic and absolute fashion. His images – Paris street scenes he shot himself and found footage from army holdings, black and unexposed film – are scratched, painted and destroyed, thus anticipating many of the formal strategies subsequently employed within structuralist film. Stan Brakhage called TRAITE “undoubtedly one of the major inspirations for my filmmaking work, as it was for many independent filmmakers in the USA ... and not just because of […] its scratches or sections of blank film. TRAITE's rhetoric dovetails with its moving image aesthetic. And its subtle texture of seemingly stupid footage (which expressly does away with the slavish compositions of traditional photography, whether by scratching them, flipping them over or not, as the case may be), TRAITE opens the senses of anyone willing to engage with it to a new perception of film. We are showing the film in a restored 35mm print with English subtitles.
The panel discussions on the following days are each preceded by short film programs that form a basic point of reference for the ensuing theoretical debates.
The panelists are Khalid Abdalla, Thom Andersen, Ronald Balczuweit, Madeleine Bernstorff, Christa Blümlinger, Arianna Borrelli, Pip Chodorov, Christophe Dreher, Madhusree Dutta, Tamer El-Said, Heinz Emigholz, John Erdman, Azin Feizabadi, Anselm Franke, Peggy Gale, John Greyson, Ed Halter, Nanna Heidenreich, Birgit Hein, Shai Heredia, Max Jorge Hinderer Cruz, Henriette Huldisch, Brent Klinkum, Gertrud Koch, Birgit Kohler, Stephen Kovats, David Marc, Laura Marks, Angela Melitopoulos, Thomas Morsch, Olga Moskatova, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Winfried Pauleit, Laurence Rickels, Marc Ries, Stefan Ripplinger, Constanze Ruhm, Susanne Sachsse, Frieder Schlaich, Stefanie Schulte Strathaus, Marc Siegel, Michael Snow, Lisa Steele, Juan A. Suárez, Ela Troyano, Lioudmila Voropai, Dorothee Wenner, Nicole Wolf, Klaus Wyborny, Ala Younis, Siegfried Zielinski and Mike Zryd.
The registration deadline for full congress tickets was September 15.
Day tickets will be available at the Akademie box office:
Wednesday and Sunday: 10€ / concessions: 6€, Thursday to Saturday: 20€ / concessions 12€.
The congress language is English.
Think:Film is an event organized by Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art in collaboration with the Institute for Film at the Berlin University of the Arts. It is funded by the Capital Cultural Fund. In collaboration with the Akademie der Künste.