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Think:Film – International Experimental Cinema Congress 2012

An indepth video documentation of the congress can be found here:

– the International Experimental Cinema Congress 2012 – will take place at the Akademie der Künste in Hanseatenweg, Berlin from October 10th to 14th 2012. The congress is organized by Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art in collaboration with the Film Institute at the Berlin University of the Arts.

Following a period of diversification of experimental forms of artistic production, new ways of thinking about film and the types of thought that it is capable of achieving or can be used to create have become necessary.

The ability to break down and translate image and sound into digital codes represents a fundamental shift in film making practice and has led to massive changes with regards to production technology. The concentration and processing of different time-based art forms within computers has let loose a wealth of new synesthetic opportunities, examples of many of which were anticipated by certain advanced film forms. Practices that used to be the strict reserve of the experimental, avant-garde and underground film genres have been seized upon thanks to these new technologies, placed in new commercial contexts and popularized. In this way, the economic history of the "avant-garde" has become of relevance above and beyond its cultural impetus. The position of artistic authorship and curatorial and production activity within this new distribution landscape needs to be reflected upon in new ways.

The central goal of the Think:Film is to make a philosophical reassessment of the special position enjoyed by film and the cinematic image in artistic and intellectual practice and to redetermine what this position might be. What direct influence does the cinematic image have on current thought and how can film itself become a way of thinking? The congress is not concerned primarily with film genres, but seeks instead to pose fundamental questions: What is thought in connection with cinematic images and what are these images in connection with thought? Which types of images trigger which types of thought, which are capable of eradicating which types of thought? Which types of images can become an integral part of which types of thought,? Which cinematic images are in circulation and which kind of thinking does this point to?

Fifteen panels will each discuss a selected topic intended to emerge in response to a brief film program. The original papers presented by the various invited speakers will be directly followed by general discussion.

Khalid Abdalla, Thom Andersen, Ronald Balczuweit, Madeleine Bernstorff, Christa Blümlinger, Arianna Borrelli, Pip Chodorov, Christoph Dreher, Madhusree Dutta, Tamer El-Said, Heinz Emigholz, John Erdman, Azin Feizabadi, Anselm Franke, Peggy Gale, John Greyson, Ed Halter, Nanna Heidenreich, Birgit Hein, Shai Heredia, Max Jorge Hinderer Cruz, Henriette Huldisch, Brent Klinkum, Gertrud Koch, Birgit Kohler, Stephen Kovats, David Marc, Laura Marks, Angela Melitopoulos, Thomas Morsch, Olga Moskatova, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Winfried Pauleit, Laurence Rickels, Marc Ries, Stefan Ripplinger, Constanze Ruhm, Susanne Sachsse,Frieder Schlaich, Stefanie Schulte Strathaus, Marc Siegel, Michael Snow, Lisa Steele, Juan Suárez, Ela Troyano, Lioudmilla Voropai, Dorothee Wenner, Nicole Wolf, Klaus Wyborny, Ala Younis, Siegfried Zielinski and Mike Zryd.

Pre-registration is no longer possible.
Day tickets will be available on the day of the event at the Akademie der Künste boxoffice:
Wednesday/Sunday: 10€ / 6€ (reduced), Thursday – Saturday: 20€ / 12€ (reduced)

Akademie der Künste
Hanseatenweg 10
10557 Berlin

Tel.: +49(0)30-200 57-2000

Congress language is English.


Congress History

The scheduled congress follows two previous congresses held in close collaboration with the Goethe Institute in Toronto in 1989 and 2010 respectively.

At the 1989 Experimental Film Congress, the focus was on developing criteria for determining what experimental cinema actually is, establishing positions and working towards the creation of a theoretical framework. A fundamental debate arose about how a type of film history which had been seen as having the potential to renew cinema in a fundamental manner might be written and who should be doing the writing. It was also established at the same time that this coveted type of cinema was publically marginalized.

The second congress, which was renamed the Experimental Media Congress, was more concerned with taking stock following two decades in which experimental film had diversified strongly both with respect to technology and culture and had practically become a historical concept in the process. The subjects covered included method and practice in production and presentation, the mythologisation and institutionalization of experimental film, its place in cinema, art and media contexts, and a look at countries not represented in the field in 1989. 50 people from different theoretical and practical backgrounds, artists, filmmakers, academics, curators and archivists were invited to either speak or be on panels, with a total of 300 people in total taking part in the congress. The five days made clear that fundamental new formulations were needed in the face of different artistic positions and the veritable jungle of cultural, medial, technical and academic concepts.

It was decided to hold the congress every two years on a regular basis. The idea of using a changing location does not just have the advantage of allowing different hosts to take over its organization but is also intended to play a role in changing perspectives and creating specific thematic focuses.

The International Experimental Cinema Congress in Berlin will not be a film festival. Under the title Think:Film, the congress has set itself the task of expounding on the reciprocal relationship between forms of cinematic language and types of thought and discussing this relationship with an international audience of specialists by means of a series of events organized by topic. The most advanced forms of cinematic art will form a starting point for these discussions rather than their hollow, popularized counterparts. The congress sees itself as a framework to provide new ways of justifying the necessity of such film production.

Funded by Hauptstadtkulturfonds

In cooperation with the Akademie der Künste, Berlin

With the kind support of
Sonderforschungsbereich 626 - Ästhetische Erfahrung im Zeichen der Entgrenzung der Künste an der Freien Universität Berlin
Embassy of Canada in Berlin
Ontario International Marketing Centre
Goethe Institute Cairo
Stadtkultur Berlin

Funded by:

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