September 2014, arsenal cinema

Alle Tage wieder – let them swing! On the topicality of Margaret Raspé's films


In the 1970s, Margaret Raspé, a painter, performance artist and filmmaker, shot the now legendary "films with the camera helmet": "… with a camera helmet on the head: painting and filming at the same time. The instrumentalized eye disintegrates the orientation… I am split: on the one hand physically relaxed, with my actionistically detached painting hand, on the other hand I am a rational and concentrated observer looking through the camera's viewfinder…" (MR). Raspé was influenced by the Action Art and the Fluxus movements of the 1960s and had close links to the Vienna avant-garde. However, the impetus for her unusual use of the camera came from elsewhere. It can (literally) be seen in connection to the political debates of the time on reproductive labour. Raspé's first film "with the camera helmet" – SCHWEINESCHNITZEL (FRG 1971) – shows the daily working procedure necessary to prepare this, from the perspective of the cook. Simultaneously cooking, washing up, gutting animals and whipping cream, and working in an artistic way: Raspé studied art from 1954 to 1957 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and at the Institute of Fine Arts in Berlin. "SCHWEINESCHNITZEL was made in 1971 after I had thought long and hard about aggression in the kitchen."

"Alle Tage wieder – let them swing!" shows Raspé's films in different contexts. The opening program "Self-motion" reveals the multifaceted dynamics of upheavals (18.9.). It will be introduced by filmmaker Monika Treut, who in 1978 wrote the first in depth critical acclaim of Raspé's camerahelmet films. In the program "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow" (19.9.) the Berlin group "Counterplanning from the Kitchen" (Felicita Reuschling, Fabian Tietke, Rebecca Wilbertz) builds a bridge, with a lecture and films, between the housework debate of the 1970s and today's discussions about the subsumption of daily preoccupations with oneself and others in the product-based economy. "Kreuzberg Adiö!" (19.9.) uses urban history to approach the present situation: from Raspé’s Super8 impression 1. MAI IN BERLIN-KREUZBERG (1973), via Rosie S.M's MAMA HEMMERS GEHT MIT IHREM PASTOR ZUM LETZTEN MAL ÜBERN HEINRICHPLATZ: KREUZBERG ADIÖ (BRD 1980), to Vlado Kristl’s WELTKONGRESS DER OBDACHLOSEN (D 2004).  With her lecture "Raspé im Kontext der Avantgarde der 1970er", Hemma Schmutz introduces the monographic film program "With the camera helmet" (20.9.). It comprises the legendary films about whipping cream (DER SADIST SCHLÄGT DAS EINDEUTIG UNSCHULDIGE, FRG 1971), roasting chicken (OH TOD, WIE NAHRHAFT BIST DU, 1972/73) and washing up (ALLE TAGE WIEDER – LET THEM SWING!, 1974). BLAU AUF WEISS, RÄNDER UND RAHMEN (1979) is about the energetic processes of the painting hand. This film not only dispels the idea of an artwork in an unfinished movement, it opens the limitations of the canvas to the "natural space"  - the veranda and garden - the place where the painter works and lives. "Body <=> Instrument" (20.9.) shows the variety of relationships a man or woman can have with the camera. The opening film is the short double projection SELBSTPORTRÄT UND VICE VERSA (1979) by Margaret Raspé, who not only put the Super8 camera on her head but also took it in her hand. With her longterm project ANASTENÁRIA – DAS FEST DER FEUERLÄUFER VON LAGADÁS (21.9.), about a group of firerunners in Greece made from 1978 - 85, she bound herself to an implicit theme of 'kitchen cinema': the rituals. Her movement between the everyday and celebrations, between sober observation and mythopoeia is illucidated by the program "Rituals" (WEIBLICHE RITUALE, M.R., 1976; PAM KUSO KAR (Jean Rouch F 1974; MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON, Maya Deren USA 1943, 20.9.). To close, we will show the exceptional film NIGHTCLEANERS, PART 1 (Berwick Street Film Collective, GB 1972–75, 21.9.): Observations of the nightly cleaning work of women who organize and campaign for better working conditions; a reflection about the potential film holds for recording and supporting such a movement. 

Exhibition in the Red Foyer: Materials and objects of Margaret Raspé

Guests: Margaret Raspé as well as Monika Treut, Sasha Pirker, Hemma Schmutz, Ute Holl, Mike Sperlinger. A program curated by Madeleine Bernstorff, Karola Gramann, Heide Schlüpmann (Kinothek Asta Nielsen e.V.) in conjunction with Gunter Deller. Archival restorations: Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin. Sponsored by the Capital Cultural Fund.