January 2014, arsenal cinema

Living Archive – A Day's Pleasure, Behind the Screen: A Film Curatorial Performance by Clemens von Wedemeyer

MUSTER, 2012

Clemens von Wedemeyer's film MUSTER (Germany 2012, 18.1.) is the linear version of a three-channel film installation that was shown at the dOCUMENTA (13) to great acclaim. It shows the Breitenau monastery in its former function as an "education and labor camp" during the liberation by the US army in 1945, the Guxhagen house of correction for girls during the film shoot for Ulrike Meinhof’s Bambule, and the Breitenau Memorial Museum during a school excursion there. The individual passages are edited together so that memories and shifts in time are produced all of which revolve around the same location. 

From January 2014, MUSTER will form part of arsenal distribution's range of films, flanked by around 10,000 others. For the Berlin premiere of his film, we have invited Clemens von Wedemeyer to take a look at our collection and have made both of our cinemas available to him for one day complete with the foyer. 

"What would it be like if you broke down the walls of a multiplex cinema, if those watching entirely different films were to suddenly come together in order to watch separate films? The experiment: two complementing programs will be shown in parallel, with audience members able to choose and stroll between the two of them with the same ticket. The secret shuffling out of the cinema and the distracting sound of the door shutting become a part of a dispersed shared performance here. Much like during a film festival, only part of this marathon curated program can actually be seen, with another part of it always being missed in its place. The inspiration for the performance was two films by Charlie Chaplin.

The A DAY'S PLEASURE program is named after Chaplin's film (1919) about a family that goes on an outing on a pitching ship and shows films that grasp the cinema as space and generate or evoke feelings of dizziness and frenzy in the spectator. The viewer is seduced, dominated, and taken to unknown places by the corporeal effects of film. The key film here is Michael Snow's LA RÉGION CENTRALE (Canada 1971), in which a camera mounted alone on a mountain revolves for three hours until the viewer perceives the cinema as forming a body and its own cosmos. Yet narrative films such as Cassavetes' A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE (USA 1974), which describes a sense of mental and social frenzy, are also part of the program.

The contrasting BEHIND THE SCREEN program also takes its title from a film by Charles Chaplin (1916), in which he rushes from problem to problem whilst working at a theater, and shows films that analyze media production in society and the conditions attached to it. The protagonists, mainly actors and other people involved in film, are shown at work or have their own reflection thrown back at them in the form making ofs, whether on screen or on stage. The key film here is LA MACCHINA CINEMA (Silvano Agosti, Marco Bellocchio, Sandro Petraglia, Stefano Rulli, Italy 1979) about the solitary nature of work and the Italian cinema dream, as well as Samuel Beckett's FILM (USA 1965), a reflection on perceiving and being perceived in film starring Buster Keaton." (cvw) The complete program will be published for the screening. (19.1.)