War is hidden behind paradisiacal images and children’s television is the best means of revealing the hard lessons from the evil adult world. Images happily lead us astray. “What you see is not what you get.” This can be annoying, but delusion can be fun too. This programme explores the natural high of images, breaks the cinematic spell and subjects the viewer to dark visual experiments.
1859 – Fred Worden
USA, 2008, video, 11:12 min
“The political or cultural aspects of history are the mere surface of history; that in preference to, and deeper than these, the reality of history lies in biological power, in pure vitality, in what is in man of cosmic energy, not identical with, but related to, the energy which agitates the sea, fecundates the beast, causes the tree to flower and the star to shine.”
(Ortega y Gasset, The Revolt of the Masses, 1930 )
Composed from a 30-frame clip of a lens flare. LSD is illegal, 1859 is not.
Black Hole – Johanna Reich
Germany, 2009, video, 06:00 min
A person dressed in black clothing digs a hole into snow until the black of the clothes and the black of the ground fuse. The person disappears in front of the camera. The video ‘Black Hole’ shows a strategy to escape in front of a camera, to escape from the cinema’s audience into another space.
Painting Paradise – Barbara Hlali
Germany, 2008, video, 05:30 min
Media reports show how the wall, which surrounds the Shiite quarter in Bagdad, is painted with beautiful landscapes. Aesthetic creation is used to cover military measures and war effects. In my film I proceed in a similar way: pictures from crisis zones are changed, darned and covered with colours. A deceitful idyll develops, which can not be kept up in view of the real (war-) situation. The film points to actual beauty in an area, in which the mythological paradise is to be located and which wakes (European) dreams of the Orient, yet which is now a scene of war and terror. It also questions whether military interference can be the suitable means to achieve this goal.
Morakot (Emerald) – Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Thailand, 2007, video, 11:50 min
In The Pilgrim Kamanita, a Buddhist novel written in 1906 by the Danish writer Karl Gjellerup, the protagonists are reborn as two stars and take centuries to recite their stories to each other, until they no longer exist. Morakot is a derelict and defunct hotel in the heart of Bangkok that opened its doors in the 1980’s: a time when Thailand shifted gears to accelerated economic industrialization and a time when Cambodians poured into Thai refugee camps after the invasion of Vietnamese forces. It was a hostile time. Later, when the East Asian financial crisis struck in 1997, these reveries collapsed. Like Kamanita, the unchanged Morakot is a star burdened with (or fuelled by) memories. Apichatpong Weerasethakul collaborated with his three regular actors, who recounted their dreams, home- town life, bad moments, and love poems, to re-supply the hotel with new memories.
15 Experiments on Peripheral Vision – Adele Horne and Paul VanDecarr
USA, 2008, 16mm, 29:00 min
Surrounded as we are by the proliferation of photographic images, we sometimes confuse these images with the actual, embodied experience of seeing. In reality, only a small central portion of human vision is sharp like a photograph. Peripheral vision is blurry and indistinct, the realm of intuition. In a series of short, playful experiments, this film explores what can be seen from the corner of the eye, perversely pushing at the central rectangle of the film frame to see how far it can stretch to suggest what lies beyond it.
CUTECUTECUTE – Clemens Kögler
Austria, 2008, video, 01:50 min
“The concept was to take the ‘well-known genre’ of instructional videos for kids, usually teaching the various sounds of animals or how to count to 10 and changing the subjects to more grown-up themes like abortion, child abuse etc. Content and graphics are inspired by the Japanese ‘kawaii’ phenomena, where cute little mascots and characters cheerfully guide citizens through all sorts of daily activities and situations. In CUTECUTECUTE these cute little critters go a step further and tell about things which are normally sort of a taboo in society.” (Clemens Kögler)
Vantaa – Erkka Nissinen
The Netherlands, 2008, video, 11:30 min
In the spirit of Wittgenstein, the form of language, sound and repetition expand the limits of logic to create a structure of absurdity. In Vantaa, spelling lessons set to synthesized melodies punctuate a search for the protagonist’s missing yogurt. The singing of animated flowers and neat rows of Crayola-coloured houses recalls the set of an educational program for children, although instants of obscenity bring it closer to Paul McCarthy meets the Teletubbies. Nissinen cleverly implicates composers Schoenberg and Stockhausen in Vantaa, creating a cultural context while drawing inspiration from the radical originality of both figures.
The Two Teams Team – Manuel Saiz
United Kingdom, 2008, video, 10:00 min
A short film about the differences and similarities in video-art and cinema. Two actors are chatting in a film set, on a break, in the middle of props and cables. The conversation is about film sets in film and video-art projects, they are pointing out the differences of both ways of filming. They talk about budget, emotions and about the different approaches to fiction and reality that cinema and video-art have. Along the conversation the camera is getting closer and the quality of the image becomes more cinematographic. What at the beginning was a casual video in a break of a shooting is now a proper film of two characters talking. The reality becomes seamlessly fiction until the microphone irrupts on the frame and someone shouts: cut!