EXPERIMENTA, India’s only film festival celebrating artists’ film and video continues to play an integral role in showcasing uncompromising, fresh and compelling moving image art from across the world. EXPERIMENTA will host a retrospective of the cinema of Adolfas Mekas, a central figure in the western avant garde independent film movement, presented by his wife and collaborator Pola Chapelle Mekas. The Artist in focus programmes will showcase the 16mm films of avant garde feminist filmmaker Joyce Wieland from Canada, and the fantastical works of Toronto-based German-Indian artist Oliver Husain. The competition programme presents a fresh selection of international films and videos. Indian Sonic Research Organisation (ISRO) from Bangalore, alongwith artists ANYMA & Marc Duseiller from Switzerland, will conduct an open workshop on DIY Musical Instruments & Hacking Electronics, and will perform live with electronic music toys, creating visuals with the Videobass, a bass guitar that plays images instead of sounds.
THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF MODERN ART, BENGALURU
& THE EXPERIMENTA FILM SOCIETY PRESENT
The International Festival for Moving Image Art in India
November 30 – December 4, 2011
NGMA Bangalore, 7HS (Cook Town) and Jaaga Creative Common Ground
KHOJ International Artists’ Association, Pro Helvetia Swiss Arts Council, Anthology Film Archives, International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) & Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Center (CFMDC)
30th November | Wednesday | 6:00 pm | 94mins | NGMA
ADOLFAS MEKAS RETROSPECTIVE 1
Curated by Pola Chapelle; Supported by Anthology Film Archives & the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK)
Anthology Film Archives and the avant-garde film community at large suffered a great loss this past spring with the passing of Adolfas Mekas. A gifted filmmaker and legendary figure at Bard College, where he founded the film department and taught for more than three decades, Adolfas came to New York from Lithuania with his brother Jonas (Anthology’s co-founder and Artistic Director) in 1949. After launching Film Culture magazine together, the Mekas brothers turned to filmmaking, collaborating on ‘Guns Of The Trees’ and ‘The Brig’. Adolfas would soon go on to produce a remarkable body of work of his own, with films including ‘Hallelujah The Hills’, ‘Windflowers’, and ‘Going Home’. A seminal figure in the history of independent cinema, and an always warm, often hilarious presence in the lives of his many friends, family members, and students, Adolfas Mekas will be greatly missed. In tribute to his life and work, we present this comprehensive retrospective of his work.
1. ‘Hallelujah The Hills’ USA 1963 16mm b&w sound 82 mins
“Hallelujah the Hills is a gloriously funny and far-out farce about two great big overgrown boy scouts who pratfall in love with the same girl. The weirdest, wooziest, wackiest screen comedy, a slapstick poem, an intellectual hellzapoppin, a gloriously fresh experiment and experience in the cinema of the absurd, the first cubistic comedy of the new world cinema.” Time Magazine 1963.
“Next to the two big shots of the New York School, Clarke and Cassavetes, he seemed a poor relative, especially since people got him confused with his brother. HALLELUJAH proved clearly that Adolfas is someone to be reckoned with. He is a master in the field of pure invention, that is to say, in working dangerously – ‘without a net.’ His film, made according to the good old principle – one idea for each shot – has the lovely scent of fresh ingenuity and crafty sweetness. Physical efforts and intellectual gags are boldly put together. The slightest thing moves you and makes you laugh – a badly framed bush, a banana stuck in a pocket, a majorette in the snow. He shows life as defined by Ramuz: ‘As with a dance, such pleasure to begin, a piston, a clarinet, such sorrow to be done, the head spins and night has come.’” –Jean-Luc Godard, Cahiers Du Cinéma.
1st December| Thursday | 4.30pm | 88mins | NGMA
JOYCE WIELAND – ARTIST IN FOCUS 2
Presented by Lauren Howes, Director Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre (CFMDC); Supported by Canada Council for the Arts
1. ‘Reason Over Passion’ Canada 2006 16mm colour sound 84 mins
“Reason Over Passion… is Joyce Wieland’s major film so far. With its many eccentricities, it is a glyph of her artistic personality; a lyric vision tempered by an aggressive form and a visionary patriotism mixed with ironic self parody. It is a film to be seen many times.” – P. Adams Sitney, Film Culture
“This film is about the pain and joy of living in a very large space: in fact, in a continent. It is painful, because such an experience distends the mind; it seems too large for passionate reason to contain. It is joyous, because ‘true patriot love,’ a reasonable passion, can contain it, after all. But what is remarkable, for me, is that all its urgency is lucidly caught, bound as it were chemically, in the substance of film itself, requiring no exterior argument.” – Hollis Frampton
1st December| Thursday | 6.30pm | 80mins | NGMA
JOYCE WIELAND – ARTIST IN FOCUS 1
Presented by Lauren Howes, Director Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre (CFMDC); Supported by Canada Council for the Arts
Joyce Wieland is a pioneer of feminist avant garde filmmaking, largely regarded as one of Canada’s most influential and important artists. A multi-disciplinary artist who produced work in a wide variety of media, Wieland’s intelligent and irreverent explorations of female sexuality, domestic life, ecology and Canadian nationalism put her at the forefront of feminist practice. Wieland made her mark in the film underground in New York in the 1960s, where she was associated with structural filmmakers such as Michael Snow and Hollis Frampton. While her film employ materialist formal strategies, the irony and socio-political content of her work sets her apart from her structuralist compatriots, as does her exploration of narrative.
1. Barbara’s Blindness Canada 1965 16mm colour & b&w sound 16.15mins
“There is no one named Barbara to be found; a pair of mysterious blind-person’s hands (looking suspiciously like Wieland’s) make only one cameo appearance to ‘read’ us the title; yet these seemingly incongruous elements provide the perfect introduction to the ironic humour of the film itself. The main source of the film seems to be an old grade-school morality-movie on the appreciation of eyesight, starring golden-haired Mary, who finds herself temporarily blind, and a leaden-voiced narrator, who finds himself our unwitting straight-man. The filmmakers re-edited this curiosity and intercut it with other stock footage of disasters, agricultural techniques, and monster movies, to create a very different object lesson on the nature of vision.” – B. Ruby Rich
2. A&B in Ontario Canada 1984 16mm b&w sound 16.05mins
“Hollis and I came back to Toronto on holiday in the summer of ’67. We were staying at a friend’s house. We worked our way through the city and eventually made it to the island. We followed each other around. We enjoyed ourselves. We said we were going to make a film about each other – and we did.” – JW
“A & B in Ontario” was completed eighteen years after the original material was shot. After Frampton’s death, the film was assembled by Wieland into a cinematic dialogue in which the collaborators (in the spirit of the sixties) shoot each other with cameras.
3. Water Sark Canada 1965 16mm colour sound 13.30mins
“I decided to make a film at my kitchen table, there is nothing like knowing my table. The high art of the housewife. You take prisms, glass, lights and myself to it…“Water Sark” is a film sculpture, drawing being made while you wait.” (JW)
4. Handtinting Canada 1967-68 16mm colour sound 6mins
“‘Handtinting’ is the apt title of a film made from outtakes from a Job Corps documentary which features hand-tinted sections. The film is full of small movements and actions, gestures begun and never completed. Repeated images, sometimes in colour, sometimes not. A beautifully realized type of chamber-music film whose sum-total feeling is ritualistic.” – Robert Cowan, Take One
5. Birds at Sunrise Canada 1986 16mm colour sound 10.15mins
“The film was originally photographed in 1972. Birds from my window were filmed during the winter, through to the spring, with the early morning light. I became caught up in their frozen world and their ability to survive the bitter cold. I welcomed their chirps and their songs which offered life and hope for spring. In 1984 I was part of a cultural exchange between Canada and Israel. During my visit my unfinished movie came to mind. A connection was established in my mind – so that the suffering of the birds became, in a sense, symbolic of the Jews and their survival through suffering. The film begins with the reading in Hebrew of the 23rd Psalm. This lays the spiritual ground to the film. I dedicate this film to Ayala.” (JW)
2nd December| Friday | 11am – 2pm | Jaaga Creative Common Ground
An Open Workshop on DIY Musical Instruments & Hacking Electronics
Conducted by Indian Sonic Research Organisation ISRO / Marc Duseiller / ANYMA; Supported by ProHelvetia Swiss Arts Council
The Indian Sonic Research Organisation, Bangalore alongwith artists ANYMA & Marc Duseiller from Switzerland will conduct a workshop on how to create handheld VJ sets (rioji ikeda for your pocket) by experimenting with mini-tubes and old video cameras, and how to build simple oscillators and amps that connect to speakers and to video screens.
Registration fee: Rs 500/- (This is for the materials which the participants can take home). Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for registration at the earliest. Payments will need to be made directly at the Workshop venue.
2nd December| Friday | 4.30pm| 46mins | NGMA
ADOLFAS MEKAS RETROSPECTIVE
1. Sean Mekas ‘Adolfas Mekas Accepts The Bard Award’ 2004, video colour sound 12 mins
At the Bard College President’s dinner, with Adolfas Mekas, Peter Hutton, and Leon Botstein & David Schwab.1. ‘Going Home’ USA1972 16mm b&w sound 60 mins
“A film about childhood memories, life’s hardships, and the durability of families. In 1971, after a 27-year absence, Adolfas and his brother Jonas returned to their birthplace in Lithuania. They had left as young men, destined for a German labor camp. Now they came home, Adolfas with his wife, the singer Pola Chapelle, and in the long northern summer days they sang and walked across golden fields and feasted at crowded tables with family and friends. There are flowers for the dead and for the living in this film; it is full of flowers and songs. … For me, the importance of GOING HOME is its strength in expressing feelings about personal and national identity.” –Emilie de Brigard, MoMA
2. An Interview With The Ambassador From Lapland USA 1967 video colour 3mins
Adolfas starred in, directed, and edited this Vietnam comedy, produced by Pola Chapelle and shot by Jonas. Assistance from Shirley Clarke.
“In these three minutes Mekas is Swift, the horrible and admirable Swift of the ‘Modest Proposal.’ One really must admit that Mekas has made the USA a bit less loathsome.” –Dominique Noguez, Cahiers Du Cinéma
3. Skyscraper USA 1965 video b&w sound 3mins
Directed and produced by Adolfas Mekas for the Broadway show of the same name. A parody of Italian movies written by Peter Stone, and starring Pola Chapelle, Paul Sorvino, Julie Harris, and Charles Nelson Reilly.
“Those responsible for the funny film clip spoofing ‘art’ flickers deserve special praise. It provides just the right touch at just the right time.” –VARIETY
4. David Avallone ‘Hallelujah The Villa’ USA 2006 video colour sound 28 mins
A spirited interview with Adolfas Mekas.
2nd December| Friday | 6.30pm| 70mins | NGMA
OLIVER HUSAIN – ARTIST IN FOCUS
Presented by Oliver Husain
“I often begin with a portrait of a person or place. The outcome is a video or film, a text or a textile; something foldable that can be stored away easily, or something standing on thin chopstick legs. Something that might collapse under the eyes of the viewer – in a film, this could be its fragile narrative structure. So the viewers are left with holding up their side by themselves. In this way, I am constructing attractive traps.” OH
Oliver Husain is a filmmaker and artist based in Toronto. – After studying film and media art in Offenbach, Germany and Baroda, India, he started working as a music video director, producing acclaimed clips for sensorama, isolee, blaze and others in collaboration with Michael Klöfkorn from 1997 to 2002. With Claus Richter and Sergej Jensen he formed the theatre troupe Da Group, performing musical plays with numerous collaborators. In 2003, his video Q was awarded with the National German Film award for best experimental short film. In 2004/05, he produced a series of travelogues in China, Indonesia and India, titled Swivel, Shrivel and Squiggle, which screened at many international film festivals and exhibitions. In 2008, he was a featured filmmaker at the Flaherty Film Seminar, Colgate, New York. In 2009, his screening performance Purfled Promises was presented at Live Film! Jack Smith! Festival, Berlin. His exhibition Hovering Proxies was shown at the AGYU, Toronto in 2010.
1. Dear Whats Your Face Canada 2010 video b/w with live reading 6 mins
Entering the auditorium, everyone will find an envelope on her or his seat. It is addressed to each individual in the audience, and imprintedPlease don’t open before the film begins. Then, the film begins:
2. Echtzeit (co directed with Michel Klöfkorn) Germany 1996 video colour sound 6 mins
3. Q Germany 2002 video colour sound 15mins
The audience is passed through an adorned event course. Queuing up is been made easy by the staff, taking care of seamless entertainment. This film has won several awards including the German Shortfilm Award 2003, Tokio Video Festival Award 2002, werkleitz Award 2002, Hessian Filmaward 2002
4. Leona Alone Canada 2009 video colour sound 6mins
Variations of stained glass screens erected around the neighborhood of Leona Drive, Willowdale, Toronto.
5. Shrivel Indonesia 2005 video colour sound 8mins
Eclectic scenery/ here in Karawaci / green trees sway in the breeze / around Taman Paris / A place for families! / Spend some eventless days / in old Taman Ingles / or hear the Muezzin call / in Taman Espanol // Oh, how I long to be / back in Karawaci !
6. Green Dolphin Canada 2008 video colour sound 15mins
If part of the Seminar’s quest was to find a new language to deal with an interconnected, globally-flattened reality, it was perhaps Oliver Husain who had the most coherent form. His fantastic short films captured the moment in an altogether natural, almost effortless way that was perhaps reflective of his own worldview and experience. Surreal, romantic, disorienting and whimsical, his videos are experiential and almost undescribeable. In Green Dolphin, time, diasporic place, fiction and reality converge as a seamless continuum is opened between Kuala Lumpur and Toronto and Lana Turner is channeled through a Filipino Canadian dancer. – Chi-hui Yang – Flaherty diary: A week in the Age of Migration
7. Hovering Proxies Canada 2010 video colour 4 mins
8. Purfled Promises Canada 2009 video colour 10mins
While you were watching the beads fall, the screen itself, drawn by imperceptible force, has started to move towards the audience, and is now pushing, unnoticeably slow, over the front rows of the auditorium.
3rd December | Saturday | 4:30 pm | 67mins | NGMA
JOYCE WIELAND – ARTIST IN FOCUS 3
Presented by Lauren Howes, Director Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre (CFMDC); Supported by Canada Council for the Arts
This program offers a sampling of Wieland’s more overtly political work. “She made experimental films — at that time a male-dominated form of cultural production. The very fact that she chose to work in this mode was a political statement, but her films are also often political in their formal treatment and subject matter, whether overtly or more subtly.” – Dr. Allyson Mitchell
“The films of Joyce Wieland are not only a major contribution to filmmaking in the 20th century, but also serve as visual remnants of a particularly turbulent, yet exciting, historical moment. In her experimentation and interest in the structural film aesthetic, feminist politics and Canadian nationalism, Wieland has provided a complex, passionate and critical response to the evolving political, cultural and social climate of the 1960s.” – Dr. Kristy A. Holmes
1. ‘Rat Life and Diet in North America’ Canada 1968 16mm colour sound 16mins
“I can tell you that Wieland’s film holds. It may be about the best (or richest) political movie around. It’s all about rebels (enacted by real rats) and police (enacted by real cats). After long suffering under the cats, the rats break out of prison and escape to Canada. There they take up organic gardening, with no DDT in the grass. It is a parable, a satire, an adventure movie, or you can call it pop art or any art you want – I find it one of the most original films made recently.” – Jonas Mekas
“The film is witty, articulate, and a far cry from all the other cute animal humanism the cinema has sickened us with in the past. Nevertheless it is a vital extension of the aspect of her films that runs counter to the structural principle: ironic symbolism.” – P. Adams Sitney, Film Culture
2. ‘Patriotism’ Canada 1964 16mm colour sound 4mins
Wieland’s kinetic romp casts filmmaker David Shackman as an overexposed sleeper dogged by a patriotic march of tube steaks that finally refigures him as Canada’s most familiar icon of freedom. This pixilated short about hot dogs is the latest of Wieland’s early film works to be restored to circulation.
3. Patriotism II Canada 1965 16mm colour sound 3.45mins
In a way a portrait of filmmaker Dave Shackman with the American flag. The ending is a stop-motion animation of a set table with food moving and swirling and finally gathering together in a ball. Looking back at the film, the animation sequence seems to foreshadow Dave Shackman’s early death. He died shortly after the film was made.
4. Pierre Vallieres Canada 1965 16mm colour sound 32.30mins
Quebec journalist and revolutionary Pierre Vallières was the intellectual leader of the Front de liberation du Quebec (FLQ). Vallières called for armed struggle and in 1970, during the October Crisis, the FLQ kidnapped and murdered the Quebec Vice-Premier, Pierre Laporte. The following year, Vallieres renounced violence as a means to achieve Quebec independence. “Pierre Vallieres is one of the most effective political films I’ve seen… Joyce Wieland concentrates on the speaker’s voice; she presents Pierre Vallières’s voice in close-up, so that nothing is hidden. And the truth of the voice, the sound of the voice, the nuances of the voice, its vibrations, and its colors merge so totally with what is being said that no other images are needed to make the point.” – Jonas Mekas
“Pierre Vallieres delivered three essays, without stopping, except for reel change and camera breakdown:1) Mont Laurier; 2) Quebec history and race; 3) women’s liberation. Everything which happened is recorded on film. It was a one-shot affair, I either got him on film or I missed. What we see on film is the mouth of a revolutionary, extremely close, his lips, his teeth, his spittle, his tongue which rolls so beautifully through his French, and finally the reflections in his teeth of the window behind me.” (JW).
5. Solidarity Canada 1965 16mm colour sound 10.40mins
A film on the Dare strike of the early 1970s. Hundreds of feet and legs, milling, marching and picketing with the word “solidarity” superimposed on the screen. The soundtrack is an organizer’s speech on the labour situation. Like her films “Rat Life and Diet in North America,” “Pierre Vallieres” and “Reason Over Passion,” “Solidarity” combines a political awareness, an aesthetic viewpoint and a sense of humour unique in Wieland’s work.
3rd December | Saturday | 6:30 pm onwards | 7 High Street (7HS)
IMPROVISED ELECTRONICS, MUSIC AND VIDEOS
Live performance by (ISRO/ ANYMA /dusjagr); Supported by ProHelvetia Swiss Arts Council
The Indian Sonic Research Organisation, Bangalore will collaborate on a sound performance with swiss artists anyma and Marc Duseiller (dusjagr). The artists will perform live with electronic music toys and create visuals with the videobass invented by Michael Egger (member of anyma) who has also invented several open source visual music instruments. The award winning VIDEOBASS is a bass guitar that plays images instead of sounds, lets you choose a video clip on the strings with your left hand, and trigger it in rhythm with your right. The visual artists and musicians will work in an improvisational dialogue. This performance promises to be both musical and cinematographic –a layering of textures that forms abstract visual poems.
4th December | Sunday | 2:30 pm | 60 mins | NGMA
SPECIAL SCREENING; From the Experimenta Archives
Curated by Shai Heredia
4th December | Sunday | 4:30 pm | 93mins | NGMA
INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION 1 (93mins)
1. Natasha Mendonca ‘Jan Villa’ India 2011 16mm colour & b&w sound 20mins
After the monsoon floods of 2005 that submerged Bombay, the filmmaker returns to her city to examine the personal impact of the devastating event. The result is Jan Villa, a tapestry of images that studies the space of a post-colonial metropolis but in a way that deeply implicates the personal. The destruction wreaked by the floods becomes a telling and a dismantling of other devastations and the sanctuaries of family and home. In its structure, Jan Villa is a vortex, drawing to its center all that surrounds it.
2. Shreyasi Kar ‘City Beyond’ India 2011 DV colour sound 10mins
City Beyond is a film that speculates about the lives led by the inhabitants of a submerged civilisation. The superstructure has been recently discovered in the crevices of the ocean floor. The film moves through the submerged landscape, gathering glimpses of life, times and the end of the civilisation.
3. YingLiang ‘Condolences’ China 2009 DV colour sound 19mins
The burial rites for two deceased in a bus accident that killed 15 people in Zigong become the theatrical mise-en-scène where politicians, the media, a monk and an infuriated neighbour, among others, depict a vivid image of Zigong. Sitting among them, lost in her pain, Grandma Chen, who has lost her husband and son, gives her back to the audience and barely nods to the rest of characters. In Condolences, Ying Liang’s narrative techniques are synthesized to a great effect. After the initial stills from the media reports about the accident, this short movie remains in a distant single take of strange beauty and warm empathy. Such scarce resources are nonetheless enough to convey Ying Liang’s style and preoccupations.
4. Avijit Mukul Kishore ‘Vertical City’ India 2011 HD to DV colour sound 34mins
A visual essay on the architecture of a dystopia. In the far suburbs of Bombay residents from slums are given free houses in high-rise building complexes with the promise of a better life. The State imagined these constructions as the realisation of an urban utopia. But the project is seen as a move to free prime slum land for commercial development. The complexes soon degenerate into places worse than slums. The film lets the viewer experience the living conditions of places hidden away in a 21st century metropolis.
5. Bernd Lützeler ‘The Voice of God’ Germany/India 2010 35mm to DV colour sound 9.35mins
If God would come down to earth and try to earn a living in Bombay, most probably he would very soon become successful as a voice over artiste, lending his voice to thousands of Hindi movies and even more documentaries and public service films in India. A melo-dramatic docu-drama with voice-over in stop-motion and long-time exposure.
4th December | Sunday | 6:30 pm | 81mins | NGMA
INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION 2 (81mins)
1. Sonali Gulati ’24 Frames per day’ India 2010 DV colour sound 7mins
24 frames per day was conceived by combining 24 photographs captured each day over a period of 9 months. A daily meditation by the filmmaker photographing the front door of her “home” makes this a very personal and political film that raises important questions around immigration, cultural stereotypes, and diasporic identity.
2. Ayisha Abraham ‘enroute or “of a Thousand Moons” India 2011 HD to DV colour sound 20mins
Enroute is a collage of moving images of post colonial India. Amateur filmmakers often filmed their experiences. “Of a Thousand Moons” is an organism connected to a number of forms that comes together to create a synchronous rhythm. The 3-inch spool of 8mm film resembles an inanimate roadside pebble; its internal stories are obscured as it is relegated to the status of a mute object, shelved and ignored as if of no value – a burden like all other accumulated junk. Yet, with the passage of light through a glass lens, images once hidden away in the obsolescence of their form are brought to life. And like a magic lantern, a phantom of the past is conjured.
3. Shambavi Kaul ‘Place for Landing’ USA 2010 DV sound colour 6mins
A household landscape of mirrors. A child and its reflection are inscribed in a shadowy lunar patchwork. The camera switches its optical pursuit: the child disappears and a bird emerges. The surveying mirror implodes or explodes into space. Its mottled hallway glass both indicates and becomes a Place For Landing. After a series of clever misdirections by the mirror, all is redeemed by a fragment of song in this unsettling haptic illusion.
4. Rahul Gupta ‘I Was a Child’ India 2011 HD to DV colour sound 18.46mins
A mysterious film, entangled in the doors of the passing stages of life. Childhood-Memory-Dream-Reality appear through the labyrinth of doors, which neither open nor close from all directions. He finally reaches a point where “the Soul” can live alone with itself. ‘He’ is a traveler of the wondering universe.
5. Iram Ghufran ‘There is Something In the Air’ India 2011 DV colour sound 29mins
There is Something In the Air is a call from the periphery of sanity. This documentary is a series of dream narratives, and accounts of spiritual possession as experienced by women ‘petitioners’ at the shrine of a Sufi saint in north India. Drama unfolds via dreams, and appearances of djinns and disappearances of women. The shrine becomes a space of expressions of longing and transgression. The film invites the viewer to a fantastical world, where fear and desire is experienced through dreams and ‘afflictions of air’. The shrine is a space where performance becomes the only rule of engagement, and one can begin to think of the possibilities that ‘insanity’ produces.
4th December | Sunday | 8pm | 15mins | NGMA
AWARD CEREMONY & CLOSING
Presented by the Competition Jury (Ashim Ahluwalia, Oliver Husain & Pola Chapelle)
Congratulations to Natasha Mendonca ‘Jan Villa’ wins the Adolfas Mekas award