February 2019, arsenal cinema

14. Forum Expanded – ANTIKINO (THE SIREN’S ECHO CHAMBER)

THE MERMAIDS, OR AIDEN IN WONDERLAND, 2018

In 2019, the term “expanded” that gave our program its name and was borrowed from the historical “expanded cinema” of the 1960s will be put to the test. At a time when moving images are omnipresent, “expansion” or border transgression, which connected avant-garde film with modernist art, is taking place within different parameters, if at all. The critique of the normativity of cinema remains relevant, but now that the avant-garde has found its way into the mainstream and the museum, the relationship between art and cinema has lost its tension. Instead we find ourselves in an echo chamber, as the Forum Expanded program illustrates, above all reflected by the changed relationship between the moving image and life as it is lived. A mythological theme – the song of the sirens and the Odyssey – is transposed into a present defined as much by migration, displacement and the shadows of colonial history as by affective feedback loops, to which we are not only exposed in the social media. ANTIKINO explores escapes from this echo chamber.

There are several appearances of sirens in the program: As mermaids in THE MERMAIDS, OR AIDEN IN WONDERLAND, a new film by the Karrabing Film Collective which explores the dying planet against the backdrop of extractive capitalism in Australia from the perspective of indigenous peoples; as ghosts of Fordism in the Amazon basin in Susana de Sousa Dias’ FORDLANDIA MALAISE, and most clearly in Diana Vidrascu’s THE SILENCE OF THE SIRENS: This installation uses Kafka’s interpretation of the Odyssey in which the sirens are silent as a metaphor. It follows an actress who lives in Paris who explores her relationship with the place of her birth Martinique. This is not an echo chamber; on the contrary, a soundproof room becomes an allegory for an anesthetized present and detached relationships.

The 14th Forum Expanded will take place in new premises: A new space will be inaugurated by a group exhibition at silent green Kulturquartier. Featuring 17 works and running to 9th March, the exhibition will be expanded to the Galerie Ebensperger Rhomberg and the Luxoom Lab. During the Berlinale, silent green’s domed hall will become a studio cinema. There will be time for extensive discussions with filmmakers and other guests after each of the 13 Forum Expanded screenings. The program comprises 30 feature-length films and shorts.

RASENDES GRÜN MIT PFERDEN, a very personal 16-mm film made by Ute Aurand, is one of the feature-length films premiering. Stephan Geene’s TV series SHAYNE is an anti-portrait of Ricky Shayne, who streaked like a comet-like through West German entertainment culture from 1967 to 1972. DADDA – POODLE HOUSE SALOON by Paul and Damon McCarthy is a pseudo-western about media-hyped violence starring Donald and Daisy Duck, Nancy Reagan, Andy Warhol, John Wayne and the Cartwrights. LABOUR POWER PLANT by Robert Schlicht and Romana Schmalisch is about work and humans as a resource. FALSE BELIEF by Lene Berg is about the real-life nightmare of a black New York publisher, who landed up in jail on false charges because of his neighbor’s intrigues.

On 14th February, an international symposium about film archive-related themes and alternative archive projects called “Think Film No. 7 – Archival Constellations” will take place in the studio cinema.

SAVVY Contemporary presents the exhibition SHADOW CIRCUS by Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam about an overlooked chapter in Tibet’s recent history: the armed struggle for freedom which broke out spontaneously as a reaction to Chinese aggression and got caught up in global geopolitics after the CIA got involved in 1956.  

Christina Battle’s ongoing series NOTES TO SELF which explores the above-mentioned echo chambers of social media will be on display in the Marshall McLuhan Salon of the Embassy of Canada.

Participating artists and filmmakers: Talal Afifi, Kamal Aljafari, Monira Al Qadiri, Ayreen Anastas/Rene Gabri, Ute Aurand, Heike Baranowsky, Christina Battle, James Benning, Lene Berg, Félix Blume, Cao Fei, Didi Cheeka, Deepa Dhanraj, Susana de Sousa Dias, Suliman Elnour, Tamer El Said, Haytham el-Wardany, Kevin Jerome Everson, Harun Farocki, Denise Ferreira da Silva/Arjuna Neuman, Coco Fusco, Stephan Geene, Tamar Guimares, Shadi Habib Allah, Vinzenz Hediger, Laura Horelli, Eiman Hussein, Ruchir Joshi, Karrabing Film Collective, Jeremy Leatinu’u, Eltayeb Mahdi, Mpumelelo Mcata und Perivi Katjavivi, Paul McCarthy/Damon McCarthy, Rosalind Nashashibi, Constanze Ruhm, Muhammad Salah, Ritu Sarin/Tenzing Sonam, Robert Schlicht/Romana Schmalisch, Ibrahim Shaddad, Shelly Silver, Deborah Stratman, Catherine Sullivan, Clarissa Thieme, Diana Vidrascu, Clemens von Wedemeyer, Calum Walter, Ute Waldhausen, Eduardo Williams/Mariano Blatt, Evan Calder Williams/Anne Low, Billy Woodberry, Ala Younis, Akram Zaatari, as well as participants of the “Archive außer sich” project. Once again, Prinzessinnengärten will take over the Arsenal foyer. Curated by Stefanie Schulte Strathaus (Head Curator), Anselm Franke (Co-founder), Maha Maamoun, Ulrich Ziemons. Co-curators: Natasha Ginwala, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (SAVVY Contemporary).

Opening: Betonhalle of silent green Kulturquartier, Galerie Ebensperger Rhomberg, Luxoom Lab: 6.2., 19.00, Canadian Embassy: 7.2., 17:30, SAVVY Contemporary: 7.2., 19.00.