May 2014, living archive

Visionary Archive: It all depends #3 and exhibition "Regulado" at n.b.k.


"From Boé to Berlin – A Mobile Laboratory on the Film History of Guinea Bissau": On May 23 the exhibition "Regulado" by Filipa César und Suleimane Biai opens at the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.) as part of the Visionary Archive project. In her films and installations, Filipa César explores the post-colonial constellations that were spawned by the recent history of Portugal. Since 2011, her research is focused on the film production in Guinea-Bissau, the beginnings of which were closely linked to the struggle for liberation. "Regulado" (2014) is Filipa César’s second collaboration with Suleimane Biai. In the framework of Visionary Archive both filmmakers, together with Sana na N’Hada, organize a mobile laboratory on the film history of Guinea-Bissau under the title "From Boé to Berlin". The central module of this project is a mobile cinema throughout Guinea-Bissau, where the recently re-emerged archive material from the national film archive INCA (Instituto Nacional de Cinema e Audiovisual) shall be brought up to date, among other things, in the places of their origin. In the "It all depends" series at Arsenal on 25.5., they will be showing the results of their film shoot in Guinea Bissau in February 2014 and presenting their planned traveling cinema project, which is intended to bring back films from the decade of decolonialization (1970–1980) to the places they were originally made. Two films from our archive (POR PRIMERA VEZ by Octavio Cortázar, REASSEMBLAGE by Trinh T. Minh-ha) and a documentary by Sana na N'Hada from the early years of the independent Guinea Bissau lay out film historical threads for the discussion.

Friday, May 23, Exhibition opening of "Regulado"
An installation by Filipa César and Suleimane Biai at the Showroom of Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.)
Opening hours: May 27–July 25, Tuesday–Friday 12–6 pm, Thursday 12–8 pm

In February 2014, in Birbam – about three hours north of the capital Bissau – Filipa César and the filmmaker Suleimane Biai documented, over the period of three weeks, the construction of a house that will serve the surrounding villages as a meeting space. Alongside his work as a filmmaker, Suleimane Biai is the régulo in this region and hence has assumed the duties of the head and conciliator of the community. Regulado, an installation conceived for Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, is named after the régulo’s scope of responsibility, usually an association of several villages. The installation results from a confrontation, which occurred in the course of shooting in Birbam and by which the cinematic action was called upon in unforeseen ways. Centered around two related videos, each of them shot in one take, the installation sketches relationships between various discursive and physical spaces, which intertwine within this encounter: the régulo’s scope of responsibilities and the staging space in front of the film camera, but also the assembly hall built off-scene, a mobile cinema in Birbam and the showroom in Berlin. The exhibition „Regulado“ takes place in cooperation with Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.).

Sunday, May 25, 3pm–7pm (approx.), It all depends #3, Screening at Arsenal
guests: Filipa César, Suleimane Biai, Jenny Lou Ziegl (Cinematographer: Regulado and REDONDA QUADRADA), Moderation: Marie-Hélène Gutberlet, Tobias Hering Cinema
REDONDA QUADRADA, Filipa César, Suleimane Biai, Germany 2014, OV/EnS, 8 min POR PRIMERA VEZ, Octavio Cortázar, Kuba 1967, OV/GeS, 9 min
LES JOURS D’ANCONO, Sana na N’Hada, Guinea-Bissau 1978, OV/EnS, 27 min REASSEMBLAGE, Trinh T. Minh-ha, USA 1982, OV, 40 min

REDONDA QUADRADA evaluates the differences of two house construction methods. Pragmatic and aesthetic considerations become an important factor, but also historical connotations and the politics of different rooms. The film was shot on the verge of the construction of a new assembly building in Birbam, Guinea-Bissau. POR PRIMERA VEZ is a document of the "audiovisual alphabetization" of Cuba in the 1960s: Cortázar records the screening of a mobile cinema in a remote mountain village and shows the reactions of the inhabitants upon their first encounter with film, which was Charlie Chaplin’s MODERN TIMES. LES JOURS D’ANCONO shows everyday life in a village on the Bissagos Islands off the coast of Guinea-Bissau. Sana na N'Hada’s observations revolve around the girl Ancono. The challenges she faces while growing up reflect the issues that a country which has just been liberated from colonialism faces for the future. In REASSEMBLAGE, filmed in Senegal, the director distills sounds and images from the everyday life of villagers and resists the ethnological need to explain the "other" by resorting to explicit attributions. The film is a critique of the ethnological viewpoint and documentary authority. Trinh T. Minh-ha also questions her position as a filmmaker as well as pointing out the impossibility of finding a neutral and objective narrative voice.

Further information about the project "From Boé to Berlin" you can find here.