august 2021, arsenal cinema

Archival Assembly #1

September 1-8, 2021 at Arsenal Cinema, silent green Kulturquartier, Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), SAVVY Contemporary, Sinema Transtopia

The festival Archival Assembly #1 marks the (temporary) conclusion of the five-year project „Archive außer sich“, a series of interdisciplinary research, presentation, and exhibition projects dealing with film cultural heritage and its archives. Participating institutions are Harun Farocki Institut, SAVVY Contemporary, pong film, silent green Film Feld Forschung, the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, and the masters program “Film Culture: Archiving, Programming, Presentation” at the Goethe University Frankfurt. From September 1 to 8 film archives and film archival projects will meet for a public exchange. At the same time, the plan is for a festival that will take place biannually, understanding archival work – as well as the cinema – as an artistic, social, and political practice.

"Some of them hold to the idea of the national legacy (or genre, or historical time period), others are resistant to such ideas. Some of them are easily accessible as state archives or are closed off to the world, others have never made any inroads at all into the writing of film history. Archives and counter-archives: It seems as if neither can do without the other. But when film archives are seen, not as closed entities, but as the setting for negotiating a transnational practice, forming new alliances, perhaps the old idea of so-called 'world cinema' can shake off its power structure, allowing us to rethink both, the world and the cinema." (Stefanie Schulte Strathaus)

july 2021, living archive

21 archives

This summer, HKW invites audiences to attend evening open-air concerts, readings, performances, and films as part of their 21 sunsets program from July 15- August 15. Arsenal is involved once again: 21 archives grasps films and film programs themselves as archival spaces. Found footage, that is, the appropriation and editing together of previously discovered material, is a widely used cinematographic approach. In addition, 21 archives examines the possibilities that arises when this approach leaves its standard operating procedure behind: what if the material used is not found, but rather produced (perhaps because certain perspectives are not included in the existing material)? Or what if it’s not images and sounds that are appropriated, but other things (such as bodily experiences or linking strategies)? Archival practice thus becomes a practice of reorganization and the archive becomes a site of radical critique and lived design. The archive becomes cinema, cinema becomes an archive. The program is held together by 21 planetary events.

april 2021, living archive

Arsenal 3 in March: Bricks

Still from Zum Vergleich

On 16 September 2013, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, Arsenal showed a double programme entitled "Bricks" in the presence of Harun Farocki. Farocki's ZUM VERGLEICH (In Comparison, Germany 2009) and CHIRCALES (Colombia 1971) by Marta Rodríguez and Jorge Silva, two films about brickmaking from the Arsenal's collection, were shown. While Farocki's film observes manual labour, industrial work and computer work in India, Switzerland, Burkina Faso, France and other places, creating a global contemporary history of brick production, Marta Rodríguez's and Jorge Silva's film focuses on a brickmaker family over a period of six years, exemplifying the exploitation of the workers.

"Archive außer sich" will show both films, which have a long history with the Arsenal Archive, on arsenal 3 in April.

march 2021, living archive

arsenal 3 in March: Odd Ones Out – Films from the archive of the Short Film Festival Oberhausen whose histories have not yet been written

The archive of the Short Film Festival Oberhausen is a “prize-winners’ archive,” meaning that the prints' existence in this archive is generally thanks to their having been awarded a festival prize, whether by the International Jury or one of the independent juries considered to be significant. Having a place in the archive was not, however, a guarantee of lasting attention. While some of those film prints remained in circulation, at least temporarily, on the programs of film clubs or educational institutions, and others were shown in retrospectives to represent milestones in the festival’s history, others stayed largely unnoticed.

The running card of each film print provides information about how often it was borrowed and shown, and by whom. If a film had a commercial distributor or was distributed by a national film archive, the Oberhausen print was usually one among many and was rather irrelevant to the afterlife of that film. It is different, of course, if the print archived in Oberhausen was one of only a few of that film, or if it became a unique specimen over the years due to losses elsewhere or the conversion of other institutions to digital formats.