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The Right to a Public – Working With TV Archives

For more than 50 years, public broadcasters have been producing, co-producing and purchasing cinema films, launching programs and commissioning freelance authors and filmmakers. The invaluable collection that has emerged can be attributed to the enthusiasm of individual editors and editorial teams, as well as to the public broadcasters' educational mission enshrined in law. However, from the start, there has been a contradiction between the public funding of the stations and limited publicity for the products, which have often disappeared into archives after being broadcast, available for commercial exploitation. In a day-long symposium on September 23 featuring three panel discussions, participants will discuss the possibility of turning TV archives into "living archives" and making their collections available for research and cultural education. Taking as an example the filmmakers Navina Sundaram, Harun Farocki and Sohrab Shahid Saless, who worked closely with NDR, WDR and ZDF in particular, the idea is to develop concrete models, alongside these broadcasters and other social actors, to ensure (public) access to the collections and thus to the visualization of film history.

In the second half of September, we will thus be dedicating the arsenal 3 program (www.arsenal-3-berlin.de) to the symposium, with Harun Farocki's WDR-commissioned film ZUR ANSICHT: PETER WEISS (FRG 1979) and ZUR ANSICHT: PETER WEISS. DREHARBEITEN IN STOCKHOLM, unused material from the same film from the Harun Farocki Institut archives, ORDNUNG (FRG 1980) by Sohrab Shahid Saless that was produced with ZDF, and as a preview to the "Weltspiegel" biography of the NDR journalist Navina Sundaram due to be released in 2021, a 1982 Panorama program „Ehe mit Ausländern: Panorama vom 13.4.1982“. All films are available in the original language version only.

The symposium is realized with the support of the Goethe-Institut. The event is part of “Archive außer sich,” a project of Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art, part of a cooperation with Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden and Pina Bausch Foundation, part of “The New Alphabet,” a HKW project, supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media due to a ruling of the German Bundestag.


Wed, September 23, 2020, 11–20 at silent green Kulturquartier, Kuppelhalle, Gerichtstraße 35, 13347 Berlin-Wedding

Free entry. The symposium will be held in German. The event will be streamed live online and made available afterwards on the website of the project „Archive außer sich“ (www.archive-ausser-sich.de).
Due to the hygiene policy the total number of availble seats will be limited. Please register via email until September 21: archive(at)arsenal-berlin.de.

11–12 Welcome by Stefanie Schulte Strathaus and Keynote Speech by Matthias Dell

12–13.30 „A Useful Library of Images“
“When you make a critique in television, you have the archive and the editing table at your disposal, which the critic who writes is usually lacking. You can look at material over and over again, and in doing so you can bring the history of images to light,” wrote Harun Farocki in 1973. “The History of Images”–this is also the history of images that Farocki made himself, and that were often created for television.
The comprehensive safeguarding of Harun Farocki’s television films and programs was possible due to a close cooperation between different actors. The co-producing television stations–above all WDR, but also other so-called third programs as well as 3sat–made it possible for the Goethe-Institut to license Farocki’s works. This opened the way to track down almost all his films produced in this public context in the television archives, to digitize them in high resolution, and in many cases to restore and subtitle them. In this way, distribution and access were permanently secured, as was the long-term archiving of the source material. The project had been initiated during Farocki’s lifetime, and was continued after his death by Antje Ehmann along with the Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen, the Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art, and the company FILM SHIFT, run by Farocki’s close collaborator Matthias Rajmann.

In conversation, Antje Ehmann (Harun Farocki GbR), Detlef Gericke (longstanding coordinator in the area of film, television, and radio at the Goethe-Institut), as well as Wilfried Reichart (director of the “film unit” at WDR from 1980 to 2004) will discuss the lessons that can be learned from this cooperation.

Moderation: Prof. Dr. Volker Pantenburg (FU Berlin, Harun Farocki Institut)

15–16.30 „A New Archive“
In the 1970s Sohrab Shahid Saless left Iran for West Germany to be able to make films more freely than he could in his homeland. The difficulties with film funding at the time correspond to the difficulties of access that his film legacy is facing today. The twelve feature films that Saless made in Germany could only be produced with the financing of public television broadcasters. This is why most of the film material is currently stored in television archives, and its release entails high costs and is not of a quality suitable for screening in cinemas. Limited even during his lifetime by a film funding system that gave preference to German productions over a migrant director presenting German conditions and by a film historiography that to this day has not adequately portrayed such transnational filmographies within New German Cinema, Saless now faces a new exclusion due to the archive policies of television stations. Are there ways to transfer film material from the television stations into new archives in order to guarantee accessibility?
A conversation with Reza Haeri (curator of the Tehran retrospective of Saless’s West German productions), René Ruppert (licence management Provobis/Tellux-Film), Frieder Schlaich (film producer, Filmgalerie 451) and Marc-André Schmachtel (consultant for audiovisual media, Goethe-Institut) will clarify the various interests united by Saless’s work. The question will be raised as to what intersections exist between the different actors despite their heterogeneity, something that is often overlooked alongside the broadcaster’s commission, rights issues, and cinephilic desires.

Moderation: Vivien Buchhorn (film scholar and curator)

16.45–18.15 „Window to the World“
Navina Sundaram came to Hamburg from New Delhi in 1964. For decades afterwards she worked for NDR as a reporter, moderator, and editor, documenting political events both in Germany and abroad. The online archive “Welt Spiegel” has taken on the goal of bringing Sundaram’s entire work–in which journalistic positions from her time, migration and media history, the Cold War, class questions, and feminism are intertwined–out of the closed vaults of TV stations and making them once again accessible to a wider audience.
In times when the demand for digital learning and diversity of content in teaching material is taking on more and more significance every day, we–along with Nanna Heidenreich, Professor for Transcultural Studies, representatives of the Federal Agency for Civic Education (bpb) and of Wikimedia Deutschland–would like to examine the democratic utopias of public television in the 1970s and 1980s and the internet in the 1990s and 2000s, bringing them to bear on the political and cultural debates around access to archives today. There will be reports on lost broadcast recordings and global chains of rights that have been thoroughly commercialized, but also on (archive) doors that are beginning, little by little, to open. 
The Federal Agency for Civic Education encourages political participation, seeing itself as the interface between citizens with an interest in politics and in shaping political opinion and state institutions with an educational mission. One main focus lies in their work in thematizing and encouraging media representation of migrants, diversity on editorial teams, as the media use of people with a personal history in migration.
Finally, Wikimedia Deutschland and its campaign “Public Money–Public Good!” is committed to ensuring that contributions from public funds are made permanently available to the public–with initial major successes in the area of educational material financed by contributions.
Together we will look to a future in which access to free knowledge and democratic cultural assets is possible and without charge.

With: Thorsten Schilling (Director of the Multimedia Division, bpb), Bernd Fiedler (Wikimedia Deutschland), Merle Kröger (Online Archive Welt-Spiegel/pong film)
Moderation: Prof. Dr. Nanna Heidenreich

18.30–20 Final Discussion

With: Madeleine Bernstorff (cultural producer, film curator, author) and Dr. Paul Klimpel (lawyer)


Madeleine Bernstorff (Berlin) writes, teaches, makes film programs. Journalistic as well as usually collaborative and research-based projects on the cinema of the avant-garde and resistance movements, motivated by feminism. Film and video programs including on video activism, on the representation of suffragettes in early cinema, on the anti-colonial filmmaker René Vautier, on Margaret Raspé’s camera helmet, on Ella Bergmann-Michel and the Kinamo camera. Research in collaboration with the Harun Farocki Institut on the filmmaker Skip Norman. With the group SPOTS production of short video spots on the NSU Complex. Member of the programming committee of the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen.

Vivien Buchhorn is an art historian and film scholar. Her research interests include current transnational cinema and artworks as well as questions related to archiving them. Alongside her scholarly work, Vivien Buchhorn serves as a curator of film series, works on various film projects, and regularly publishes film and exhibition criticism. Sohrab Shahid Saless’s films are part of an ongoing research project that began with the organizing of the retrospective of his work at the Zeughauskino in Berlin in 2016.

Matthias Dell works as film, media and theatre critic and is working as a freelancer for Deutschlandradio, Zeit-Online (weekly crime column „Obduktionsbericht“ [i.e. „autopsy report“, www.zeit.de/serie/der-obduktionsbericht]), Cargo, end Film, Spiegel.de, FAS. Publications: "'Herrlich inkorrekt'. Die Thiel-Boerne-Tatorte" (Bertz+Fischer, 2012), "Über Thomas Heise" (Vorwerk 8, 2014, mit S. Rothöhler), "Duisburg – Düsterburg. Werner Ruzicka im Gespräch" (Verbrecher, 2018, mit S. Rothöhler).

Antje Ehmann, curator, author and artist, has realised several exhibitions, artistic projects and publications regarding the history of film and city development. She curated the exhibitions „Kino wie noch nie“ (with Harun Farocki), Generali Foundation, Vienna 2006, „Harun Farocki. 22 films,“ 1968 until 2009 (with Stuart Comer and Kodwo Eshun), Tate Modern, London 2009, „The Image in Question. War – Media – Art,“ Carpenter Center for Visual Arts, Cambridge, Mass. 2010,  „Harun Farocki Retrospektive,“ (artistic director with Marius Babias), Berlin, Germany 2017, Harun Farocki, Hito Steyerl. Life Captured Still (with Carles Guerra), Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London 2020. In artistic articles for „Shrinking Cities,“ Berlin 2004 and „X-Wohnungen,“ Johannesburg 2010 she is concentrating on transformational processes in the urban space.

Bernd Fiedler is a lobbyist for free knowledge. He is active in Wikipedia Deutschland for more quality content under free license, better basic conditions for creative persons, and the issues of volunteer communities in the Wikiverse. He was once a teacher and has been annoyed at public radio, and is still annoyed at public radio.

Detlef Gericke worked as a dramaturg for a theater group in southern Germany before coming to the Goethe-Institut. He directed the institutes in Göteborg, Boston, and Vilnius, and directed programming in Jakarta. His understanding of film work was shaped by the transformational years following the fall of the Indonesian autocrat Soeharto, the establishment of a civic democracy with comprehensive freedom of press and of opinion, and the reconstruction of the film industry that took place at the same time. He later directed the department for film, television, and radio at the Goethe-Institut Head Office, where he coordinated the digitization of the Goethe-Institut’s film holdings, which doubled the worldwide spectatorship of Goethe film programs and integrated children’s film programs into the archival repertoire. He worked in Jakarta and Boston with Harun Farocki and Antje Ehmann, including on the excellence project “Labour in a Single Shot.” He has five children, some of them already grown, and lives with his wife in Berlin.

Reza Haeri is a filmmaker and curator based in Tehran. Some of his recent works are FINAL FITTING (2008, Grand Prize from Cinema Verité Festival), ALL RESTRICTIONS END (2009, Grand Prize from Rio de Janeiro Film Festival, selected in Forum Expanded Berlinale 2010). He has also been involved with a political periodical “Dialogue” (Goftogu) since 1999, and the editor of the special issue on Cinema and History (2014). He founded Tehran Cine club (2005–2010) and in 2015 he curated “Metaphor and Politics: The Tehran Retrospective of Harun Farocki.” In 2017, Reza Haeri curated the Retrospective of Sohrab Shahid-Saless’ German Works “Nostalgia for The Elsewhere” at TMoCA. Currently, he is working as the co-curator of “Reset Modernity: Tehran perspective” project based on the idea by Bruno Latour, as scientific director.

Nanna Heidenreich is a scholar of media culture and a curator for film, video, theory, and interventions. Since October 2020 she has been Professor for Transcultural Studies at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, after having taught at the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, the international filmschool cologne, the University of Hildesheim, and the Braunschweig University of Art (in media studies, media cultural studies, and in the Digital Narratives department). As a curator she most recently organized the symposium “Hotspots: Migration and the Sea” (2019) for the Academy of the Arts of the World in Cologne, she was co-curator of Forum Expanded at the Berlinale from 2009 to 2017, and was active as a consultant and curator in the areas of migration, refugees, and immigration for the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, including with “Soundtracks” (2016/17), as well as co-curator of “Now Is the Time of Monsters: What comes after nations?” (2017).

Paul Klimpel studied law in Bonn and Munich and philosophy, psychology, and social sciences at the Jesuit University of Philosophy. Internship in Berlin. Dissertation at Humboldt University. In 2002 he joined the German Museum of Film and Television (Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen), where he was administrative director from 2006 to 2011. He runs the conference series “Shaping Access–More Responsibility for Cultural Heritage.” Since 2012 he has been a partner in the law firm iRights.Law. In 2013 he directed the interdisciplinary expert group that formulated the “Berlin appeal on preservation of digital cultural heritage.” In 2015 he initiated the “Hamburg Notice on the Digitization of Cultural Heritage.” He teaches at various universities and institutions.

Merle Kröger is a writer, screenwriter, and dramaturge. From 1992 to 1999 she was a member of the Berlin group dogfilm, since 2001 of pong Film. Co-author of the feature-length documentary films DER TAG DES SPATZEN (DAY OF THE SPARROW, 2010), REVISION (2012), and HAVARIE (2016). She has published four novels, including “Grenzfall” (2012) and “Havarie” (2015). A feature film (EUROPE, screenplay) and a novel (“Die Experten”) will come out in 2021.
As part of “Archive außer sich” Merle Kröger worked with Mareike Bernien to produce the online archive “Welt-Spiegel: Innenansichten einer Außenseiterin oder Außenansichten einer Innenseiterin” (World-Mirror: Inside View of an Outsider or Outside Views of an Insider) about the work of the German-Indian filmmaker, journalist, and moderator Navina Sundaram.

Volker Pantenburg is professor for film studies at the Free University in Berlin. He researches, teaches, and writes on essayistic practices as well as works at the intersections of cinema and the museum. Current books publications as editor: “Harun Farocki: Ich habe genug! Texte 1976–1985” (2019), “Gerhard Friedl. Ein Arbeitsbuch” (2019), “Handbuch Filmanalyse” (2020, wirh Malte Hagener). In 2019 a dossier on the work of the WDR in the 1970s and ‘80s appeared in the journal Critical Studies in Television (Vol. 14, Issue 1), with texts and documents by Werner Dütsch, Angelika Wittlich, Joachim von Mengershausen, and Harun Farocki. In 2015 he co-founded the Harun Farocki Institut, where he serves on the board of directors.

Wilfried Reichart studied French literature at the Sorbonne in Paris. Training in journalism. Literary editor at the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger. Television editor and program director of the film division at WDR/Westdeutsches Fernsehen. Author of film related broadcasts on Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Rivette, Agnès Varda, and others. Co-author of books about Godard, Nicholas Ray, and the series Filmgenres at Reclamverlag. Co-producer of fiction, documentary, and essay films (including with Heinz Emigholz, Harald Bergmann, Hellmuth Costard, Sohrab Shahid Saless).

René Ruppert works in the field of project and license management for Provobis/Tellux-Film and for Katholisches Filmwerk in Frankfurt am Main. He studied film studies and German in Mainz and wrote his PhD about Helmut Käutner ("Helmut Käutner: Freiheitsträume und Zeitkritik", Bertz + Fischer, 2018). He is the author of various articles on film history (e.g. published via Reclam and edition text + kritik).

Thorsten Schilling studied philosophy/Marxism-Leninism in Leipzig. After being expelled from the GDR for political reasons, he started working as a press officer for the (East) Berlin Municipal Administration in 1990. In 1991 he became press officer for the senator for youth and family affairs in Berlin. Starting in 1995 he worked as a project manager, including for the gallery Eigen +Art and the Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art. In 1997 he co-organized the Hybrid Workspace as a temporary media lab at documenta X in Kassel. He was a founding member of mikro e.V. in Berlin in 1998, which he chaired until 2000. Between 1999 and 200 he was Director of Corporate Communications at the software firm Subotnic. Since 2000 he has been director of the multimedia division of the Federal Agency for Civic Education.

Marc-André Schmachtel has been a consultant for audiovisual media in the head office of the Goethe Institut in Munich since 2016, responsible for cooperation with television stations and radio projects. He has organized a variety of film festivals (Cinéfleuve, Afrikanische Filmtage Saarbrücken) and was stationed at the Goethe Institut in Cameroon (in the culture and language department) and Nigeria (as director). He has initiated various international cooperations in the areas of film, theater performance, and literature, and several large-scale projects (performance festival, art in urban space, online film platform).

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