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Daniel Cockburn: Presentation “All The Mistakes I’ve Made” 1 December 2011



The art world is bursting with events where artists present an anthology of the highlights of their career to a slightly bored audience. The Canadian filmmaker Daniel Cockburn gladly turns this tradition around. In his anti-artist talk, entitled “All The Mistakes I’ve Made”, he explains his oeuvre in terms of the aesthetic and ideological missteps that he’s made.  Building from these mistakes, he examines to what extent his inability to properly judge is representative of a negative trend in contemporary art and cinema. He will support his argument with excerpts from his own work as well as relevant examples from the work of artists like Andrei Tarkovsky and Tim Burton.


Since 1999, writer, director and video-artists Daniel Cockburn has worked at the intersection between art, avant-garde cinema and narrative film. His first feature length film “You Are Here” won the Top Prize at the European Media Art Festival in Osnabrück this year. Through innovative narrative techniques and structuralist experiments he breaks everyday reality and brings to light the striking underlying codes with a nearly neurotic dose of self-reflection. His films and videos invite you to experience alternative dimensions: What if time ran backwards? What if everything in the world doubled in size overnight?

Daniel Cockburn’s short films and videos have been screened at over 80 festivals and galleries worldwide.
He is a subject of Mike Hoolboom’s recent book Practical Dreamers: Conversations With Movie Artists (Coach House Books, 2008), and a recipient of the K.M. Hunter Artists Award for Film & Video (2008). In 2009, Pleasure Dome presented an international tour of a retrospective of his short works, and he was one of three directors selected from a worldwide call for the DAAD’s six-month Berliner Künstlerprogramm filmmaker residency in Berlin.

Drawing from the precedents of contemporary artist/filmmakers such as Miranda July (Me And You And Everyone We Know), Cockburn’s first feature You Are Here takes the techniques and concepts he has honed over the last decade as a video artist with a penchant for narrative, and works them into a complex and unique cinematic structure. Screenings so far include Locarno, Toronto, Rotterdam, and Goteborg International Film Festivals. It won the Top Prize at the European Media Art Festival 2011 for “trend-setting work in media art”, received the Toronto Film Critics Association Jay Scott Prize for Emerging Talent, was called  “a major discovery” by the director of the Locarno Film Festival, and has been compared to the work of Charlie Kaufman, Jorge Luis Borges, and Philip K. Dick. In August 2011 You Are Here began its Canadian theatrical release in a held-over engagement at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto.

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Made Possible By:

Gemeente Utrecht

Mondriaan Stichting


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