Conversations at the Edge

SPRING 2014 SEASON

Christiane Paul: Genealogies of the New Aesthetic

Thursday, March 27, 6:00 p.m.

Christiane Paul in person

Image from Clement Valla’s Postcards from Google Earth.  http://www.postcards-from-google-earth.com/

Image from Clement Valla’s Postcards from Google Earth. http://www.postcards-from-google-earth.com/

Curator and scholar Christiane Paul presents a multimedia talk on the “Genealogies of the New Aesthetic.” Identified as such by the British artist and programmer James Bridle, the New Aesthetic began as a Tumblr devoted to new modes of technologically enabled imaging and exploded into a meme dissected by critics from Wired, The Atlantic, and Vanity Fair. Taking Bridle’s Tumblr as her starting point — a collage of corruption artifacts, 8-bit imagery, information visualization, and more — Paul (using research conducted in collaboration with Malcolm Levy) traces the histories of each to create a lineage for practices, artifacts, and their aesthetics.

Christiane Paul (b. 1961, Attendorn, Germany) is Associate Professor at the School of Media Studies, The New School, and Adjunct Curator of New Media Arts at the Whitney Museum of American Art. She has written extensively on new media arts and lectured internationally on art and technology. As Adjunct Curator of New Media Arts at the Whitney Museum of American Art, she curated several exhibitions — including Cory Arcangel: Pro Tools (2011), Profiling (2007), Data Dynamics (2001) and artport, the Whitney Museum’s website devoted to Internet art.

1968-2014, multiple countries, multiple formats, ca 60 min + discussion

Christiane Paul: Genealogies of the New Aesthetic Facebook Page

Sven Augustijnen: Spectres

Thursday, April 3, 6:00 p.m.

Sven Augustijnen in person

Still from Spectres (2011, Sven Augustijnen). Courtesy of the artist and Auguste Orts.

Still from Spectres (2011, Sven Augustijnen). Courtesy of the artist and Auguste Orts.

Confronting the authorized version of an atrocity committed during the early days of post-colonial African rule, Sven Augustijnen’s Spectres (2011) focuses a critical eye on the official account of the murder of Patrice Lumumba, the Congo’s first elected Prime Minister. The film begins a half-century later as the filmmaker sets off in the company of an amiable former Belgian civil servant-turned-historian on a journey in which the political soon becomes personal and standard notions of historical evidence begin to veer into Errol Morris terrain. Spectres vividly demonstrates that reconciliation always begins by uncovering the truth.

Sven Augustijnen (b. 1970, Mechelen, Belgium) studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, the Hoger Sint-Lukas Instituut in Brussels, and at the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht. His work concentrates mainly on the tradition of portraiture and the porous boundaries between fiction and reality, using a hybrid of genres and techniques to disorienting effect. His films have been included in exhibitions and festivals in Athens, Basel, Fribourg, San Sebastián, Siegen, Rotterdam, Tunis, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, and Vilnius, among others. In 2011 he received the Evens Prize for Visual Arts. Augustijnen lives and works in Brussels.

2011, Belgium, HDCam, 104 min + discussion

Sven Augustijnen: Spectres Facebook Page

Everything is Terrible! Doggie Woggiez and More

Thursday, April 10, 6:00 p.m.

Filmmakers Commodore Gilgamesh and Ghoul Skool in person

Image from Doggie Woggiez! Poochie Woochiez! (Everything is Terrible, 2012). Courtesy of the artists.

Image from Doggie Woggiez! Poochie Woochiez! (Everything is Terrible, 2012). Courtesy of the artists.

“If everything is terrible, then nothing is” is the motto of this filmmaking collective, whose pseudonym-loving members make rapid-fire mash-ups from VHS tapes found in thrift stores—forgotten children’s shows, religious sermons, no-budget monster movies—to explore the weirdest corners of the American psyche. Leaving little time for reflection, only total submission, its cinema is a kind of psychedelic food poisoning, equally abrasive and hilarious and, in the end, oddly affectionate toward its varied subjects. Everything is Terrible! presents several shorts and its feature-length masterwork Doggie Woggiez! Poochie Woochiez! (2012)—a remake of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Holy Mountain with a cast of cinematic canines.

Founded in 2006, Everything is Terrible! (EIT!) is an anonymous video collective dedicated to unearthing the best and worst ever committed to VHS. EIT! mines thrift stores and bargain bins for old VHS tapes and gives them new life in video compilations, live shows, and the group’s website. EIT!’s work has been hailed by Wired, Time, The Onion, Chicago Tribune, NPR’s All Things Considered, BoingBoing, Buzzfeed, Videogum, Paste, and Jezebel.

2012–14, USA, multiple formats, ca 80 min + discussion

Everything is Terrible! Doggie Woggiez and More Facebook Page

Thom Andersen: Reconversão

Thursday, April 17, 6:00 p.m. 

Thom Andersen in person

Still from Reconversão (Thom Andersen, 2012). Courtesy of the artist.

Still from Reconversão (Thom Andersen, 2012). Courtesy of the artist.

A master of the essay film, Thom Andersen turns his attention to the work of the Pritzker Prize–winning Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura. Considering built, unrealized, and abandoned projects and using a stop-motion technique that emphasizes the temporal dimension of architecture, Reconversão (2012) regards buildings not as static objects but living things, subject to decay, death, and even rebirth. (Museum of the Moving Image)

Thom Andersen (b. 1943, Chicago) is a filmmaker, curator, and scholar based in Los Angeles where he currently teaches film composition at the California Institute of the Arts.  Anderson has made numerous short films including Melting (1965), Olivia’s Place (1966) and — ——- (1967, in collaboration with Malcolm Brodwick).  In 2003 he completed Los Angeles Plays Itself, a videotape about the representation of Los Angeles in movies.

2012, Portugal/USA, Digital Video, ca 65 min + discussion

Thom Andersen: Reconversão Facebook Page

Basma Alsharif: Doppelgänging

Thursday, April 24, 6:00 p.m.

Basma Alsharif in person

Still from Deep Sleep (Basma Alsharif, 2014). Courtesy of the artist.

Still from Deep Sleep (Basma Alsharif, 2014). Courtesy of the artist.

Basma Alsharif’s sharp, seductive films have often been informed by Palestine’s history, its contemporary political situation, and the conflicted experiences of those who call it home (whether or not they live there). She returns to CATE with a collection of recent films that explore bilocation—the act of being in multiple places at once—a state of being she uses to describe Palestinian identity, as well as cinema itself. The program offers the possibility of bilocating through the visceral experience of drone-glitched TV and teenage cello lessons in Home Movies Gaza (2013); a rhyming exercise in the Panathenaic Stadium in Girls Only (2014); a stroboscopic oral history in Farther Than the Eye Can See (2012); and a hypnosis-inducing pan-geographic shuttle in Deep Sleep (2014), a film/performance. Presented in collaboration with the Video Data Bank.

Basma Alsharif(b. 1983, Kuwait) is a visual artist working between cinema and installation whose work concerns the human condition as it is related to the subjective experience of political history. Since receiving her MFA from the University of Illinois in Chicago in 2007, her works have shown in solo exhibitions, biennials, and film festival internationally, including Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, the Jerusalem Show, the Toronto International Film Festival, the Berlinale, Videobrasil, and Manifesta 8.

2012–14, Canada/Gaza Strip/Greece/Malta/United Arab Emirates, multiple formats, ca 70 min + discussion

Basma Alsharif: Doppelgänging Facebook Page

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