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CULTURAL AUTOPSY

THE STATE WE ARE IN

28 October 2004
20:00 — 22:00


Location: Filmtheater ‘t Hoogt
Hall 1

Cultural Autopsy focuses on the way outsiders view our western society and parallel to that, on the way we ourselves perceive and represent foreign cultures. The perception and appraisal of cultural phenomena comes to the fore particularly when one culture adopts elements of another culture. Whether people adopt foreign elements of their own free will, as often happens in musical culture, or are forced to do so, as in the case of colonialism, the initial phenomena are always interpreted and transformed in the process. Through sub-themes like authenticity, exoticism, representation, tourism and globalisation, the programme will shed an illuminating and sometimes painful light upon intercultural misunderstandings and manipulations. The programme consists of a variety of genres: documentaries, music videos, animations, educational films and video art. Two artists, Lisl Ponger and Johan Grimonprez. have been invited to co-curate the program. In her work, Ponger analyses intercultural representation through tourist super 8 home- movies. Apart from giving an overview of her own work, she will also compile a part of the programme. The second guest curator of the programme is the Belgian video artist Johan Grimonprez. In the past, IMPAKT presented his projects Kobarweng, Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y and Inflight on the IMPAKT Festival. In his work, Gimonprez shows himself to be a self-willed anthropologist of our western society.

 

The interest of Lisl Ponger as a film and photography artist lies at the cross roads of art and anthropology. Anthropology is a central theme because its  methodology is the embodiment of the Western way of looking at the Other, its scientific taxonomies are mirrored in commonplace categories and many of the attitudes are still to be founded embedded in our present society. As a political activist Ponger’s interest lies in anti-racist work. The programs in Ponger’s selection are journeys across continents, times and genres: from us, the western people, going there, as ethnologists, tourists or even artists, to them coming here, as guest workers and migrants or being born here as the second generation. The program consists of ethnological films, music videos, found footage, activist documentaries and artists’ films.

 

About the Program

A journey from the Morocco of Jewish and other war refugees to today’s Algeria; from an African possession cult processing the colonial experience to an African safari by Austrian tourists; from ‘we become Austrian’ to ‘Afro Deutsch’. The works in this program reflect on the situation in the German speaking parts of Europe, on the experience of ‘Heimat’ and how one is treated there.

 

Artworks

Dar-el-Beida
TIM SHARP (AUSTRIA 1996, 16MM, 3:00 MIN)
While Casablanca has much to do with male power and male friendship, righteousness and adventure, Dar-el-Beida concerns the feelings of being a refugee/outsider, those people who are the background of the film. They exist in an atmosphere of threat, always on the move but never getting anywhere, they have their identity reduced or nationality changed arbitrarily, in short, the powerless. In Dar-el-Beida (the Latinised Arab name for Casablanca), Bogie asks, “do you want my advice?” His cynical answer is the unspoken reality of Dar-el-Beida.

Dansons
ZOULIKHA BOUABDELLAH (ALGERIA 2003, VIDEO, 5:00 MIN)
“Dansons!Let’s dance! The freedom of Delacroix, leading the people of Paris towards the barricades, where his horizontal dart, became an arabesque. The violent emotion softens. An ironic wink which rises laughter rather than anger. Let’s dance, not march, sensuality instead of agression. East-West gave me a new awareness defined by my residence in France. I hide what in me is most intimate with the colours of the republic and those of France. Blue, White, Red; dynamics itself, rhytm withing, overwhelming melody, vibrations that my body embraces”(Zoulikha Bouabdellah) NB Dansons was created as part of a video installation.

Les Maîtres Fous
JEAN ROUCH (FRANCE 1958, VIDEO, 29:00 MIN)
An ethnographic monument whose images of rituals involving trance, considered shocking at the time, appealed to the French Surrealists and also provided the inspiration for Jean Genet’s vehement anti-colonial play Les nègres. In 1953, before the independence of Ghana, Jean Rouch filmed a Haiku ceremony in which Ghanese in trance imitate colonial officers. Rouch explain who is imitating who, while the participants strut past their ‘Government Palace’ : a high, festively painted anthill.

Unsere Afrikareise
PETER KUBELKA (AUSTRIA 1966, 16MM, 13:00 MIN)
Behind the title, ‘Our Trip to Africa’, suggesting a home movie at norm, a travelogue at best, hides a monumental film in which Peter Kubelka’s portrays the character of the traveler with as much precision as the continent travelled.

We Become Austrian
SONGÜL BOYRAZ (AUSTRIA 2002/2003, VIDEO, 2:00. MIN)
“In February 2002 there was a party in the Vienna City Hall for all “New Austrians” who have just received their Austrian citizenship. I was also one of the new Austrian there.” (Songül Boyraz)

40 Jahre Einwanderung – where do you come from?
KANAK-TV (GERMANY 2002, VIDEO, 10:00 MIN)
Fourty years of immigration, a good reason for a party! Kanak TV visits the ceremonie and asks nasty questions. “Where do you come from, and when will you go back?” “What is Leitkultur?” and “Why is black still serving white here?”

Afro Deutsch
AYASSI & TYRON RICKETTS (GERMANY 2001, VIDEO, 11:00 MIN)
The history of black German minority, now estimated at around 500,000, goes back several centuries. It is only since the twentieth century, however, that Germans of African descent have been perceived as a group. This did not lead to their. recognition as a national minority, but rather, from the 19010s to the 1960s, they were defined as a collective threat to Germany’s racial and cultural ‘purity’. When a sense of identity emerged among Afro-Germans themselves in the 1980s, the majority population continued to deny the existence of ethnic diversity within German society. At the turn of the twenty-first century, Afro-Germans seemingly suddenly appeared as a new, ‘hip’ minority. This appearance was largely focused on the immense public success of the Hip Hop collective ‘Brothers Keepers’, conceived as an anti-racist, explicitly Afro-German intervention into German debates around national identity and racist violence. This article explains the. success of Brothers Keepers by contextualising it within the tradition of two decades of Afro-German feminist activism and the transnational Hip Hop movement of. European youth of colour.

 


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