Jump directly to the page contents

Shifting Shapes – Cinematic Transformations
August 27–29, 2015

Each year the Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art offers a Summer School. For three days participants engage with a topic located at the interface of theory and practice in cinema.

This year for the first time, the Summer School will also add a second location, the silent green Kulturquartier. This new, independent venue for art and culture is located on the grounds of a former crematorium, built more than 100 years ago. Starting in October 2015 the entire film collection of the Arsenal will be housed there – publicly available to anyone interested.

New locations change what is located there – and vice versa. Especially when it’s about films that come from the past to shape the present.

The topic “Shifting Shapes – Cinematic Transformations” will engage with such transformations over time and space, but also over larger structures and analogue and digital formats. Shape shifters are beings that are capable of changing their own external form. They do this quite on the own accord, but also in relation to the exterior world, for strategic purposes, as an expression of affect or from motives that remain hidden. The focus of the event is on a cinema of the past become present, and on film (and its locations) that are still in the process of emerging.

With contributions by Bettina Ellerkamp, Alex Gerbaulet, Milena Gregor, Jörg Heitmann, Birgit Kohler, Merle Kröger, Susanne Sachsse, Philip Scheffner, Stefanie Schulte Strathaus, Tatjana Turanskyj.

The presentations will be held in German!

The number of participants is limited (30 persons). 
Attendance fee: 125 Euro / 105 Euro (members, students, Berlin-Pass) / 85 Euro (members of arsenal freundeskreis).

Download program (PDF)

Event venues
Arsenal Cinema, Potsdamer Straße 2, 10785 Berlin
silent Green Kulturquartier, Gerichtstraße 35, 13347 Berlin

Download registration form (PDF)

Nora Molitor / Angelika Ramlow | Organization

Programm Thursday, August 27

12.30 pm, Arsenal Cinema 2
Arrival and greeting

1 pm, Arsenal Cinema 2
Milena Gregor, Birgit Kohler and Stefanie Schulte Strathaus (Arsenal – Institut für Film und Videokunst e.V.) Bettina Ellerkamp, Jörg Heitmann (silent green Kulturquartier)

2–5 pm, Arsenal Cinema 2
Birgit Kohler, Tatjana Turanskyj

EINE FLEXIBLE FRAU (The Drifter), Tatjana Turanskyj, Germany 2010, 97 min
Greta: 40, an architect, mother of a 12-year-old son, separated from her husband, recently unemployed. She starts working in a call center but is soon dismissed once again. She does everything in her power to keep hanging on in there, starts drinking and drifts through the city, torn between the pressure to confirm and the spirit of contradiction.
A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE, in Berlin at the beginning of the 21st century. The so-called New Berlin, moving from the wastelands to the town houses. Flexible, globalized capitalism. Post-feminism. And the respective vocabulary that goes with it: fragments of theory, empty phrases, buzz words, quotes. A woman with a vision of urban space, of herself, of her profession, of her life with her child. But those aren't the actual circumstances. Greta at parties, at the call center, at sessions with a job application coach, with her son, with her ex-colleagues, at the job center, at bars, walking through the city. Fierce, hysterical, stubborn, almost in a trance, fractious, uninhibited, effusive, desperately unhappy. Situations, encounters, performances. More of a trip than a narrative. Snap-shots of a woman’s fragile contemporary life (at work). A FLEXIBLE WOMAN, an All-Around Reduced Personality. (Birgit Kohler)

5.30–6 pm, Arsenal Cinema 2
Susanne Sachsse

SERIOUS LADIES, Susanne Sachsse, Germany 2013, 21 min
Susanne Sachsse presents SERIOUS LADIES, a four-part video work that contains a constant and rapidly shifting conversation between three women (all played by Susanne Sachsse herself), communicated over the telephone and doorbell intercoms. We will first see this video, which combines found footage and newly shot material, in the cinema, and then change locations to see its original version as a video projection on an old, dirty, used up billboard made of wood and paper. The work poses the following questions: What are seriously ladies actually? What is so serious about them, these three ladies that could be assembled into a single woman, these three ladies played by a single actress?

6.30–7.30 pm, silent green Kulturquartier
Susanne Sachsse

Followed by discussion

20 pm, silent green Kulturquartier

Programm Friday, August 28

10 am –1 pm, silent green Kulturquartier
Merle Kröger and Philip Scheffner

Philip Scheffner’s documentary film REVISION and Merle Kröger’s novel GRENZFALL are both based on the same true story. On June 29, 1992, a farmer discovered two bodies in a grain field in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Investigation reveals the two dead people to be Rumanian citizens. While attempting to cross the external border of the EU, they had been shot by hunters.
REVISION is a kind of film revision of a criminal case that had been closed, bringing together locations, person, and memories that add up to a fragile network of versions and perspectives on a “European story.” The interface with fiction emerged during shooting. The crime novel GRENZFALL provides the opportunity to consolidate emotional and political moments and to rethink reality within a real of possibilities. A realm shared by the families of the murder victims and the filmmaker on this side of the border. In the end, even the cinema as a physical space itself becomes a shape shifter, for the presentation of the film at the Berlin Film Festival in 2014/2015 has led to a new project: AND-EK GHES... EINES TAGES...

In a conscious mix of film clips, reading, narration, and anecdotes, we would like to present how documentary reconstruction resonates in the current day and then back into the parallel fiction of past and present – just as fictional moments from the novel are translated again into reality and push forward into a fictional future, which has deliberate similarities with Bollywood.
Screening followed by discussion

2–4 pm, silent green Kulturquartier
Stefanie Schulte Strathaus

Memory Plays Itself – A Workshop with Memory Protocols
The focus of the workshop is the work of the artist and filmmaker Constanze Ruhm. Her serially constructed films and installations concern the undead of post-narrative cinema. The particular dynamics of memory make it impossible for the characters to die, turning cinema itself into a shape shifter. “A meta-character appears as a metaphor for a possible form of contemporary cinema, which has changed through the practices of new media and is anchored in today’s cultural and technological discourses. This meta-character speaks with the voice of the cinema, but through the syntax of media.” (X Love Scenes, 2006)

“What form must work take on in the struggle against forgetting, and how can we live in peace with ghosts, and should we even want that? Derrida answers that we cannot do anything other than to learn to live with the phantoms: ‘apprendre qu’à vivre avec les fantômes.’” (Invisible Producers, 2015)

4.30–7 pm, silent green Kulturquartier
Bettina Ellerkamp, Jörg Heitmann

KILLER.BERLIN.DOC, Bettina Ellerkamp, Jörg Heitmann, Germany 1999, 70 min
In May 1998, ten people, wanting to talk about their lives in a changing city, decide to turn their lives in Berlin into fiction. They play "killer", a game in which no one knows of the others, each one is culprit as well as victim. The task is to find a person, designated but unknown to the player, and to plan the perfect murder for the victim. Knowing that yet another person is searching for him or her, the player looks for the designated victim. The players create a web across the city, the paths they take, the places they visit and the encounters with people all draw a subjective sketch of contemporary life in Berlin in the meantime…
“killer.berlin.doc is a documentary with many fissures and fictive elements, a subjective artists’ portrait, an unusually beautiful architectural film, a diary with many voices focusing on two weeks in May 1998. The filmmaker collective combines different techniques successfully and in an aesthetically convincing style (subjective S8 in diary-style, video sequences of players, their "own" sequences). The innovative structuring of images is extraordinary and unique, the flowing transitions between documentary and fictitious elements repeat emotional insecurity on a formal level, an insecurity experienced not only by the players during the game. Berlin is at the same time a dreamscape tinted in blue, a projection of a multitude of desires, an agglomeration of very diverse architectural styles. An aseptic Potsdamer Platz designed on the computer is placed next to the waste land close to the location of the former Wall.” (Detlef Kuhlbrodt)
Screening and discussion, presentation of the CD-ROM/internet project

7 pm, silent green Kulturquartier

8.30 pm–12 am
Bettina Ellerkamp, Jörg Heitmann
Bus tour through Berlin at night: Vanished spaces and ghostly encounters

Programm Saturday, August 29

11 am–12.30 pm, silent green Kulturquartier
Alex Gerbaulet

SCHICHT (Shift), Alex Gerbaulet, Germany 2015, 29 min
SCHICHT (Shift) is both a reckoning and a search for traces of the past. Layer by layer the film unfolds the portrait of the filmmaker's family – brought to life by records from private archives – and embarks on a dizzying trip through the shrinking industrial city of Salzgitter, Germany.
Award winner of the 61st International Short Film Festival Oberhausen / Prize for the best contribution to the German Competition. “Architecture, personal space, personal history, German history, the history of a town that is nourished by work. A man cleans his dog's paws. A woman loves another woman. And does not lay flowers on her mother's grave. The prize of the German Competition goes to a film that urges us to approach history and stories with deliberation. We were in Salzgitter. From micro to macro, a heavy and beautiful lump emerges. It was created by Alex Gerbaulet and is called: Schicht. We won't be able to shrug it off any time soon.”
Screening followed by discussion

1.30–3.30 pm, silent green Kulturquartier
Bettina Ellerkamp and Jörg Heitmann

"To Hell with the Ugly" (“Et on tuera tous les affreux”)
What does a science fiction story by Boris Vian have to do with a mountain in Thuringia? How does a filmmaker form Berlin end up at a mountain in Thuringia and why won’t it let him go? A mountain as a reversal in fortune, as a projection surface for human fantasies of power, a mirror of German-German history and histories, and a starting point for a documentary film project that is still in the process of becoming…
The filmmakers Bettina Ellerkamp and Jörg Heitmann will show a multi-channel installation from the material they shot and will talk about of the possible course of a film.

4–6 pm, silent green Kulturquartier
Closing discussion with reception following

Funded by:

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