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Think:Film No.2: What do we know when we know where something is?

In collaboration with Allianz Cultural Foundation, Forum Expanded presents the conference Think:Film No. 2 – What Do We Know When We Know Where Something Is? Gallery, museum, theater, or cinema – the discussion about the relationship of film to the other arts is largely oriented around notions of space and place. Where does a film come from and where is it shown? The question is posed not only in regard to the artistic surroundings, but also to national affiliations. Hybrid forms, transna- tional co-productions, historical and political shifts open the question up to new meanings. In his opening talk Vinzenz Hediger looks at the term ‘world cinema’ and systems of classification based on lo- cation. Tarek Elhaik, Jahman Anikulapo, and Viola Shafik discuss productions of meaning against the backdrop of the regional and genre-specific organization of cinema and art. In her video Rania Stephan reflects on the difficulty of conducting an interview, while the Syrian writer and ac- tivist Samar Yazbek speaks about writing and images, life and death in the time of revolution, and the experi- ence of exile. Laura Mulvey, in a video made with Mark Lewis and Faysal Abdullah, chooses the talking head sit- uation to approach the problem of the representability of fatal state violence. She will be joined in discussion by Gertrud Koch. Gregor Stemmrich, Henriette Huldisch, and Jörn Schafaff discuss the term heterotopia, asking what happens when terms turn up in different locations. Here the lo- cations are cultural-political ones, such as the art or film world, including the academic positionings implied by them. Heinz Emigholz and Bettina Steinbrügge ex- pand this through a discussion of the experience of space in architecture and film. Ala Younis leads us into the invisible. What happens when a film is projected in the desert without a screen? Heba Amin and Malak Helmy work with audio recordings that conjure up their images, while Maha Maamoun eavesdropps on lovers in a park. In a panel about queer spaces, Marc Siegel, Roy Dib, Re- nate Lorenz, and Nanna Heidenreich connect geopoli- tics, desire and social practices. Cinémathèques are considered to be the places that provide cinema’s sustainability. They are clearly localiz- able, yet they always had the task of creating access to other worlds. Between festival culture and the internet, they seem to be disappearing, but their task to facilitate films is greater than ever. The Cinémathèque de Tanger, the Cimatheque – Alternative Film Center Cairo, the Film Society of Lincoln Center in NYC, and the Arsenal – In- stitute for Film and Video Art in Berlin exchange their experiences. Following a closing discussion the THINK:FILM AWARD will be given for the first time, in association with the Allianz Cultural Foundation. The Award includes presen- tations in Berlin and Cairo with a public presentation of the awarded work. The hosts are the Arsenal and its partner institution, the Cimatheque – Alternative Film Center Cairo.

All panels, talks and presentations in English language

Wednesday, 12.2.2014, Berlinische Galerie

12:30 Opening

13:00 Vinzenz Hediger: What Do We Know When We Know Where Something Is? World Cinema and the Question of Spatial Ordering
The concept of World Cinema emerges in a moment when cinema, as defined by film theory and as understood in film culture, appears to be in crisis. This crisis may be described as a problem of spatial ordering. The place of cinema, understood as a medium, a cultural institution and a canon of films, is in doubt – a problem that the concept of World Cinema appears to solve by proposing new modes of spatial ordering.

13:30Tarek Elhaik: Post-Mexican Assemblages
Taking cue from the provocative "post-Mexican condition" diagnosis and from ongoing farewells to Sergei Eisenstein's unfinished QUE VIVA MEXICO!, the talk meditates on the dissolution of nationalist and cosmopolitan frames in the work of four contemporary experimental media artists in Mexico.

14:30Jahman Oladejo Anikulapo: Nollywood - Exploding the myth of a people‘s cinema
At this time of global economic depression, which has led to dwindling economic fortune for the creative industries world-wide, especially that of film, this presentation aims at understanding how this alternative cinema voice represented by Nollywood could help to trigger a new, more dynamic film industry with a more democratic means of production, distribution, exhibition/expression, and consumption. The lecture highlights that progression of the cinema in any given society is a function of the democratic journey and the various shades of socio-economic transformations of the society.

15:00Viola Shafik: Notes on Arab Cinema
In the 1970s film critics from the Maghreb such as Férid Boughedir, working in association with Guy Hennebelle, introduced the term "les cinémas arabes" in the plural. Since that time, it has not become any easier to define the identity of so-called Arab film, which is not so easy to pluralize in German and English. In her talk, Viola Shafik will outline some of the reasons for this.

15:30 Roundtable with the speakers. Moderator: Stefanie Schulte Strathaus, Anselm Franke

17:30 Counter Narratives 1: Samer Yazbek Interviewed by Rania Stephan (Lebanon 2013, 35') followed by a conversation with Rania Stephan and Irit Neidhardt on filming and writing.
In her video Rania Stephan reflects on the difficulty of conducting an interview, while the Syrian writer and activist Samar Yazbek speaks about writing and images, life and death in the time of revolution, and the experience of exile. The video is commissioned by Ashkal Alwan in Beirut as part of the mulitidisciplinary platform Home Works 6.

19:00 Counter Narratives 2: 23rd August 2008 (Laura Mulvey, Faysal Abdullah, Mark Lewis, UK/Canada 2013,22') followed by Laura Mulvey and Gertrud Koch in conversation 
23rd AUGUST 2008 consists of two shots. A brief opening shot, intercut with intertitles, of the famous Al-Mutanabbi Street book market in Baghdad is followed by an unbroken eighteen-minute monologue, shot from a single, still camera position. In it, Faysal Abudullah gradually builds a portrait of his relationship with his younger brother, Kamel, and in the process evokes the lives of Iraqi intellectuals of the left, driven into exile in the early 1980s by Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Thursday., 13.2.2014, Berlinische Galerie

11:00 Heterotopias 1: What happens to terms and definitions when they appear in another place? Gregor Stemmrich and Henriette Huldisch in conversation. Moderator: Jörn Schafaff Art institutions, it could be argued, nowadays serve as heterotopia, as counter-placements to the culturally dominant forms of film presentation, namely the cinema. The increasing presence of film in exhibitions has been accompanied by a transfer of the terminology of cinema to art criticism. Discussing cinema and the museum as inter-related discursive spaces, Gregor Stemmrich, Henriette Huldisch, and Jörn Schafaff explore the difficulties and possibilities that such a transfer provides for making and thinking about films.

12:00 Heterotopias 2: "All architecture is what you do to it when you look upon it." (Walt Whitman) Heinz Emigholz in conversation with Bettina Steinbrügge
„Architecture projects space into this world. Cinematography translates that space into pictures projected in time. Cinema then is used in a completely new way: as a space to meditate on buildings.“ (H.E.) Heinz Emigholz and Bettina Steinbrügge talk about connections between architecture, autobiography, and world history.

13:00Ala Younis: Invisible Film. Followed by a conversation with Heba Amin and Maha Maamoun
Ala Younis speaks about various invisible places where cinema exists: some films belong to non-exiting entities, others are dropped after journeys of circulation, and some of them have established a way of viewing/making other images although they have gone invisible since then. She also speaks about the idea of screening in/to the void, and how some audiences have disappeared. Afterwards she will speak with artists Heba Amin and Maha Maamoun about images which are constructed in the artist’s or viewer’s mind, based on sound.

14:30 Politics of Queer Spaces. Marc Siegel, Roy Dib and Renate Lorenz in conversation with Nanna Heidenreich
Queer spaces have largely been considered in relation to issues of inside/outside, public/private, and in/visibility.  More recently, queer theory has responded to the pressures of globalization by investigating the imbrications of gender, sexuality, and desire with such issues as nationalism, diaspora, tourism, and migration. This panel will take up these debates by addressing the limits of vizualisation and articulation, of projections and soundscapes across national borders.

15:45 Manifesto for a new Cinematheque Bouchra Khalili, Dennis Lim, Tamer El Said, Birgit Kohler, Stefanie Schulte Strathaus
The cinémathèque is traditionally a place that provides a home for cinema, that fosters and presents national and international film history, and that takes on the task of showing films that otherwise would not be seen. It opens up room for discussion and helps to create knowledge. What might this mean in a time when the cinema is becoming decentralized? Or to put it another way: What do we know, when we know where something is? Two younger and two older institutions, all charged with the tasks of a cinémathèque, ponder this question.

17:00 Wrap up with the participants and book launch: “Zeitgenössische Künstler aus der Arabischen Welt - Positionen 7“, eds. Johannes Ebert, Günther Hasenkamp, Johannes Odenthal, Sarah Rifky, Stefan Winkler, Verlag: Steidl Göttingen 2013

The Think:Film Award, established in cooperation with the Allianz Kulturstiftung, honors a work that creatively uses its medium in order to grasp and reflect geopolitical contexts artistically, to broaden the space of aesthetic experience, and to encourage mental changes of perspective. The award, chosen by a three-member jury, includes travel to and accommodations in Berlin and Cairo, where the selected works will be presented. Jury: Mohamed Beshir, Marcel Schwierin, Ala Younis 

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur