What is memory? What is one more memory? Are you careful to not let it slip? Which is more hazy: the past or the future? By the fields of the flowers, do you remember the sounds? Which direction does a memory go: this way or that? Does it go forward or backward? Do you remember the milk of your childhood? Was it warm? It is foolish to think that you’ll remember? It is foolish to… Are you wistful? Do you remember the words to the song? Do you understand the words to the song? Did you sing the words to the song with the wrong words? Do you remember to breathe? Do you remember to forget? Do you remember to… Does memory slip or drift? Where does it go? Do you remember where I left my thoughts? Where were we?
***Content warning: violence – mention of public execution followed by photos of public execution 27:40-32:12.***
program 6 of 12
December 17 – December 29
Vote for your favourite experimental film or video art piece between December 17 and the last day of the screening, December 29. Rules.
Anya Liftig created a response to this program. You saw her work in our second program and another piece will be part of the seventh. We are so excited to share her work with you.
” Unwilling and Barely Working: a memory from the 20th century “
Text by Anya Liftig
Read by Anya Liftig
Image by Anya Liftig
For this edition we invited selected artists to respond to one of the 12 programs in the medium of their choice. Thank you to all participants, we are endlessly humbled by your contribution.
Muistatko (a method) – Iona Roisin
4:00 · England/Finland · 2019
In Muistatko (a method) a singer attempts to decipher a song they are singing in a language they do not speak. The 1955 song “Muistatko Monrepos’n” was the first Finnish record to go gold and is still the fourth best selling single in Finland. The location it refers to occupies a specific place in Finnish cultural memory, as somewhere that was ‘lost’, and as such the waltz is highly loaded. What meaning remains when the music is stripped away? At present, the nostalgic is not a neutral territory, it can be hard to separate weaponised nostalgia from its more well-intended forms. When its affective qualities are combined with notions of national identity, a potentially difficult space opens up. Muistatko (a method) is about trying to feel the weight of this context, from the outside.
The Bearers of Memories – Miglė Križinauskaitė-Bernotienė
13:17 · Lithuania · 2020
With every moment – one more memory. But memory sometimes goes blind and what is left becomes hazy.
The Bearers of Memories, looks at the erosion of memory and time. The film intertwines the reality around us with the forms of experimental cinema. I chose to present abstract ideas through a subjective, personal, and sensitive way of storytelling. In addition, sound, light, water and landscape play an important role in my film.
The Fourfold – Alisi Telengut
7:13 · Mongolia/Canada · 2020
Based on the ancient animistic beliefs and shamanic rituals in Mongolia and Siberia, the film explores the indigenous worldview and wisdom: Nature is the homeland of human being, Tengri is the deity and the father sky, Earth is the mother with rivers nourishing all beings, pagan and pantheist gods co-exist with all mortals. Against the backdrop of the modern existential crisis and the human-induced rapid environmental change, there is a necessity to reclaim the ideas of animism for planetary health and non-human materialities.
Drawn from Memory – Pouria Kazemi
6:45 · Iran/UK · 2020
When I was 9 my father took me to see a public execution in Iran. This film is an effort to re-create and re-capture that brutal memory.
(Image from Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?, a painting by Paul Gaugin. The video artist did not authorize use of stills from their work for promotional purposes.)
Originate / Recompile – Federica Foglia
4:20 · Italy · 2020
In 1962 Ernesto De Martino travelled to the south of Italy for his ethnographic research and shot La Taranta. A study around women who were poisoned by a Tarantula bite and were cured through a folk dance called Taranta. The truth is that these women were not bitten by a spider, these women were suffering from severe mental illness because of sexual abuse and poverty. In 2020 I re-appropriated the archival footage to propose a different angle of the story surrounding these women, not from the point of view of a man who has undertaken to observe them, but from the point of view of a woman from the South of Italy. The 16mm and 35mm film has been hand-processed with an eco-friendly phytogram technique thanks to the support of experimental filmmaker Phil Hoffman. Using flowers, vitamin C and washing soda, the film strips have then been processed and collaged into 35mm up-cycled slide holders, together with dried flowers.
Faces without Visage – Hesam Rahmani
7:45 · Iran · 2019
It’s been almost six years that my father has been suffering from dementia and he is disconnected from reality. He is unable to remember faces and names. The disease eventually took away his independence so that I and my family became the feet, hands, and mind of my father. Through these years I was thinking about setting up scenes, shooting film and making a movie about this subject. It’s all about memory care and when I was looking through family portraits and old photo albums of my parents, I found so many attractive characters and incidents and weird emotions that were already making a story themselves. So I focused on the pictures and used just three scenes that were filmed by a camera. My father’s disease was composed with a minimal story and formed this movie. I dedicate this movie to my father and all the people struggling with dementia.
Clench My Fists – Sarah Trad
5:49 · Lebanon/USA · 2020
Clench My Fists is a found-footage collage video that explores the process of growing up in an Arab family deeply affected by death and grief. Using footage from the Lebanese film In the Battlefields, as well as Candy and The 100, and audio from archival recorded Lebanese funeral laments, the video looks at how men and women express grief and anger under the patriarchy, as well as how trauma and childhood experiences can evolve into mental illness and patterns of behavior as adults. Clench My Fists is part of a larger body of work dealing with racial identity and the concept of inherited grief: that through biological or behavioral means, trauma is passed down through prospective family generations so that family members might experience the residual effects of trauma they did not personally witness. This body of work explores how the death of the artist’s grandfather, an Arab American, caused ripples of mental illness and skewed racial identity through her paternal family. Using filmic material that the artist used to connect with her heritage, Clench My Fists is part of a series of work focusing on not only decolonizing Imperialist Western understandings of the Middle East but to also show the beauty of the artist’s heritage, outside the context of her family.
A very long exposure time – Chloé Galibert-Laîné
6:55 · France · 2020
A meditation on the respective temporalities of different image technologies.
Inventing a poetic path through images created with Louis Daguerre’s centuries-old photographic device, 16mm film cameras, pixelated video game consoles, early smartphones and contemporary computer interfaces, the work asks: what aspects of reality have these different technologies been designed to document? What phenomenon, either too slow or too fast to be recorded, has escaped their capture?
I Have a Song to Sing You – Eluned Zoë Aiano, Alesandra Tatić
5:40 · Serbia · 2019
As a child, Ivanka was chosen by fairy women for the special task of entering the realm of the dead to discover the future. As an old lady, the spirits have left her, so how does she navigate between the two worlds now? This experimental short documentary seeks out Ivanka, a woman who lives in rural Eastern Serbia and who spent most of her life falling into trance to enter the realm of the dead and learn about the future. Ethnographic archive materials from her days as a prophet are interwoven with contemporary footage shot now that the supernatural forces have left her. As such, the film plays on dualities of time and ontology to explore how this experience has affected her relationship to the landscape that surrounds her, while engaging in a meta discourse on the digital nature of film and visualisation of memory.
A Mansion with Sunlight Passing Through – Lin Yu-Sheng
16:25 · Taiwan · 2019
This 80-year-old mansion is packed with historical memories and traces, yet it gave me a strong sense of disappearance when I was in there. The old lady, who lives alone in the mansion, begins to lose the ability to recognize herself in her wedding photos. As the memory fades away, it seems to make the objects in the house gradually lose their meanings. Facing those objects that have been lost in history, I try to add my own memories as if to give them new souls, and the video itself is the container that contains everything and becomes their new body.
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Program 6 Vote: [Title of Work]
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