EXPERIMENTA 2007 – 5th Festival of Experimental Cinema in India
Bangalore: March 08 – 11, 2007 Bombay: March 15 – 18, 2007
A Filter Project in collaboration with Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, and sponsored by HSBC Private Banking
Festival Director: Shai Heredia
Supported by Sula Vineyards
Hans Richter ‘Rhythmus 21 / Rhythmus 23’ , Germany 1921-23/4 16mm b&w silent4mins + 4mins
Rhythmus 21 is Hans Richter’s first film and was followed by Rhythmus 23 (1923) and Rhythmus 25 (1925). In this first film of the series, originally called Film ist Rhythmus, he experiments with square forms. These veer from very simple to very complex compositions — from the beginning where the squares occupy the entire screen, to compositions with squares and the frame. Richter creates a precise rhythm with the movement of shapes. The effect is a subversion of the cinematic illusion of depth, an effect which he further develops in his following films.
László Moholy-Nagy ‘Light Display: Black-White-Grey’ Germany 1930 16mm b&w silent 5:30mins
‹Lichtspiel, schwarz-weiß-grau› was originally supposed to consist of six parts, but only the last part was filmed. The first five parts were supposed to show different forms of light in set combinations: from the self-lighting match, automobile headlights, reflections, moonlight, and coloured projections with prisms and mirrors to the production of the light prop. What was filmed: documentary photographs of a rotation light prop and large shots of numerous discs, screens, mirrors, and ball-shaped structures that join forces with the fades to produce an abstract play of light and shadow.
Oskar Fischinger ‘Motion Painting No. I’ USA 1947 16mm colour sound 11mins
Volumes could be written about this film which – in length and complexity – is Fischinger’s major work. It is perhaps the only one of his films which is truly and completely – or purely – abstract (or absolute). Its images are actors who exist in a complex being – a being which modulates and transforms itself before our eyes, an object and an experience at the same time, something we must feel and contemplate and meditate through.
Jordan Belson ‘ Allures’ USA 1961 16mm colour sound 7mins
Jordan Belson made his first film in 1947, looking inward as well out with such films as Allures in 1961, and Re-entry in 1964. He says: “I’m involved with the kind of imagery that has been dealt with in Tibetan art and in some Christian art of the Middle Ages. Such circular and symmetrical shapes have always been associated with the quest for spirituality.” He was a great influence on filmmakers like the Whitney brothers and Stan Vanderbeek.
Shirley Clark ‘Bridges Go Round’ USA 1958 16mm colour sound 8mins
In the late 1950s, Clarke was hired by Willard Van Dyke to produce several “sponsored films” for the 1958 Brussels World Fair. Bridges-Go-Round was taken from footage shot for one such film, Bruxelles Loops (1957). The film represents a study on perpetual motion achieved through camera panning, rhythmic editing, and flipping and layering the same scenes shot from different points of view. A static figure – a bridge – is transformed into a somewhat abstract, active creature by the camera and the idea of “choreography in editing” or as Clarke once said, “you can make a dance film without dancers”. Using the magic of film to set Manhattan ‘s bridges free from their moorings, Clarke sends them off on a dizzying carousel ride around the city. By Clarke’s request, the film appears twice: first accompanied by the electronic soundtrack of Louis and Bebe Barron and second time around, with the jazz of Teo Macero and his ensemble. Clarke felt that sound, so essential to music and movement, greatly alters the experience of viewing the dance. The soundtracks of these films are often credited for altering the viewers’ perception of the images.
Joyce Wieland ‘Sailboat’ Canada 1967 16mm colour sound 3mins
“Sailboat has the simplicity of a child’s drawing. A toy-like image of a sailboat sails without interruption on the water, to the sound of roaring waves, which seem to underline the image to the point of exaggeration, somewhat in the way a child might draw a picture of water, and write word-sounds on it to make it as emphatic as possible. … Joyce Wieland makes a very special kind of film. The same sense of humor, tenderness and feeling for the more humble details of life that is present in her paintings and plastic constructions are given further dimensions in her films. There is somewhat of a sense of sadness and nostalgia in all her work … a sense of lost innocence.” — Robert Cowan, Take One.
Charles & Ray Eames ‘Powers of Ten’ USA 1977 16mm (VHS) colour sound 9mins
In 1977, Charles and Ray Eames made a nine-minute film called Powers of Ten that still has the capacity today to expand the way we think and view our world. Its articulation of the close relationship between humankind and outer space is fascinating. Powers of Ten explores the relative size of things from the microscopic to the cosmic. The film travels from an aerial view of a man in a Chicago park to the outer limits of the universe directly above him and back down into the microscopic world contained in man’s hand , all in a single shot: an unforgettable experience.
Karø Goldt ‘Soul Research Laboratory: Search And Rescue’Germany/Austria/New Zealand 2006 Beta SP colour sound 7mins
Karø Goldt ‘Soul Research Laboratory: Search And Hide’Germany/Austria 2006 Beta SP colour sound 4mins
Karø Goldt has created her own genre; she calls it “photo film.” As is easy to guess from the reference, the base materials for her cinematic works are, exclusively, photographs – which the she took herself. While some of her videos are highly abstract, in this film the artist moves further towards various motifs. The photographs are covered over with thick vertical strokes, the colouring and extent of which changes constantly. In doing so, Goldt enables the observer to intensely experience the potential of the space of image, and the cinema itself.
Realities United (Jan & Tim Edler) ‘kungfusoft™’ Germany 1997 VHS colour colour sound 3mins
“Data objects” are electronic phantoms which are resident in 3D-space. By moving these “data objects” in space and by changing, multiplying, creating or deleting these objects in correlation to real objects and people, one can play in new spaces, combining material and computer-simulated reality. kungfusoft – starring Jackie Chan – gives us an idea of how tomorrow’s computers will work – and what a 3-dimensional “desktop” might look and feel like. The video loop uses a short sequence from the 1978 movie She xing diao shou (Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow) starring Jackie Chan, directed by Woo-ping Yuen in Hong Kong.
EXPERIMENTAL FILM EXPERIENCES ARCHITECTURE | 56mins
Curated by Marc Glöde
Francis Thomson ‘N.Y., N.Y. ’ USA 1949 16mm colour sound 11mins
Francis Thompson began his career as a painter and art teacher before he made his first film, Evolution Of The Skyscraper (1938-39), for the Museum of Modern Art in New York City . He soon went on to make his most artistic film, ‘ N.Y. , N.Y. ’, which was inspired by his cubist art foundation. We see the filmmaker modulating different views of everyday city life and constructing an amorphous new world. It shows the metamorphosis of views of New York in a whirl of stunning and specifically cinematic anamorphoses of ductile buildings and soft cars that form moving sculptures. Today, Thompson is best known for his work on large format (IMAX) and multi-screen films.
Roger Mainwood / Kraftwerk ‘Autobahn’ UK 1979 Beta SP colour sound 12mins
Mainwood began work in the animation industry at Halas and Batchelor studios in 1979. It was there that he created his first short, Autobahn – Kraftwerk’s famous piece of music set to animation. Its an intense experience of space – which went on to win prizes at several animation festivals and was shown at the London Film Festival in 1979.
Gerhard Holthuis ‘Hong Kong (HKG)’Netherlands 1999 35mm (Beta SP) b&w sound 13mins
In 1998, Kai Tak airport, in the middle of Hong Kong , closed. Flying in to Kai Tak was a unique experience for passengers. ‘One could read the newspapers in the street’, a passenger said. Hong Kong (HKG) is a film about aeroplanes in the middle of a city. It is an observation of the end of the twentieth century
Michael Brynntrup ‘The Hong Kong Showcase (a case study)’ Germany 2005 DVD colour sound 3:22mins
The Emporio Armani shop-window in Hong Kong is a small theatre of the global fashion industry. At night, a window cleaner sways across the stage, accompanied by classical Chinese music. The camera watches him from across the street, and our view of this small event is interrupted by passing pedestrians or traffic. The dressing of Armani windows is identical all over the world, in all branch stores. In the daytime, when the store is open, you will never encounter anything as banal as a cleaning person. For Brynntrup this is the theatre of urban fabric at night.
Jörn Staeger ‘ Urban Poems’ Germany 2005 DVD colour sound 7:52mins
Jörn Staeger’s tightly composed collage is a condensed phenomenological study of German architectural history. Urban Poems translates the aesthetic patterns of High Modernism into the present with a sure-fire visual instinct, allowing the film to be perceived as a homage to the urban symphonies of the 1920s, while creating its own distinctive everyday melodies.
Judith Hopf, Natascha Sadr-Haghighian, Florian Zeyfang ‘Proprio Aperto’ Germany 2005 DVD colour sound 6mins
The film Proprio Aperto is the visualization of a walk through the Giardini in Venice , site of the Venice Biennale for art and architecture during wintertime. While the space is crowded with visitors in the summer, we experience a completely different atmosphere in this film. Actually composed of photographs, the film discovers an intense temporal destruction of the buildings. In combination with voice over texts (that result from discussions between the three directors) themes like ruins, ghosts and the structural setting of a cultural environment are addressed.
Thorsten Fleisch ‘ K.I.L.L. – kinetic image laboratory/lobotomy ’ Germany 1999 DVD colour sound 3:30mins
Fleisch’s film is an accumulation of 180 different perspectives of a bank’s skyscraper. Each perspective takes just one frame. At first there is a kaleidoscopic chaos, then, systems of visual organisation develop. The sound consists of a sampled phrase translated as: “our power is boundless and our means are inexhaustible”. The editing plays with the relationship between the words and the images, creating different meanings by breaking the succession of the words. In doing so, the film serves as an ironic documentary on Frankfurt .
PICTURE PLAY | 54 mins
Curated by Shai Heredia
Umang Bhattacharyya & Ramyah Gowrishankar ‘Curious Green’ India 2004 Mini DV colour sound 13mins
This is a carefully constructed collection of images and ideas, from and about the evolution of the moving image in recent history. The images have been sourced from different TV channels and photographic compilations, combined with video clips of daily life that have been shot off various surfaces and textures. Put together with audio clips of landmark speeches and thoughts and other commentary that have tried to understand the visual medium, Curious Green explores the notion of ‘ways of seeing,’ and in this exploration seeks to deconstruct how we make meaning of the world around us thorugh the moving image.
Erik Moskowitz ‘Soft Version’ USA 2006 DVCAM colour sound 3.18mins
A film about editing and “content creation,” SoftVersion is an operetta which presents the editor (and artist Erik Moskowitz) in the process of creating the film. The “editor” not only edits, he stars as himself in his own edit, and makes the edit decisions which determine the outcome of his own narrative. SoftVersion uses video to mount an investigation into the ideologies of popular media production. The TV frame as object, image, and ideological construct collides with traditional cinematic notions of “framing.”
Alex Pearl ‘Automatic film 1’ UK 2005 Mini DV colour sound 5.50mins
“In a recent filmmaking residency I extended the idea of chance affecting my work by developing my own version of automatic filmmaking. I invented a range of automaton camera operators and self powered automata, set them going, and tried to control the results. Mostly they fell over a lot. Visitors were also invited to join in, helping with the filming and providing suggestions for intertitles. The most popular camera carrier (at least with dads and lads) was a radio-controlled airship with several huge helium balloons taped to it for extra lift. This spent most of its time wedged into the beams of the ceiling when it floated out of reach of the controller. Two dramatic and successful, rescue missions were launched using a small balloon and a piece of double sided tape. This play between helplessness and control has begun to fascinate me. This is a film more or less in three simultaneous parts. It opens with an outsider’s view of the wonders of a midnight ball. Next we are introduced to the world of an industrious hopping teaspoon. Finally aimless ships float dreamily through the architectural heavens. I really don’t know what it all means.” — Alex Pearl
Sarah Vanagt ‘First Elections’ Belgium 2006 DVD colour sound 14.36mins
First Elections is an edited single-channel version of the installation Les Mouchoirs de Kabila, Goma (eastern Congo ), April 2005. A group of children acts out the elections that will have to take place a couple of weeks later – the first democratic elections since independence. This ‘election game’ turns into a barometer for the current political climate in the borderline between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DCR) and Rwanda . The relationship between local politics and the children are embodied by Bebe Rico and Bebe Elegance, two animated babies, who advertise baby soap. The Rico commercials have a political connotation in the collective imagination of the Congolese people: Bebe Rico is identified with president Joseph Kabila, and Bebe Elegance with vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba.
Sonal Jain ‘25/75’ India 2006 Mini DV colour sound 6.40mins
The fear of drowning is potent. And betting on numbers is a game, based on the number of arrows that hit a small target. Its call “Teer,” (arrow) and is a traditional game based on archery played in the Khasi Hills of Meghalaya, Northeast India. Dreams here have a symbolism and numbers are bet on by dreams of the previous night. 25 stands for a hand with milk…and 75 is bet if one dreams of a girl swimming. This film explores the state of drowning, the distortion of images and sounds it produces. The slowing down of all senses, visual as well as aural. A dream like world emerges, as everything just seems to go by. This dream world finds expression in a unique play of numbers.
Margit Nobis ‘Defragged’ Austria 2005 Mini DV colour sound 11mins
defragged is a Machinima – a 3D-Animation created in realtime. Though it was created within a game engine, there is no longer an interactive component in this film. The game content gradually develops into a cinematic performance. defragged is all about a virtual avatar in the process of realization within the intermediate space between game and film; likewise, it deals with the new perceptional orientation of the spectator as well as that of the actor. A game that has lost its rules and content. What now? This animation assumes the whole environment, avatars and sounds of the First Person Shooter “Quake III Arena.” Programmed Scripts, camera work, and sound arrangement enable specific directing. defragged differs from many other digital artworks as it does not work with changes of virtual codes but rather with the consistency of a virtual construction as such. This created world becomes the setting for an avatar as a playful tool, an actor, an existent being and as part of this hybrid and ever changing system.
UNTITLED (LONELY PLANET) | 45mins
Reading / Performance Video by David Blamey
“In general I feel that there is enough truth, beauty and meaning in everyday life, so rather than produce works of art that might hope to contain or communicate that meaning, I prefer to find ways of allowing the world to speak directly for itself. I like the idea that the distance between the art world and the real world can be almost nothing. Framing, adjusting, assisting, promoting, thinking-about and re-presenting what is already there: that is my work.” — David Blamey
David Blamey was born in London in 1961. His work encompasses several activities, including publishing, editing, curating and exhibiting, which all overlap to form a multi-layered practice that resists straightforward categorisation. Operating in the territory between art and everyday life, his projects can be seen as acts of resistance – small moves that delight in arguing for a different order of the world. He has exhibited widely in the UK , Europe and USA and has published two edited cultural studies books, ‘Here, There, Elsewhere: Dialogues On Location and Mobility’ (2002) and ‘Living Pictures: Perspectives On The Film Poster In India’ (2005). A forthcoming exhibition of his current work will be held at the Four gallery in Dublin later this year.
David Blamey has been in India since January 2007 as the recipient of the Arts Council England Fellowship with Exerimenta.
VIDEO MEMORIES | 69mins
Curated by Shai Heredia
Shahjehan Shaikh, Tahera Pathan, Taslim Qureshi, Rabia Shaikh, Vasudha Thozhur ‘Cutting Chai’ India 2006 Mini DV colour sound 23mins
” This film is part of a collaborative art project that involved working with six adolescent girls who lost several members of their family in the communal carnage at Naroda Patia, Ahmedabad on the 28th of February 2002. Several of the affected families from Naroda Patia were relocated at Faizal Park , Vatwa in Ahmedabad. As an exercise in learning how to handle the camera the girls filmed us visiting their homes. In spite of an absence of a script, or perhaps because of it, much is revealed that would have been lost in contrivance or construction. While editing the footage I attempted to be truthful to the circumstances under which it was shot.” – Vasudha Thozur
Santana Issar ‘Bare’ India 2006 colour sound 11mins
By piecing together home videos shot by her parents nearly two decades earlier, and through a string of conversations with her father, mother, and sister, a daughter looks to understand the impact of her father’s alcoholism on each of their lives: the sister’s refusal to include him in her life; the mother’s belief that her daughters should reach out to their father despite her own refusal to see him; the father’s moment of honest introspection. In talking to them, the questions she is struggling with come to the fore: should she stand behind him, drawing only on her memories of what a wonderful father he was? Or should she move on… and build her life without him?
Karl Lind ‘Disconnected’ USA 2006 Mini DV colour sound 3mins
A woman sits waiting by the phone while a million tiny hearts break and a lonely song stiltedly plays over and over. Somehow, everything is much more one-sided than we would like it to be.
Ganesh Gaikwad‘Voices Across the Oceans’ India 24mins
Voices Across the Oceans is about the nostalgia of the filmmaker who grew up listening to the shimmering voices of the BBC Hindi service on radio and fostered a dream of becoming a news reader only to proclaim – “This is the BBC London”. Though his dream was not realised, he one day finds himself in London tracing his imagination into reality.
Shana Moulton ‘Feeling Free’ USA 2004 MiniDV colour sound 8.8mins
Appropriating a dated exercise video hosted by actress Angela Lansbury, Feeling Free presents a woman, played by Moulton, who attempts to follow the televised workout in her living room even as elements of her home décor begin to appear onscreen. Deriving its title from an inspirational segment of Lansbury’s program, Feeling Free subjects the appropriated footage to eccentric visual and audio displacements, culminating in a psychedelic dance sequence set to a remix of the program’s inspid theme song. The piece was first shown in the context of Moulton’s multimedia performance Decorations of the Mind.
THINKING FUTURE SPACES | 67mins
Curated by Marc Glöde
Monsanto Chemical Company ‘Monsanto House Of the Future’ USA 1957 DVD colour sound 12mins
This very rare film was produced by Monsanto, and contains the full story of the Monsanto House of the future. A walk through the whole house offers an idea that is best described as a Disney vision of the typical “future family”.
Superstudio ‘Supersurface’ Italy 1972 DVD colour sound 8mins
The film Supersurface begins with a confusing whirl of familiar images of 1960s futurism overlaid with a dizzying description of the world as a network of systems. The pace slows down and the film resolves to a sequence showing a verdant landscape with a beautiful, manicured woman and a balding, woolly-haired man sitting under a tree biting into pieces of fruit. After panning across the blue sky, the camera comes to rest on the sun refracted through the lens in a four-pointed starburst pattern, while the narration—a business-like male voice heard over a triumphant electric guitar solo—ends with the phrase “Life will be the only environmental art.” The utopias proposed by Superstudio are rooted in an architectural systems aesthetics that mobilized the immaterial as a form of instrumental and political critique.
Mika Taanila ‘Futuro – a new stance for tomorrow’ Finland/Suomi 1998 DVD colour sound 29mins
In 1968, the Finnish architect Matti Suuronen designed Futuro, a house made of plastic with a flying saucer like elliptic shape, reflecting the late-60s optimism about the forthcoming conquest of space. The famous ball-shaped “globe chair” by Eero Aarnio was another classic of Finnish design at that time. It was believed that mankind was about to enter a new era in which technology would solve all imaginable problems. Through this film Mika Taanila chronicles the rise and fall of Futuro , a “Space Age” utopia that almost came true .
Dylan Mc Neil ‘NY – The Lost Civilization ’ USA / Monaco 1997 16mm b&w sound 18mins
The anthropological study of NY (pronounced “neeh”), a city built on smoke. In this strange city, garbage bags become dangerous objects, society ladies form street gangs, and a single word – fuck – is used as subject, object and verb.
ECO HORROR | 58mins
Curated by Shai Heredia
Koumudi Patil ‘Breathing in Breathing out’ India 5mins
Breathing in Breathing out expresses the mutually existing principles of life and death through the disjunction of black visuals against the serene sound of pranayama.
Chu-Li Shewring ‘Mantis Tales‘ Malaysia 2004 Mini DV colour sound 13mins
The Malaysian rain forest. Civilization is audible only at the beginning, and only a mantis seems to hear. Shewring shot the film alone in the jungle; her experience is conveyed as both enchanting and sinister.
Michael Robinson ‘You Dont Bring Me Flowers’USA 2005 16mm colour sound 8mins
‘Powerful ecological omen composed of centrefold landscapes from National Geographic magazine. The seam down the centre of the images suggests the fractures caused by our reckless treatment of the planet.’ — M ark Webber
Brittany Gravely ‘Blood of the Earthworm’USA 2006 16mm colour sound 32 mins
“Blood of the Earthworm is an anti-climactic barrage of original footage and unoriginal extractions from horror, science fiction, and educational films, all of which feature contemporary maladies of civilization, such as ecological devastation, bio-terrorism, consumerism, and government conspiracy in their story or subtext.” — Brittany Gravel
ENDURING SPACE | 4 hours
Curated by Marc Glöde and Shai Heredia
Daniel Pflumms “Elektro” with Masta Justy & MMatt from Bhavishyavani Future Soundz This is a 4-hour single shot documentation that covers the destruction of one of Berlin ’s most famous underground clubs in the 90s. It is a reflection of today’s webcam images as well as a reference to Andy Warhols “Empire”. It can also be considered a structural film: the obsessive repetition of the same shot triggers our focus on the act of looking, on the value of the frame and most of all, on the film duration. Time of reality and time of cinema are the same.
The film is accompanied by a ping pong set of german minimal electro/techno and glitched out atmospherics with Masta Justy and MMatt from Bhavishyavani Future Soundz – Bombay ’s own cult music collective