Arsenal – Institut für Film und Videokunst e.V. > berlinale forum
December 2014, berlinale forum

Forum Expanded 2015: To the Sound of the Closing Door

Still from Beauty and the Right to the Ugly

BEAUTY AND THE RIGHT TO THE UGLY (2014), Courtesy Wilfried Lentz Rotterdam and the artist

In its 10th anniversary year, Forum Expanded will be presenting the group exhibition, together with the complete film programme and all performances and discussion events at the Akademie der Künste on Hanseatenweg. This re-establishes the historical connection between the Berlinale and this particular location: the Akademie was one of the main Forum screening venues until 1999 and will once again screen films from the Forum programme in 2015. The venue will thus function as a resonance chamber for the myriad interrelationships between Forum and Forum Expanded.

For 10 years now, Forum Expanded has been consistently dedicated to continuing and expanding upon the discourse surrounding the relationship between cinema and the other arts. In the process, the programme has continually raised important questions relating to society and aesthetics and presented new film-artistic perspectives at a very early stage. Forum Expanded shows an awareness of the need to keep the history of film alive whilst looking to the present and future of its artistic and curatorial practice.

The title of this year’s programme is "To the Sound of the Closing Door": when a door closes, it does not necessarily mean that a possibility ends. The works selected challenge this sense of finality by tracing the echo of the slammed door. They seek out the points at which projects and utopias are able to come into being and the way in which historical ruptures and upheavals generate visions and expectations for the future. Yet the movements and narratives created by closing, opening and stepping through these metaphorical doors also imply the possibility of exclusion and the failure of new projects – but how does one measure success or a lack thereof anyway?

The 17 works in the group exhibition create parallel worlds, counter- narratives and – to stick with the language of cinema – both rear projections and multiple ones. Wendelien van Oldenborgh’s video installation BEAUTY AND THE RIGHT TO THE UGLY thus examines a utopian construction project in the Netherlands: a community centre originally designed without interior walls – and without doors. In THE NAMELESS, Ho Tzu Nyen spins a yarn full of ambiguities about a triple agent in Southeast Asia, while Constanze Ruhm and Emilien Awada’s INVISIBLE PRODUCERS: KAPITEL 1: PANORAMIS / PARAMOUNT / PARANORMAL follows the trail of the ghosts and stories that inhabit the former premises of a French film studio.

The film programmes also harness the relationship between written history and that yet to be written to productive effect. Isabelle Prim’s CALAMITY QUI? brings Western heroine Calamity Jane back to life in a kaleidoscope of cinematic and historical references. In Marwa Arsanio’s film HAVE YOU EVER KILLED A BEAR? OR BECOMING JAMILA, a young actress takes an in-depth look at an Algerian resistance fighter she is supposed to play. João Pedro Rodrigues and João Rui Guerra da Mata’s IEC LONG retraces the story of a fireworks factory in Macao. All these films understand past, present and future as a realm of possibility whose potential is to be explored in cinematic terms.

Further artists whose works will be shown in the exhibition and film programmes include Roy Dib, Kevin Jerome Everson, Pierre Huyghe, Ken Jacobs, Mireille Kassar, Elke Marhöfer and Mikhail Lylov, Jenny Perlin, Hans Scheugl, Michael Snow and Anton Vidokle.

For the opening of the Forum Expanded programme on February 4, the performance Love Letters: The Falling Comrades by Lara Khaldi and Yazan Khalili will be presented at the Akademie der Künste.

The comprehensive artists’ talks, panel discussions and presentations to be held in the Akademie der Künste’s Clubraum explore the questions raised by the title of the programme in greater depth. The guests invited include the participants of the Visionary Archive project funded by the TURN Programme of the Germany Federal Cultural Foundation, a research project spanning Cairo, Khartoum, Johannesburg, Bissau and Berlin on the different phases and facets of African cinema.

For the second time already, an international jury will present the "Think:Film Award" to works from the Forum Expanded programme. The award, which is tendered in cooperation with the Allianz Kulturstiftung, takes the form of an invitation to take part in film screenings in Berlin and Cairo under the title "Think:Film – A Double Screen Projection".

The Arsenal cinema and the Embassy of Canada remain the other locations for the Forum Expanded programme.

Forum Expanded is curated by Stefanie Schulte Strathaus (head curator), Anselm Franke, Nanna Heidenreich, Bettina Steinbrügge and Ulrich Ziemons.