Serbia / France / Germany,
How can a landscape speak?
It’s like wondering whether the grass, the crickets,
or the pond are only a backdrop to the events,
or whether they actually participate in them,
with their shadows, depths, sounds,
waiting to become narrators?
Landscapes of Resistance, a film by Marta Popivoda, traces a journey through the memories of antifascist fighter Sonja (97), one of the first Partisan women in Yugoslavia, who was also among the leaders of the Resistance movement at Auschwitz. As Sonja speaks, we travel through the landscapes of her revolutionary youth as they exist in the present time – the Serbian forests and mountains where the partisans gathered and the muddy grounds and countless chimneys of Auschwitz – towards her tiny Belgrade flat where she lives with her husband and cat. Since Sonja is a great storyteller, capable of telling about past events without hindsight, she takes us directly into that peculiar atmosphere and mindset, which gave birth to antifascist resistance. We make her story travel through time towards the bodies of the new generation of antifascists, bespeaking that it is always possible to think and practice resistance.
Landscapes of Resistance TeaserMarta Popivoda: Landscapes of Resistance, 111075, screening, ICI Berlin, 29 April 2021 <https://doi.org/10.25620/e210429-1>
If it is indeed true that Aracoeli returns to topics fundamental to all of Morante’s texts and questions them in an often disturbing manner, our hypothesis is that the novel cannot be reduced to a deep expression of despair, but, rather, succeeds in confronting crucial philosophical and epistemological questions in an original and profound way: through its narrative inquiry into the relationship between mother and child, Morante’s text creates a ‘hallucinatory’ representation of the original mother-child dyad, questioning the classical distinction between subject and object and offering a theory for the genesis of language and meaning.
The protagonist’s journey to Spain in search of his dead mother forms the poetic and theoretical nucleus for the novel’s manifold perspectives and motifs that contaminate and disrupt literary, psycho-analytic and political paradigms as well as categories of identity, gender and sexuality. In particular, the novel’s intricate structure allows different levels to interact with one another, producing asymmetries and contrasts that represent a form of resistance towards the hegemonic and totalizing claims of the logos.
The Berlin symposium sought to re-evaluate the complexity of Morante’s novel by reflecting on the manifold tensions that it stages and that are also present in contemporary philosophical discourse (from feminist to queer to political theory) and authors. It included an international conference combining scholars from different disciplines and cultural traditions, a staged reading and a talk by the poet Patrizia Cavalli.The Power of Disturbance: Around Elsa Morante’s Aracoeli, conference, ICI Berlin, 11–12 April 2008 <https://doi.org/10.25620/e080411>
On the occasion of the death of the philosopher Jacques Derrida in 2004 U.S.-American comedian and performance artist Janice Perry performed Derrida, alone in her apartment in Frankfurt for three days, imitating his movements and gestures, in an attempt to embody some of his theories of deconstruction.
Documentation of this performance led to an edited video montage of the documentary film ‘Derrida’, shown simultaneously with an original video and supplemented by an artist talk/live performance.
With this work-in-progress, Perry gives an introductory overview of Derrida’s philosophy for beginners and reminds those who know him of the layered complexity of his work. Mourning Derrida both mourns the death of Derrida and deconstructs deconstruction itself.Janice Perry, Mourning Derrida, performance lecture, ICI Berlin, 1 October 2007 <https://doi.org/10.25620/e071001>
From Source to Poem, 2016
35mm film, colour, optical sound, 12’
From Source to Poem shifts focus from artworks (in her previous works on museum storages) into archival storage. Shot at the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center of the Library of Congress in Culpeper, Virginia, and at an enormous solar power plant in California, it juxtaposes images from the world’s largest media archive with a study of rhythm and images of cultural and industrial production. Like the temporal property of two things happening at the same time, “the interval determining the coincidence gate is adjustable.” The film exposes the preservation of cultural outputs, but also their digitisation for the future. A vast number of the archives’ holdings is sound material (audio recordings, wax discs, vinyl and LPs); a sonic memory that Barba rescues and mixes in the soundtrack as a way of setting in motion otherwise unlikely dialogues.
Rosa Barba is an artist interested in film and the ways in which it articulates space. Composition, physicality of form, and plasticity are important aspects of this articulation, but Barba also interrogates the industry of cinema with respect to various forms of mise-en-scène by taking them out of their contexts and restaging them. Her solo exhibitions include: Tate Modern, London (2010); MAXXI, Rome (2014); MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge MA (2015); CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, and Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2016); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan, and Malmö Konsthall, Malmö (2017). Group and large-scale exhibitions include: the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil (2016), and the 53rd and 56th Venice Biennale (2009 and 2015). From Source to Poem is the latest monograph on her work (Hatje Cantz, HangarBicocca, and Malmö Konsthall, 2017).
The Embassy, 2011
HD, colour, sound, 27′
(Directed, produced, photography and editing by Filipa César; written by Armando Lona and Filipa César; performed and narrated by Armando Lona; sound by Nuno da Luz; director’s Assistants: Jorge Biague and Philip Metz; supported by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon and Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin)
This film deals with the codes of representation used by the former Portuguese colonial administration in the West African country of Guinea-Bissau, and with modes of memory production. It shows a photo album depicting the perspective of the Portuguese colonist, who photographed landscapes, people, architecture, and monuments in Guinea-Bissau in the 1940s and 1950s, with documentary diligence and the implied violence of objectivation. Intersected by gestures of re-animation, this photo display – handled, flipped through, and re-framed by the hands of the Guinean archivist Armando Lona – is the point of departure for a critical, multi-layered narrative on the common past of these two countries.
Filipa César is an artist and filmmaker interested in fictional aspects of the documentary, the porous borders between cinema and its reception, and the politics and poetics inherent in the moving image. Since 2011, she has been looking into the origins of the cinema of the African Liberation Movement in Guinea-Bissau as a laboratory of resistance to ruling epistemologies. César premiered her first feature length essay-film Spell Reel at the Forum section of the 67th Berlinale (2017). Selected exhibitions and screenings have taken place at: 29th São Paulo Biennial (2010); Manifesta 8, Cartagena (2010); Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2011–2015); Jeu de Paume, Paris (2012); Khiasma, Paris, (2011–2015); Kunstwerke, Berlin (2013); SAAVY Contemporary, Berlin (2014–2015); Tensta konsthall, Spånga (2015); Mumok, Vienna (2016); Contour 8 Biennial, Mechelen, Gasworks, London, and MoMA, New York (2017).Rosa Barba and Filipa César, ‘Errant Archives’, artist talk, screening presented at the symposium Over and Over and Over Again: Re-Enactment Strategies in Contemporary Arts and Theory, ICI Berlin, 17 November 2017 <https://doi.org/10.25620/e171117-1>
The symposium investigates the issue of re-enactment through a discussion at once conceptual and practical. How, and to what extent, does recent history engage in a creative dialogue with a more distant past supposedly reactualized through re-enactment? This process of creative repetition branches out into at least three directions: (1) the return/survival of the past understood as generating meaning and values for both present and potential future/s, in terms of what one could call a symbolic archaeology; (2) an epistemological-axiological challenge to the traditional dichotomy between true and false, original and copy; and (3) a performative bodily practice that physically re-stages events.
Methodologically, the notion of re-enactment will be approached from three directions: the archive, the arts, and curatorial practice.Over and Over and Over Again: Re-Enactment Strategies in Contemporary Arts and Theory, symposium, ICI Berlin, 16–17 November 2017 <https://doi.org/10.25620/e171116>
If today people increasingly face an augmented reality in their everyday life, how will this regime of artificial intelligence affect human perceptions of time, reality, space, the body, and alterity? Can operational images performing specific tasks independently of human control or pictures created by algorithms still be considered by themselves? What about digital media environments that no longer represent anything but are designed to stimulate a multisensory and interactive experience: aren’t they perhaps closer to ‘an-icons’, that is, images that tend to negate themselves as images? And how can one envision the future of images at the crossroads of Internet and Post-Internet art? The workshop will delve into questions concerning the ‘nature’ and role of digital images.Mitra Azar (aka Emanuele Andreoli) is a video-squatter and ARThropologist with a background in aesthetic philosophy. For the last ten years he has been investigating crisis areas in some of the most controversial places through the lens of visual art, filmmaking, and performance. He is currently a PhD candidate at Aarhus University, as well as part of the Geneve2020 think tank (Institute of Research and Innovation, Centre Pompidou). He currently is a visiting scholar at Duke University and the University of California, Berkeley. His work has been featured in academic and exhibition contexts at, among others, Cambridge, NYU, MOMI NY, Spectacle Cinema NY, the School of Creative Media at the City University of Hong Kong, Goldsmiths, the Havana Biennial, The Influencers, Fotomuseum Winterthur, the Venice Bienniale, the Transmediale, Macba [Sonia] Podcast, and the Berlinale.
Jacob Lund is associate professor of Aesthetics and Culture and Director of the research programme ‘Contemporary Aesthetics and Technology’ at the School of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University, Denmark. He is also editor-in-chief of The Nordic Journal of Aesthetics. Lund has published widely within aesthetics, art history, critical theory, and comparative literature. Currently he is finishing a four-year collective research project called ‘The Contemporary Condition’, which focuses on the concept of contemporaneity and changing experiences of time (www.contemporaneity.au.dk). His publications as part of the project include The Contemporary Condition: Introductory Thoughts on Contemporaneity and Contemporary Art(2016, with Geoff Cox) and Anachrony, Contemporaneity and Historical Imagination (2019).
Marisa Olson is an artist and media theorist who performs research in the history of technology and its cultural and environmental affects. She is responsible for coining the term Postinternet Art in 2006. Her work has been presented at the Whitney Museum, the New Museum, Venice Biennale, Fotomuseum Winterthur, C/O Berlin, National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens, Tate Modern + Liverpool, British Film Institute, PS122, Performa Biennial, Samek Museum, and Bard CCS.Art and the Digital Environment: Reconfiguring Images, workshop, ICI Berlin, 30 January 2020 <https://doi.org/10.25620/e200130>
This event stems from the research project and exhibition ‘Reading by Osmosis’ (Amsterdam, Zone2Source/Het Glazen Huis, 16 February – 28 April 2019, curated by Semâ Bekirović), focusing on artworks made by non-human artists — by animals, trees, the wind, and other entities and processes. Bekirović’s project focuses in particular on works that are inspired by the human domain, or deploy humans or man-made objects as tools and material and has resulted in the book Reading by Osmosis – Nature Interprets Us.
After a short presentation of Bekirović’s project, the evening will begin with a lecture by Michael Marder.
The lecture will be followed by a discussion with ICI Fellows Daniel Liu and Alison Sperling on the possibility and consequences of non-human art production.Art of Encounter: On Non-Human Art Production, discussion, lecture, ICI Berlin, 20 January 2020 <https://doi.org/10.25620/e200120>
The symposium takes its cue from Lefort’s suggestive invitation to reconsider Dante’s endorsement of a ‘temporal monarchy’, that is, a secular order restricted to humankind’s common pursuit of earthly happiness and hence fully independent from the Church. Lefort sketches the political reception of Dante’s treatise, referenced by humanist advisors of princes, jurists of absolutist rule, and historians of nation-states alike, which, for him, testifies to a profound historical eccentricity of Dante’s conception rather than a teleology inherent to the modern history of the West. For Lefort, ‘the past always interrogates our present’.
But how can a text of many context-bound contestations such as the Monarchia interrogate present political circumstance? Can Lefort’s reading serve as a model of a historically reflected political philosophy? How to account for historical efficacy without risking a reamalgamation of history and ideas into a redemptive philosophy of history? How to make sense of the entanglement the Monarchia posits between knowledge, happiness, and politics? What is Dante’s conception of the common, what its relation to an essentially collective knowledge that can only be pursued in universal peace?
The symposium brings together scholars from different fields in order to reconsider the Monarchia in dialogue with Lefort’s suggestions and discuss its potentials and limits for imagining politics today.
Judith Revel (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense) will give the keynote lecture.Dante’s Political Modernities: Claude Lefort Reads the Monarchia, symposium, ICI Berlin, 6 July 2019, mp4 <https://doi.org/10.25620/e190706>