how does the world breathe now?



Session N°1: They’ve Never Had It So Good

Dani Gal presents David Koff’s Mau Mau & Occupied Palestine

September 14, 2016 | 8pm

In the series‘ initial session, Dani Gal presents works by filmmaker and social activist David Koff (1939 –2014) who spent his life between the U.S., England and West Africa exploring issues of social and economic justice, racial discrimination, colonialism and resistance.

Long before Britain opened its imperial archives to the public and long before the first Intifada popularised the Palestinian struggle, David Koff's films presented a unique and uncompromising position on colonialism and systematic exploitation of colonized people. His films give a voice to those people who are rarely, if ever, presented on film and show a reality from the perspective of people who were dehumanised under colonial rule. Today, with the rise of nationalism and xenophobia in Europe and Britain and their connection to the war in the Middle East, and the ongoing colonisation of Palestine, David Koff's films are still of the utmost relevance.

From Koff‘s encompassing oeuvre, Dani Gal chose two films: Mau Mau (1973) and Occupied Palestine (1981). Mau Mau belongs to the trilogy The Black Man's Land about British colonialism and its after-effects in Africa and focuses on the state of emergency declared by the British in Kenya in 1952, including the creation of the myth of a Mau Mau terrorist group to justify the suppression of the African nationalist movement. The documentary Occupied Palestine takes a look at the roots of the Zionist Colonisation of Palestine and the resistance to it. The film led to a bomb threat at its premiere.

Dani Gal (1975 in Jerusalem) is a video artist who lives and works in Berlin. He studied at the Bezalel Academy for Art and Design in Jerusalem; the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste Städelschule in Frankfurt; and the Cooper Union in New York. His films and works have been shown widely, including at the 54th Venice Biennale (2011), The Istanbul Biennale (2011), Berlin Film Festival (2013), Kunsthalle St. Gallen Switzerland (2013), The Jewish Museum New York (2014), Kunsthaus Zurich, Kunsthalle Wien (2015) and more.

Session N°2: Wake up! Wake up! Up you wake!

Film Screening and Conversation with Candice Breitz

September 21, 2016 | 8pm (doors open at 7.30pm)

< how does the world breathe now? > is a 52 week film series at SAVVY Contemporary inviting artists, thinkers, activists, poets, scientists, curators and other practitioners to select movies of our nows*

'Those that'll tell don't know, and those that know won't tell.'

The movie selection for Session N°2 of HOW DOES THE WORLD BREATHE NOW is so hot that we got the rights for screening but not for announcing the event. So you’ll have to trust us and Candice Breitz — our guest this week!

For the curious ones among you: we will be going back to the boiling heatwave that struck the summer of ’89, days before the fall of the Berlin Wall on its other far end - in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn where a bitter racial confrontation leaves one man dead and a neighbourhood destroyed. In his review upon the movie’s release, Roger Ebert stated that the film “comes closer to reflecting the current state of race relations in America than any other movie of our time.” 27 years later it remains as pertinent as ever, particularly in the light of recent racist killings and the revitalisation of social and political movements in Ferguson, New York, Berlin, Johannesburg and beyond: "My people, my people, what can I say; say what I can. I saw it but didn't believe it; I didn't believe what I saw. Are we gonna live together? Together are we gonna live?"

Candice Breitz (Johannesburg, 1972) is a Berlin-based artist whose moving image installations have been shown internationally. She has been a professor at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig since 2007. Breitz has participated in numerous biennales, among others in Johannesburg (1997), São Paulo (1998), Venice (2005), New Orleans (2008), Singapore (2011) and Dakar (2014). Her work has been featured at the Sundance Film Festival (2009) and the Toronto International Film Festival (2013). Solo and group exhibitions have been hosted at the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Humlebæk), the South African National Gallery (Cape Town), Museum der Moderne Salzburg, National Museum of Modern Art (Tokyo), Tate Liverpool, Museum Fridericianum (Kassel) and many others.

Session N°3: The hero can't dead till the last reel!

Film Screening and Conversation with Maria Thereza Alves

September 28, 2016 | 8pm (doors open at 7.30pm)

< how does the world breathe now? > is a 52 week film series at SAVVY Contemporary inviting artists, thinkers, activists, poets, scientists, curators and other practitioners to select movies of our nows*

It would be misleading to simmer this movie down to: provincial yute turns rude boy turns hero after his dreams of becoming a music star in the city have been obstructed by self-righteous priests, cynical producers and scheming ganja dealers. By means of independent cinema, the Caribbean Blaxploitation moves close to the centre of post-independent social realities. The gritty, rough’n’ ready movie is, all the same, “a celebration of Jamaican music and style” (R. Ebert) and a declaration of love for the islands language – spoken, sang, danced.

Maria Thereza Alves, our movie host this week, remembers: “ The movie was shown at midnight in New York in the 70s. This film, in a New York of-the-times with a lack of visibility of cultural production by non-white people, gave us a possibility to see our own histories.”

Maria Thereza Alves (born 1961) is a Brazilian artist living and working in Berlin. Her artistic practice often incorporates the political knowledge to be gained from organic materials. She has worked for the International Indian Treaty Council in New York City and founded the Brazilian Information Center, working in defense of human rights of indigenous people. In 1981 she co-founded the Partido Verde (Green Party) in São Paulo, Brazil.
Amongst others, her work has been exhibited at the Liverpool Biennial; NGBK, Berlin; Villa Medici, Rome; Steirischer Herbst, Graz; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York as well as in documenta 13 (2012), the Bienal de São Paulo (2016 and 2010), the Biennale de Lyon (2009), Manifesta 7 (2008), the Guangzhou Triennial (2008), and the Biennale di Venezia (2001).

Session N°4: Quelques Évènements Sans Significations

Mohamed Fariji presents Mostapha Derkaoui

October 5, 2016 | 7pm

< how does the world breathe now? > is a 52 week film series at SAVVY Contemporary inviting artists, thinkers, activists, poets, scientists, curators and other practitioners to select movies of our nows*

Our guest this week, Mohamed Fariji presents Mostapha Derkaoui who is a Moroccan filmmaker. He was born 1944 in Oujda and studied at the film school in Lodz, Poland. “Quelques Évènements Sans Significations" (Some events without importance), 1974 is his first film. Forbidden at its launch – this was the case until the 1990s – it is an avant garde work, engaged and free, that questions the role of cinema and the role of artists in a time of political oppression. We see how a group of idealist cinematographers search the streets of the working class quarters of Casablanca’s harbour in order to find a subject for their film. They end up in bars where they question the recent birth of Moroccan cinema and talk to a young dock worker who fights to survive despite the everyday injustices he has to experience.

A whole generation of artists and musicians participated in shooting this film. This mobilisation of the world of cinema, of literature, of music and of art, which created an independent cinematographic work of great importance, is unique in the cultural history of Morocco.

The film, invisible since its realisation (censored by some, deemed to experimental for others), will soon be shown in a restored version. The original negatives, thought lost, were found in a european cinema, that had bought them after the laboratory which conserved them, had gone bankrupt.

L’Atelier de l’Observatoire (The Workshop of the Observatory) develops a long-term research project around the film: its re-discovery, its restoration, its conditions of realisation, its reception, and the place it occupies in the cinematography of the film director and in the history of moroccan cinema. Numerous public discussions and meetings with the film director were regularly held with students, artists, cinephiles and researchers.

Mohamed Fariji was born and lives in Casablanca. He is a graduate of the Tetouan National Fine Arts Institute (Morocco) and the Lotja School of Art and Design, Barcelona (Spain). Fariji develops long-term artistic projects which question the role of the artist and the individual in shaping his/her city and environment. Working in a variety of media, he also questions the involvement of public officials and policy makers in this process. Fariji’s conceptual works go hand in hand with civil action initiatives and grassroots environmentalism, which evolve over the course of his workshops, performances, or during the creation of participative site-specific works in the public space. Following on from his earlier project, 'The Imaginary Aquarium', which took as its subject the former aquarium of Casablanca, Fariji continues to collect traces of public spaces in Casablanca that have disappeared, or been forgotten or excluded from official discourse. In 2011, Fariji founded the Atelier de l'Observatoire, which supports socially-engaged and research-based art practices, and is designed as a staging ground to foster and guide contemporary creation.

Session N°5: Passolini meets Ossama Mohammed

Screening and talk with Khaled Kurbeh

October 12, 2016 | 8pm

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding

< how does the world breathe now? > is a 52 week film series at SAVVY Contemporary inviting artists, thinkers, activists, poets, scientists, curators and other practitioners to select movies of our nows*

For this week's screening Khaled Kurbeh chose to show Passolini's Le Mura di Sana’a along with Khutwa Khutwa by Ossama Mohammed.

Le Mura di Sana’a | Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1973, 16mm, 13 minutes, in Italian without subtitles

Yemen in 1971. Sana’a, like all of the Third World for Pasolini, was two things: an intact, sublimely beautiful medieval Arab city of the past, and a corrupted, degraded city being developed in the present. In 1971, Pasolini made this film in the form of a plea to UNESCO to save Sana’a from the destruction of modernisation.

Khutwa Khutwa | Ossama Mohammed, 1979, digital, 22 minutes, Arabic with English subtitles

Syria in 1977. Ossama Mohammed's film explores how in an oppressive society individuals are subjected to various stages of submission until they are prepared to accept violence. Images of everyday life in rural areas where education is minimal provide a portrait of young villagers. Theirs is a choice between a life of toil working the land as their parents have done, or that of a migrant labourer in the city. Trapped between religious and political ideologies and completely fascinated by authority, many of them choose the army.

Khaled Kurbeh (born 1987) is a Syrian music producer living and working in Berlin. He holds a degree in Economics and is a MA candidate in Spatial Strategies at Kunsthochschule Weissensee. Amongst others, he held several performances and exhibited his works at Smac Gallery Berlin, Haus der Kulturen der Welt and BOX Freiraum. He released his first EP, Pieces From Exile, during Art Week Berlin 2015, in collaboration with initiative kommen und bleiben. Together with Oud player Raman Khalaf and an Ensemble of Berlin-based musicians, he's working on his forthcoming EP which will be released in early 2017. The project is commissioned by Shubbak, London’s largest biennial festival of contemporary Arab culture.


Session N°6: Zur Situation der Frau

Stefanie Schulte Strathaus presents The Woman's Film

November 2, 2016 | 7pm

< how does the world breathe now? > is a 52 week film series at SAVVY Contemporary inviting artists, thinkers, activists, poets, scientists, curators and other practitioners to select movies of our nows --READ MORE HERE

THE WOMAN’S FILM (Judy Smith / San Francisco Newsreel), USA 1971, 16mm, b&w, 41 min

In November 1973, the first international women's film conference took place at the old Ar-senal in Welserstraße and the primary school opposite. It was organized by Filmmakers Claudia von Alemann and Helke Sander, who presented 45 films from seven countries - this was tantamount to a pioneering achievement. They invited 250 participants who were active in women's groups. On top of that, women who worked in the media came and thanks to the conference/festival they were able to build up a network for the first time. The same was true for the filmmakers. Most screenings were premieres and thus the event can also be considered to be the first women's film festival in the Europe, with films made by and about women. There had never been a women's film festival of this size before. How-ever, in the forefront was the establishment of a public discourse. The issues examined were "Women in the labor struggle, women in the depiction of the media, women and Paragraph 218, sexuality, role behavior, the women's movement in Europe and the US." Films of all lengths and genres that picked up on these themes critically were invited.The brochure that was published at the time "Zur Situation der Frau" contained valuable film and literature tips and presented a work and learning program.

One of the films in the program was THE WOMAN’S FILM (Newsreel #55, USA 1970). It was made entirely by women from „San Francisco Newsreel“. It was a collective effort be-tween the women behind the camera and those in front of it. The script itself was written from preliminary interviews with women in the film. Their participation, their criticism, and approval were sought at various stages of production.

We are showing the 16mm print of the Arsenal archive. The German subtitles of this print are out of sync, a failure that leads to questions about cultural translation.

Stefanie Schulte Strathaus is co-Director of Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art (with Milena Gregor and Birgit Kohler) and Member of the selection committee of the Berlinale Forum. In 2006 she co-founded the Berlinale program Forum Expanded (with Anselm Franke). Since 1994 she curates film retrospectives and exhibitions, among them LIVE FILM! JACK SMITH! Five Flaming Days in A Rented World (2009, with Susanne Sachsse and Marc Siegel) and „A Paradise Built in Hell“ at Kunstverein Hamburg (2014, with Betti-na Steinbrügge). Since 2010 she regularly travels to Cairo where she works on several cinema and research projects. From 2011-2013 she curated the project "Living Archive – Archive Work as a Contemporary Artistic and Curatorial Practice“ which turned into the on-going project „Living Archive“ since the Arsenal Film Archive moved to „silent green Kul-turquartier“ in 2015, where she also co-curates the long-term research and exhibition pro-ject „Film Feld Forschung“ (with Bettina Ellerkamp and Jörg Heitmann).

Session N°7: Walter Defends Sarajevo

Braco Dimitrijevic presents Siba Hajrudin Krvavac

November 9, 2016 | 7pm

Walter Defends Sarajevo (Hajrudin Krvavac), Yugoslavia 1972, Serbo-Croatian and German with English subtitles, 133 min

The movie “Walter defends Sarajevo” broke the record of any box-office on the globe and surpassed the dreams of any movie producer. It was seen by 13 billion viewers, the largest audience ever.

The film story is based on the true personality of the Second War World, Walter Peric, the hero of anti-Nazi resistance. He was killed in action last day of the Second World War and immediately became a legend. Due to geo-political circumstances this Yugoslav film from 1972, by Bosnian director Siba Hajrudin Krvavac, became the most watched film of all the times. The reason was quite simple: this well-made action movie was one of the rare foreign films accepted by Chinese film board. It became the favourite of Chinese audience, seen statistically between 11-13 times by every citizen, and regularly shown during New Year holidays. The film was shown also internationally.

The main actor became a pop-icon in China and his face is on label of a Chinese beer branded “Walter”. In 1980s Yugoslav rock groups dedicated songs or albums to this hero. When the actor Bata Zivojinovic visited Beijing in 1990 he was awaited on the airport by the crowd of a one million fans.

Braco Dimitrijevic’s connection with this movie and its director is very personal and autobiographical. On the occasion of Braco Dimitrijevic’s first solo exhibition at the age of 10, director Siba Krvavac made in 1958, 20 min, 35 mm documentary “Little Painter” about Dimitrijevic as a child prodigy. The film was shown in cinemas around the country before main feature.

The movie is shown at the SAVVY Contemporary courtesy of Sarajevo Film Centar and Sarajevo Film Festival.

Braco Dimitrijevic was born in Sarajevo in 1948. From 1968 to 1971 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb; 1971-1973 post graduate studies at St Martin’s School of Art in London. He received the Major Award of Arts Council of Great Britain in 1978. In 1993 he was made Chevalier des Arts et de Lettres in France. He lives in Paris.

Braco Dimitrijevic has had 160 solo exhibitions around the globe including shows at Tate Gallery, London; Ludwig Museum, Cologne; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; MUMOK, Vienna; Russian State Museum, St. Petersburg etc. This year the major retrospective of his work was held at GAM (Museum of Modern Art) in Turin.

The long list of group exhibitions also includes three participations in documenta in Kassel (1972, 1977 and 1992), five participations in Venice Biennale (1976, 1982, 1990, 1993, 2009), São Paulo Biennale, ‘Rhetorical Image’ at the New Museum, New York, “Magiciens de la Terre” at Centre G. Pompidou in Paris etc. This year he took part in “Conceptual Art in Britain” Tate Gallery London, “Transmissions” Museum of Modern Art New York. Currently he is exhibiting at ZKM Karlsruhe in “Art in Europe 1945-1968”.

Dimitrijevic’s works are in 80 public collections including Tate Gallery, London; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Musee National d’Art Moderne Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Museum Ludwig, Cologne etc.

Session N°8: MERCEDES

Malak Helmy presents Yousry Nasrallah

November 16, 2016 | 7pm

Yousry Nasrallah, Mercedes, Egypt/France, 105 min., 1993, Arabic with English subtitles. This screening is kindly Supported by Zawya Distribution.

Mercedes, made in 1993, is the second film by Egyptian director Yousry Nasrallah. The film is set in Cairo in 1990, almost ten years into Mubarak’s presidency. It is a year often cited as marking the transformation of the institutional fabric of the Egyptian economy into a truly market-oriented economy. Aggravated by a global recession, diminishing remittances from migrant workers in the Gulf - because of the impending crises there and the drop in tourism due to growing terrorist attacks locally - the Egyptian economy was lead into major privatization. Trade reforms and cuts in public spending became a condition to receiving bail out funds from the IMF and World Bank that year.

Mercedes is set against the backdrop of the dark triumphs of Liberalism – perhaps typified through its most symbolic commodity from which the film takes its name, which is also personified into a character that the protagonists are searching for in order to receive an inheritance. It weaves a satirical image of the dissonant social and political realities of Egypt in the 90s and paints them into an extremely surrealist image of its present. In it, Liberalism strolls around the dashed dreams of Communist bloc, Islamism is on the rise, the Persian Gulf is burning out, and football becomes a sensuous and tense mesh that roams the city that is otherwise connected by the intimate and violent networks of drug and organ trafficking and sexual relations - straight, gay and deviant – weaving through. Lost and eccentric characters are choreographed by this time roam around this absurd reality that is both beautifully filmed and saturated in colour.

The film unfolds through an eccentric family - remnants of old-world aristocrats, their step wives and their children oddly placed in their present. Mostly it hinges on the story of two men who teeter on the margins – half brothers – who have rejected their social positioning and try to escape the violence of their class through different means: one is Nubi (Zaki Fateen Abdel Wahab) – the main protagonist of the film: a Communist who falls into a strangely oedipal relationship with a bellydancer (Youssra) who is the mirror image of his mother (also performed by Youssra) who had checked him into a mental institute because of his political affiliations. The other is Gamal, his homosexual half brother, an artist, who decides to affiliate with the Muslim Brotherhood, spends time in cinemas and dens or with football fans roaming the city.

The beauty of Nasrallah’s work, which is very much articulated in the unique characters in this film, is his depiction of outsiders and vagabonds born out of the incongruities of the nation. He opens up an imaginary and an image of complications of love and sexuality outside of gender norms and normalizes them in his writing, in a manner rarely seen in Egyptian cinema. Outside of the uniquely layered, complex image of gay love and homosexuality in the landscape of Cairo, of which there are few precedents to compare, it is fascinating to note that the drug dealing and most noted sexual encounters are not performed by men, but by the female characters in the film.

Malak Helmy’s personal affiliation with the film began by way of a friend some years ago. Perhaps it is the way in which it embraces the madness of so many narratives at once or perhaps it is the characters flourishing within it that makes the film so rich to revisit over and over again. In either case, it is a fine example of the wave of experimental, somewhat surrealist films of its time. Its relevance today is still great, with Egypt entering into a new deal with the IMF, it is interesting to look back at that moment in 1990s when this all began. Also, too, to revisit the earlier of one of Egypt’s best directors.

Malak Helmy is an artist working between video, sound, text, objects and the architectural sites in which they’re hosted. Writing into areas such as digital dust and state collapse, leisure communities and carbon compounds, her work fuses personal memory with social and political developments, blurring lines between real and fictionalised sites or events. She is currently co-curating Meeting Point 8: Both Sides of the Curtain, whose second chapter takes place in Brussels in December 2016. Her work has been exhibited in places such as Camera Austria, the 64th and 63rd Berlinale Forum Expanded, CCA Singapore, the 9th Mercosul Beinnial, EVA International and Gwangju Biennials, Alamanac Projects, London; Aspen Art Museum, and Beirut in Cairo. Her writing has been a part of The Cyprus Pavilion Bienniale Arte 2015 reader;; Happy Hypocrite; Log – Journal for Architecture and Urbanism and Ibraaz. She co-initiated Emotional Architecture, a writing and publication project. And is co-editor of Stationary02.


Azin Feizabadi presents Kamran Shirdel and Abbas Kiarostami

November 23, 2016 | 7pm

What form of historiography can embody a 'truth' that is non-scientific and so non-ideological? What form of historiography can emancipate the 'event' from becoming fixed, archived and its narrative institutionally instrumentalized? Like the same as happened to the disputed modern and contemporary history of Iran! Or with the absent migration history of Germany! What is the task of the historiographer? How can historiography record and report ‘das Wesentliche’ of an event? How dependent is historiography from linear time?

To speak to these questions, Azin Feizabadi will perform a reading, present various archival clips, and show and discuss with the audience two short films: "The Night It Rained" (by Kamran Shirdel) and "First Case, Second Case" (by Abbas Kiarostami). The evening's materials are part of Feizabadi's research and work on A COLLECTIVE MEMORY (2009–ongoing).

The Night It Rained
38", Documentary, IR, 1967, by Kamran Shirdel (Farsi with English subtitles)

In northern Iran, a schoolboy from a village near Gorgan is said to have discovered that the railway had been undermined and washed away by a flood. As the story goes, when he saw the approaching train, he set fire to his jacket, ran towards the train and averted a serious and fatal accident. Shirdel’s film does not concentrate on the heroic deed promulgated in the newspapers, but on a caricature of social and subtle political behavior – the way in which witnesses and officials manage to insert themselves into the research into this event. Shirdel uses newspaper articles and interviews with railway employees, the governor, the chief of police, the village teacher and pupils, each of whom tell a different version of the event. In the end, they all contradict each other, while the group of possible or self-appointed heroes constantly grows. With his cinematic sleights of hand, Shirdel paints a bittersweet picture of Iranian Society in which truth, rumor, and lie can no longer be distinguished. After completion the film was harshly banned and confiscated, and Shirdel was expelled from the Ministry. It was released seven years later in 1974 to participate in the Third Tehran International Film Festival, where it won the GRAND PRIX by a unanimous vote, only to be banned again until after the revolution.

First Case, Second Case
47", Documentary, IR, 1979-1982, by Abbas Kiarostami (Farsi with English subtitles)

The film starts with this scenario: A teacher is drawing a diagram of an ear on the chalkboard with his back to the class; he is interrupted several times by the sound of a pen banging rhythmically against a desk. Each time when the teacher turns around, the noise stops, only to resume again. Finally, unable to pick out the culprit, the teacher tells the seven boys sitting in the corner of the room to leave the class. The students are given an ultimatum, which becomes the basis of 'First Case, Second Case'.

Kiarostami screened this film to the Shah's educational experts and filmed their opinions in 1979. Shooting was nearly complete when, on February 1, Ayatollah Khomeini arrived in Tehran from exile and 10 days later declared an Islamic republic. In 1981 Kiarostami set about remaking the film, junking the commentaries and changing the structure of the film.

The film was banned after its premier in Tehran and disappeared from view for decades until June 2009 when it reappeared and became widely distributed on the web.

Azin Feizabadi is a filmmaker and visual artist living and working in Berlin. As part of A COLLECTIVE MEMORY Feizabadi has written and directed a series of films and video works, among them: the feature film CRYPTOMNESIA (2014), the mid-length film CONFERENCE OF THE BIRDS (2011) and the short film THE NEGOTIATION (2010 / together with Kaya Behkalam).


Nadia Kaabi-Linke presents Andrei Tarkovsky

November 30, 2016 | 7pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

Andrej Rubljow by Andrej Tarkowskij (1966, Russia, 186 minutes, Russian with German subtitles)

Andrei Tarkovsky’s film ANDREJ RUBLEV was first shown in 1966, a few years after Rendra wrote “An Angry World”. While revisiting the 15th century in Russia with its religious believe and cruelty Tarkovsky was able to reflect the contemporary unease of the Russian people under the Soviet Regime by incorporating themes like deportation, censorship, autocracy, etc. in his movie. Although a biographical and historical drama this picture touches themes of universal importance and evokes a feeling of timelessness. The movie describes the journey of Andrej Rublev, a Russian icon painter, but instead of following his works the viewer becomes a witness of his quest of art as an expression of spirituality. He was unable to paint for a longer period of time after witnessing the darkest sides of Man and its eager for destruction. First after he found a way to reconcile the horror and the sacred he could accept the state of being and resume his work. Tarkovsky’s film seems to reenact this turning point in many scenes where death is represented as a part of life. The duration of the sequences and the flow of the montage suggest a peaceful continuation despite the cruelty of the action that takes place.

The movie attains a very high level in aesthetic terms. Many sequences remind of iconography and renaissance painters such as Peter Brügel. Albeit displaying the vulgarness of everyday life they evoke a calm and peaceful rhythm. My fascination for this movie is based on the manner how Tarkovski joins specific characters (the Russian people at a historical period of time, the very specific traditions and beliefs) and a universal history that relates to all people of the planet and to every historical episode. It seems that the movie suspends time and place while it is clearly staged and narratively anchored in the time of the Mongol invasion in Russia. Art that becomes a spiritual gesture, whether it is Tarkovsky’s movie or Andrej Rublev’s painting, calls - in Tarkovsky’s words, for eternity”.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke was born Tunis, Tunisia, in 1978, and raised in Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. She graduated from the University of Fine Arts, Tunis, in 1999, and earned a Ph.D. at Université Paris-Sorbonne, in 2008. Growing up between Tunis, Kiev, and Dubai, and now residing in Berlin, Kaabi-Linke has a personal history of migration across cultures and borders that has greatly influenced her work. Her works give physical presence to that which tends to remain invisible, be it people, structures, or the geopolitical forces that shape them. Kaabi-Linke has had solo exhibitions at Centro de Arte Moderna José de Azevedo Perdigão, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon (2014); The Mosaic Rooms, London (2014); and Dallas Contemporary, Texas (2015). Her work has been included in group exhibitions at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2011); Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York (2012); Musée National de Carthage, Tunisia (2012); Centrum Sztuki Wspó?czesnej Zamek Ujazdowski, Zamek Ujazdowski, Warsaw (2013); Nam June Paik Art Center, Seoul (2013); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013); Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark (2014), and Marta Herford, Museum für Kunst, Design und Architektur, Herford, Germany (2016); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2016). She participated in the Sharjah Biennial, United Arab Emirates (2009); Alexandria Biennial for Mediterranean Countries (2009); Venice Biennale (2011); Liverpool Biennial (2012), and KochiMuziris Biennial, Kerala, India (2012). Kaabi-Linke lives and works in Berlin.

Session N°11: The Mecca Clock Tower & Leaves Fall in All Seasons

Köken Ergun presents Taner Karaarslan/Bensalem Bouabdallah and Ahmed Mater

December 7, 2016 | 7pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

The Mecca Clock Tower by Taner Karaarslan/Bensalem Bouabdallah (2013, German, 48 minutes, German/English with English subtitles)

Leaves Fall in All Seasons by Ahmed Mater (2013, Saudi Arabia, 20 minutes)

Köken Ergun’s response to choose a film “that represents our time” is two films that look on the same subject from completely different perspectives. The focus for the evening will be the radical changes in Mecca, Islam’s holiest city. Ergun proposes a discussion to follow the screening of these two films.

The first is a documentary produced by the German architectural company SL Rasch on their large scale construction project in Mecca, Islam’s holiest city. 35 times larger than Big Ben and adorned in over 98 million glass mosaic tiles with 24-carat gold leaf, the Mecca Clock tower is the world’s largest. It sits on top of the controversial Abraj Al-Bait building, a government owned complex of seven skyscrapers built after the demolition of a 18th century Ottoman citadel. Built by the Bin Ladin Group, this luxury complex shadows the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest site, which for centuries used to be the tallest structure in the city. The building is one of many that have been built on top of historical Islamic sites in Mecca. Up to 95% of Mecca's millennium-old buildings have been destroyed only recently, to be replaced with luxury hotels, apartments and shopping malls. There is even plans for bulldozing the site of prophet Muhammed’s birthplace to build a new presidential palace. While The Mecca Clock Tower documentary focuses on the engineering and architectural efforts behind the development, fabrication and installation of the clock tower it offers a glimpse on rapid and irrecoverable change in Mecca from the perspective of the developer.

The second film of the evening offers a totally different perspective. Saudi Arabian artist Ahmed Mater’s Leaves Fall in All Seasons (2013) is a compilation of mobile phone footage from foreign workers employed at the clock tower and other constructions in Mecca. The film looks at the booming development in Mecca from the point of view of the construction workers, who are largely migrant laborers from elsewhere in the Middle East as well as from South Asia. Their cellphone videos capture the city from the perspective of an outsider granted a momentary peek in, focusing not on the loss of local neighborhoods but on the spectacle of demolition, the crowning of new towers and the quotidian moments of the workday.

Köken Ergun (born 1976, Istanbul) is a Turkish artist working in film and installation. His films often deal with communities that are not known to a greater public and the importance of ritual in such groups. Ergun usually spends long time with his subjects before starting to shoot and engages in a long research period for his projects. He also collaborates with ethnographers, historians and sociologists for publications and lecture series as extensions to his artistic practice.

Having studied acting at the Istanbul University, Ergun completed his postgraduate diploma degree in Ancient Greek Literature at King's College London, followed by an MA degree on Art History at the Bilgi University. After working with American theatre director Robert Wilson, Ergun became involved with video and film. His multi-channel video installations have been exhibited internationally at institutions including Palais de Tokyo, SALT, Garage MCA, Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, Protocinema, KIASMA, Digital ArtLab Tel Aviv, Casino Luxembourg, Para-Site and Kunsthalle Winterthur. His films received several awards at film festivals including the “Tiger Award for Short Film” at the 2007 Rotterdam Film Festival and the “Special Mention Prize” at the 2013 Berlinale. Ergun’s works are included in public collections such as the Centre Pompidou, Stadtmuseum Berlin and Kadist Foundation.

Session N°12: Touki Bouki

Antje Majewski presents Djibril Diop Mambéty

December 14, 2016 | 7pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

Touki Bouki by Djibril Diop Mambéty (1973, 1 hour 35 minutes, French and Wolof, with English subtitles)

Antje Majewski choses Touki Bouki to watch with us "because it is one of the most important films I know. It has a style that is unique and a rhythm of acting and editing that are all very important for me as an artist. All that this film is about is still relevant today, and will be relevant tomorrow.
I also have a more personal connection with the film. I encountered the spirit of Djibril Diop Mambéty through his friends of the Laboratoire Agit Art in Dakar, of which he was - and is - a member. During this evening, I would like to present not only the film, but also a short homage to Mambéty, that I filmed at his house at the île de N’Gor, Sénégal."

With a stunning mix of the surreal and the naturalistic, Djibril Diop Mambe?ty paints a vivid, fractured portrait of Senegal in the early 1970s. In this French New Wave–influenced fantasy-drama, two young lovers long to leave Dakar for the glamour and comforts of France, but their escape plan is beset by complications both concrete and mystical. Characterized by dazzling imagery and music, the alternately manic and meditative Touki Bouki is widely considered one of the most important African films ever made.

Djibril Diop Mambéty (1945 – 1998) was an actor, orator, composer and poet. Though he made only a small number of films, they received international acclaim for their original and experimental cinematic technique and non-linear, unconventional narrative style. Some of his most acclaimed movies are Touki Bouki (1973), Hyènes (1992), and La Petite Vendeuse de Soleil (1999).

Antje Majewski was born 1968 in Marl/ Germany, she lives in Berlin and Himmelpfort. She is an artist who works with painting, video, texts, and performances to explore anthropological and philosophical questions. Her recent work focuses on questioning objects, territories and plants, and exploring alternative knowledge systems and storytelling as well as the possibility of transformative processes. She studied art history, history and philosophy in Cologne, Berlin, and Florence from 1987 to 1995, and has been professor of painting at Muthesius Kunsthochschule in Kiel, Germany since 2011. Since 2009, her works takes the seven objects of her “Gimel World” as a point of departure, and are accompanied by complex research. Majewski often collaborates with other artists and ecological and urban groups, and has also curated exhibitions.

Selected publications include: Aleksandra Jach, Joanna Sokolowska, Antje Majewski, Amy Patton, Susanne Titz: Apples. Over and over and once again / Apfel. Wieder und wieder und immer wieder; Museum Abteiberg Mönchengladbach and Berlin / New York: Sternberg Press, 2016; Antje Majewski: Der Meteorit / The Meteorite (Heidelberg: Heidelberger Kunstverein, 2014); Antje Majewski, The World of Gimel: How to Make Objects Talk, edited by Adam Budak and Peter Pakesch.

Session N°13

Vittorio Gallese meets MenschMaschinen

January 11, 2017 | 7pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

For the first session of the year, on January 11, Vittorio Gallese will bring a surprise movie - a science fiction thriller which attracted a lot of attention and appraisal recently for its philosophical and psychlogical depth as well as scientific accuracy.

The film deals with themes originally introduced by Mary Shelley in her novel Frankenstein: humans, their cosmogonic god-like attitude and the intelligent machines they build. It enables a series of timely considerations about what makes us human and the fate of our civilization in the age of the digital revolution.

Vittorio chose the film because it deals with themes originally introduced by Mary Shelley in her novel Frankenstein: humans, their cosmogonic god-like attitude and the intelligent machines they build. It enables a series of timely considerations about what makes us human and the fate of our civilization in the age of the digital revolution.

Vittorio Gallese is full Professor of Physiology at the Dept. of Neuroscience of the University of Parma, Adjunct Senior Research Scholar at the Dept. of Art History and Archeology, Columbia University, New York, USA and Professor in Experimental Aesthetics at the Institute of Philosophy of the University of London, U.K. He is the coordinator of the PhD Program in Neuroscience and Director of the Doctoral School of Medicine of the University of Parma. In neuroscience, among his main scientific contributions is the discovery of mirror neurons together with his colleagues of Parma, and the proposal of a new model of intersubjectivity: embodied simulation theory. He did research and taught at the Universities of Lausanne, Tokyo, Berkeley and Berlin. He is the author of more than 230 scientific articles published in international journals and books, two as author and three as editor. He received the George Miller Fellowship from the University of California at Berkeley in 2001, the Grawemeyer Award for Psychology in 2007, the Doctor Honoris Causa from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium in 2010, the Arnold Pfeffer Prize for Neuropsychoanalysis in New York in 2010, the Musatti Prize from the Italian Psychoanalytic Society in Milano in 2014, the Kosmos Fellowship from the Humboldt Universität of Berlin and the Einstein Fellows

Session N°14

PUNISHMENT PARK: Jasmina Metwaly presents Peter Watkins

January 25, 2017 | 7pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

Punishment Park, USA 1971, English, 88 min

“The policeman isn’t there to create disorder, the policeman is there to preserve disorder.” (Mayor Richard Baley at a press conference during brutal dispersal of anti-War demonstrators at the Convention Center in 1968)

In 1968, Peter Watkins is in Sweden working on The Gladiators (1969) and Richard Nixon becomes the president of the United States. The same year the North Vietnamese army launches Tet Offensive sending over 500,000 soldiers to Vietnam. A year later the Chicago Trial opens and Bobby Seale from the Black Panthers is separated from the rest of the defendants. Watkins moves with his family to America to produce a trilogy on the American Wars and on the Colonization of the Native Americans which he never finishes. In the same period he comes across the Mc Carran Act that allows for "the setting up of places of detention (in effect concentration camps) for those accused by the government of subversion, or of even considering subversion" (Peter Watkins Self-Interview on PUNISHMENT PARK, 2005). In May 1970, the National Guard opens fire on a student demonstration at Kent University in Ohio killing four protesters.

In the fall of the same year, Watkins shoots Punishment Park (1971). He chooses the Californian Mojave Desert as a location, where he builds a tent that acts as a courtroom for a group of dissidents judged by a civilian tribunal. Prisoners are given two options: spending a lengthy time in prison or running through the desert towards an American flag located 53 miles away. They get a 2 hour-start after which armed soldiers follow the group into the desert. The plot of the film constantly shifts between two locations: the testimonies given by protesters in the tent, violently confronted by the temporary panel of judges and the run across Punishment Park, brutally dispersed by the military. Like in Kent University, or inside the Chicago Trial, violence escalates leading to a 'real' confrontation between the actors; the ‘tribunals members’ and the ‘activists’, 'armed forces' and 'prisoners'. In real life none of the sides had met before; there were no rehearsals. Actors/non-actors were given a script beforehand to work with, but the on-set experience and the verbal confrontation between them led to a more spontaneous performance.

In a self-lead interview, Peter Watkins speaks about 'psychodrama' in Punishment Park, in which he came "to realize that allowing the actors - including the conservative members of the tribunal - spontaneity and freedom of expression, would not only strengthen the film, it would act as a practical demonstration of my critique against the traditional methods of the mass audiovisual media, with their rigid adherence to tightly controlled narrative structures, dialogue, and editing patterns."(Peter Watkins Self-Interview on PUNISHMENT PARK, 2005). It is within this improvised space of a tent, where the microcosms of violence manifest themselves yet again, where polarized fictions become 'truths' and the 'truths' become fictionalized.

Born to an Egyptian father and a Polish mother, Jasmina Metwaly is a Cairo-based artist and filmmaker, and member of the Mosireen collective. She works in video and film, and has recently started drawing again. She likes to work with people and their histories, texts, archives, images, scripts and drawings. She is interested in how stories create stories, and how they leave the space of one reality and enter another, intertwining the boundaries of both. Rooted in performance and theatre, her works focus on process-based practices that have a social function that generates tension between participants and audiences.

Session N°15 with Assaf Gruber

February 1, 2017 | 7pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

The movie is in English, 132 min.

Due to copyright regulations and our limited licence, this week has another surprise in store. So, trust us and our guest Assaf Gruber! On this Wednesday, we will travel to an imaginary Caribbean island with historical and remaining traces of violence and oppression. This brilliant cinematic investigation from the late 1960s about the long shadows of colonization focusses on the consciousness -or the lack thereof- of the occupier as well as their intermingling and detention of independence movements. It is shot by a celebrated film maker who has sharply investigated crucial historical moments of resistance and liberation movements in his works – most notably in his seminal, neorealistic film on the Algerian war of independence. The combination of an epic screenplay and Hollywood western-like visuals (accompanied with a soundtrack by Ennio Morricone) creates an original piece of cinema that is both politically and aesthetically subversive.

This week’s movie is presented by Assaf Gruber who chose this film for our series because “It is so relevant in the context of the program: The fact that it has been forgotten for some time in the history of cinema seems strange because in some important ways, it is more provocative in its criticism towards imperialism than the Algerian-Italian film that preceded it. But the main reason for its poor reception was that the production company questioned the film’s success after the final cut and decided not invest in its promotion, possibly because of concerns of what the film may evoke while the United States was deeply engaged in the Vietnam War.“

Assaf (born 1980 in Jerusalem) is an artist and filmmaker who works and lives in Berlin. He is a graduate of the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-arts de Paris. Gruber won the 2008 ‘Les amis des Beaux–arts’ prize in Paris and is a laureate of the HISK (Higher Institute of Fine Arts of Ghent). In 2012 he was a resident at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien and he obtained a fellowship granted by the Akademie der Künste in Berlin (2013). His work has been shown in venues such as Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (2015), POLIN Museum, Warsaw (2016) and MOCA Belgrade (2016). His films have been featured in festivals including Berlinale Film Festival (2016), Lo schermo dell'arte Film Festival (2016), Florence and the International Short film Festival of Oberhausen (2016).

Session N°16: Of Dogs and Sheeps

Julieta Aranda presents the Karrabing Film Collective & Charles Burnett

February 15, 2017 | 7pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

< how does the world breathe now? > is a 52 week film series at SAVVY Contemporary inviting artists, thinkers, activists, poets, scientists, curators and other practitioners to select movies of our nows*

When the Dogs Talked by Karrabing Film Collective/dir. Elizabeth A. Povinelli (2014, Australia, 34 minutes, English)

Killer of Sheep by Charles Burnett (1978, USA, 83 minutes, English)

This week we have two rare gems for you: 'Killer of Sheep' examines the Los Angeles neighbourhood of Watts in the mid-1970s through the eyes of Stan, a sensitive dreamer who is growing detached and numb from the psychic toll of working at a slaughterhouse. Frustrated by money problems, he finds respite in moments of simple beauty: the warmth of a coffee cup against his cheek, slow dancing with his wife in the living room, holding his daughter. The film offers no solutions; it merely presents life — sometimes hauntingly bleak, sometimes filled with transcendent joy and gentle humor.

'Killer of Sheep' was shot as a thesis film on location in Watts by Charles Burnett, then a 33-year-old graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles. The movie was never meant to be shown in public and thus the permission to use the musical passages were never obtained. Finished in 1977 and shown sporadically, its reputation grew and grew until it won a prize at the 1981 Berlin International Film Festival. Only in 2007 were the rights were purchased, the film was restored and transferred from a 16mm to a 35mm print and it received a limited release 30 years after it was completed.

Thematically the film is a reaction against the “blaxploitation” films that were filling downtown theaters in the early ’70s. 'Killer of Sheep 'is widely acknowledged as one of the most insightful and authentic dramas about African-American life on film, as well as one of the earliest examples of the politically aware black independent cinema that was taking shape in the 1970s.

Fast forward 36 years to the second movie of the night 'When the Dogs Talked' by the grassroots Indigenous based media group Karrabing Film Collective in Australia: As a group of Indigenous adults argue about whether to save their government housing or their sacred landscape, their children struggle to decide how the ancestral Dreaming makes sense in their contemporary lives. Listening to music on their ipods, walking through bush lands, and boating across seas, they follow their parents on a journey to reenact the travel of the Dog Dreaming. Along the way individuals run out of stamina and boats out of gas, and the children press their parents and each other about why these stories matter and how they make sense in the context of Western understandings of evolution, the soundscapes of hip hop, and the technologies of land development. 'When the Dogs Talked' mixes documentary and fiction to produce a thoughtful yet humorous drama about the everyday obstacles of structural and racialized poverty and the dissonance of cultural narratives and social forms.

The artist Julieta Aranda selected these two movies for our series. Central to her artistic practice are her involvement with circulation mechanisms and the idea of a “poetics of circulation”; her interest on science-fiction, space travel and zones of friction; the possibility of a politicized subjectivity through the perception and use of time, and the notion of power over the imaginary. Julieta Aranda’s work spans installation, video, and print media, with a special interest in the creation and manipulation of artistic exchange and the subversion of traditional notions of commerce through art making. As a co-director of the online platform e-flux together with Anton Vidokle, Julieta Aranda has developed the projects Time/Bank, Pawnshop, and e-flux video rental, all of which started in the e-flux storefront in New York, and have travelled to many venues worldwide. Aranda's work has been exhibited internationally, in venues such as the 56th Venice Biennale (2015), Guggenheim Museum (2015, 2009), Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel (2015), Espace Verney – Carron, Lyon (2015), Mana Contemporary, Jersey City (2015), 8th Berlin Biennale (2014), Berardo Museum, Lisbon (2014), Witte de With (2013 and 2010), Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Villa Croce, Genova (2013), MACRO Roma (2012) Documenta 13 (2012), N.B.K. (2012), Gwangju Biennial (2012), 54th Venice Biennial (2011), Istanbul Biennial (2011), Portikus, Frankfurt (2011), New Museum NY (2010), Kunstverein Arnsberg (2010), MOCA Miami (2009), Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2007), 2nd Moscow Biennial (2007) MUSAC, Spain (2010 and 2006), and VII Havana Biennial; amongst many others.

Session N°17: No Burqas Behind Bars

Juan-Pedro Fabra presents Nima Sarvestani & Maryam Ebrahimi

February 22, 2017 | 7pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

< how does the world breathe now? > is a 52 week film series at SAVVY Contemporary inviting artists, thinkers, activists, poets, scientists, curators and other practitioners to select movies of our nows* | MORE INFO HERE

'No Burqas Behind Bars' by Nima Sarvestani & Maryam Ebrahimi (2013, Sweden/ Afghanistan, 77 minutes, Afghan with English subtitles)

'No Burqas Behind Bars' is a slice of life documentary, shot inside one of the most restrictive places on the planet, Takhar Prison in Afghanistan. Its 40 women inmates, crammed into just four cells, live their lives entirely cut off from outside society. Their stories are deeply compelling and are a testament to the strength and dignity of human will in the face of obscene conditions.

Women appear often faceless in Afghanistan. Outside the home, burqas cover them from head to toe. The all-encompassing burqas completely mask their identity, rendering Afghan women invisible. And voiceless. These are women who have no voice in the public sphere.

Of the 40 women in Takhar Prison, some have murdered rapists and abusive husbands. Most, however, have been imprisoned for so-called “moral crimes”. One woman has been imprisoned for 12 years for visiting her mother without her husband’s permission. Another woman is there because she gave shelter to a homeless girl who was subsequently discovered to have run away from an arranged marriage to a man 40 years her senior. Their visually and intellectually compelling stories, told by the prisoners themselves, are the heart of the film.

Juan-Pedro Fabra Guemberena,has divided his life between Montevideo, where he was born in 1971 and partially raised, and Stockholm, where he arrived in the condition of refugee in the late 70's.This experience has become central to his artistic practice that maps out narratives and imagery of the extreme and sublime.

Fabra Guemberena's work has been exhibited extensively internationally, among others in the exhibition "Delays and Revolutions" at the 50th Venice Biennale, 2003; "My Private Heroes" Marta Hereford Museum, 2006; "The Moderna Exhibition", The Modern Museum of Art, Stockholm, 2006; "Favored Nations", 5th Momentum Biennal, Moss, 2009; 1st Biennale of The Americas, Denver, 2013; and the School of Kyev, Kyev, 2015. He is represented in collections such as The Modern Museum of Art, Stockholm; Sammlung Goetz, München; and The Wanås Foundation, Knislingen, Sweden.

Session N°18 with Boris Buden: Comrade lovers, fuck freely!

March 1, 2017 | 7pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

< how does the world breathe now? > is a 52 week film series at SAVVY Contemporary inviting artists, thinkers, activists, poets, scientists, curators and other practitioners to select movies of our nows* | MORE INFO HERE

Session N°18: Comrade lovers, fuck freely!

Boris Buden presents a surprise film from the former Yugoslavia inspired by the work of psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, which patches together documentary footage, propaganda film and narration.

With the film shot less than fifty years ago, we will revisit a world that seems light years away from today’s reality—a time in which people believed that a liberated sexuality, ‘free fucking’, can change the world for the better. The film circles around the life and work of Wilhelm Reich, a psychoanalyst, sexual therapist and communist who invented the notion of the ‘sexual revolution’. Following a method described by critic Jonathan Rosenbaum as “materials in collision”, it combines documentary, fiction, found footage, direct narration and patriotic music. Critics praised the film as “one of the most subversive masterpieces of the 1970s”, “the flagship of philosophical cinema”’, “a fabulous libertarian freak-out”, “a pioneer of postmodernism, and a mainstream avant-garde movie that merits its place in the pantheon”. It was hailed at international film festivals, winning the Luis Buñuel Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1971, where, according to The New York Times, it received a standing ovation lasting for thirteen minutes. At the same time the film was banned in the country where it was made, in former communist Yugoslavia, while in the “free capitalist world” it was massively censored of distributed only in porn cinemas.

Boris Buden is a writer and cultural critic based in Berlin. He received his PhD in cultural theory from Humboldt University in Berlin. In the 1990s he was editor of the magazine Arkzin in Zagreb. His essays and articles cover the topics of philosophy, politics, cultural and art criticism. He has participated in various conferences and art projects in Western and Eastern Europe, Asia and USA, including Documenta XI. Among his recent books is Zone des Übergangs: Vom Ende des Postkommunismus (Zone of Transition: On the End of Post-communism), Suhrkamp 2009. Buden currently teaches cultural theory at the Faculty of Art and Design, Bauhaus-University Weimar. He lives and works in Berlin.

Session N°19: Eyes of Stone

Chus Martínez presents Nilita Vachani

March 15, 2017 | 7pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

Eyes of Stone by Nilita Vachani (1990, 91 minutes, Mewari and Hindi with English subtitles)

Chus Martínez on her selection of 'Eyes of Stone' for 'how does the worls breathe now?':

In December last year I travelled to India to meet Tejal Shah, artist, filmmaker and a good friend. They had spent some time in the past years reflecting on Buddhism and on its non-dualistic views on reality. We were discussing how Tejal, in turning towards ancient Buddhist views of knowledge, was „forcing“ tradition to think about gender in an unexpected way. Looking at both their practice and personal life, I saw how the Buddhist concept that rejects the idea of an intrinsic characteristic of a fixed, absolute “self” (essence) which creates a definitive identity of an individual, was merging with the queer idea that there is no inherent, necessary characteristic that defines personhood and codes people as one or the other gender. It was Tejal who showed me Eyes of Stone by Nilita Vachani and it is for this reason that I wanted to do the same and screen this film as part of SAVVY Contemporary’s film series. I am unaware if my presentation can again channel their enthusiasm about what Nilita Vachani is trying to convey in a film that, in observing certain rituals in the temples, discovers the life of a woman possessed by a spirit.

The film tells the story of a nineteen-year-old woman, Shanta, who was married off at the age of 10 to Nanda Lal, a truck driver 10 years her senior. The film, though, does not „portray“ their story, but observes it. Vachani follows her subject through the village of Bhilwara, in Rajasthan, to discover how spirit possession is a language that embodies a mode of resistance in women. It helps them to define a space for their bodies, their voices, and, at the same time, avoid the naturalized ways in which tradition expresses power between genders. After reading Sudhir Kakar’s text on possession, Nilita Vachani decided to visit temples where rituals of healing were performed, and found out that most of the possessed were woman. She started observing, conducting field research on the subject, which lead her to disagree with those that saw possession as only a psychoanalytical desire for the father figure.

I think that the film, and its history of censorship after its release, allows us to engage in a conversation about the space of women, the languages we use to claim freedom, and also about life within misogynistic times.

Chus Martínez is the Head of the Art Institute in Basel, a writer and a curator.

Session N°20: Parallelstraße

Sebastian Lütgert presents Ferdinand Khittl

March 29, 2017 | 7pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

Die Parallelstraße (The Parallel Street) by Ferdinand Khittl (1962, 83min, German with English subtitles)

"Die Parallelstraße" is Ferdinand Khittl's only feature film, and it remains an absolute outlier in German cinema. Released in 1962 to an almost non-existing audience, and only recently rediscovered, it manages to transform a two-year journey around the world into an impossible, globe-spanning travelogue that treats the fragmentary form of its own material with constant suspicion and great irony. About a third of the film's runtime is devoted to a group of analysts who, in a thoroughly absurd setting and increasingly desperate mood, are trying to make sense of the images they are presented with. What makes their task even more hopeless is that Khittl's footage marks a radical departure from the tradition of European ethnographic cinema, as he persistently refuses, or sometimes intentionally fails, to transform the people and places he encounters into objects of reflection. Instead, Khittl, whose background in industrial film shines through in many of his shots, and whose camera does not discriminate between the mysteries of chemistry, religion, labor, architecture or color, delivers an equally distanced and delirious monologue in which the centuries of colonial history that his narration traverses -- the extraction of natural resources, the construction of transportation networks, the self-perpetuating crimes of war and the never-ending rituals of love and death -- retain all their horrors, as horrors.

Sebastian Lütgert is the co-founder of Pirate Cinema Berlin and the 0xDB movie database. He lives and works in Berlin as an artist, writer and programmer.

Session N°21: Sewol

Jin Heon-Jung presents Ok-Hee Jeong

April 12, 2017 | 7pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

Sewol by Ok-Hee Jeong (2015, 79 minutes, Korean with English subtitles).

A South Korean ferry named Sewol sank on the 16th of April 2014. 304 people died. 250 victims of them were teenagers who were on a class trip. The cruel tragedy: The experts say they could have been saved.

The relatives of the victims fight for a thorough, transparent and independent investigation, which shall clarify the causes of the ferry tragedy, the failed rescue mission of the coast guard and the failed crisis management of Park Geun-Hye’s government. It is such a desperate and tragic fight against the state, in which they even haven’t time and space to mourn.

The documentary film tells about the story of these relatives: About their grief, about their unbending and moving fight for the truth against the corrupted government of Park Geun-Hye, but also about their admirable effort for the improvement in the South Korean society.

The documentary film shows thereby the status quo of the state South Korea, which is a modern western style country, but with a defective democracy. It tells about the South Korean society which is still fighting against the heritage of the decade-long dictatorship and is still looking for the identity of the role of the state.

Ok-Hee Jeong is a Berlin-based German journalist. Her works focus on South Korea. Her articles have been published in important German newspapers like ZEIT Online, taz, FAZ and WOZ (Switzerland), among others. SEWOL is her debut film. She is currently working on her second documentary film “Werner, Ger and Angelus” (working title), about same-sex couples in old age.

Dr. Jin Heon-Jung is an anthropologist working as a senior researcher and lecturer at the Institute of Korean Studies of Free University Berlin, and the Max Planck Institute’s Seoul Lab coordinator. He received his PhD in anthropology from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA. His recent publications include a monograph, Migration and Religion in East Asia: North Korean Migrants’ Evangelical Christianity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), and Building Noah’s Ark for Migrants, Refugees, and Religious Communities (co-edited with Dr. Horstmann, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).


Session N°22: Before the Rain with Nikola Madzirov

April 19, 2017 | 7pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

Before the Rain by Milcho Manchevski (1994, 113 minutes, Macedonian with English subtitles

< how does the world breathe now? > is a 52 week film series at SAVVY Contemporary inviting artists, thinkers, activists, poets, scientists, curators and other practitioners to select movies of our nows* | MORE INFO HERE

Before the Rain is a 1994 Macedonian film set against the background of political turbulence in Macedonia and contemporary London. Within it, Milcho Manchevski weaves together three love stories to create a powerful portrait of modern Europe. In 1994, it was awarded a Golden Lion at the 51st Venice Film Festival.

When a mysterious incident in the fabled Macedonian mountains blows out of proportion, it threatens to start a civil war, and brings together a silent young monk, a London picture editor, and a disillusioned war photographer in this tragic tale of star-crossed lovers. Told in three parts, and linked by characters and events, Before the Rain explores the uncompromising nature of war as it ravages the lives of the unsuspecting, and forces the innocent to take sides.

The film Before the Rain is more than an expected visual statement on the political landscapes in a Balkan country. It is a warning of a permanent war inside our inherited memories of hate. Paradoxically, the rain here signifies the war while the raindrops clean the blood from the face of the killed ones. Despite the loud warning of this film in 1994, seven years later the civil war in the Republic of Macedonia became reality. As all good art in the world, this film tries to excavate the beauty even among the foundations of the human violence. The poetic language of the film together with the visual and semiotic architecture of its power were some of the main reasons why I decide to share it with others. I will try to talk with the poetry of words and silence to the poetry of the picture and darkness. As the director Milcho Manchevski said: "This story is about how a war somewhere in the world might get started and how that can affect your life regardless of where you are... Before the Rain is not about sides in a war, it's about right and wrong, and love and understanding. And it's about how humans behave. But go on."

Many consider Milcho Manchevski to be one of the most original and innovative artists of our time for his unique blend of experimentation, poetry, emotion and a demand for the active participation of the viewer in the construction of meaning. His acclaimed Before the Rain (1994) is considered one of the greatest debut feature films in the history of cinema and one of the most important films of the decade. The New York Times included it on its “Best 1,000 Films Ever Made“ list. Manchevski’s work––which also includes award-winning films Dust (2001), Shadows (2007), Mothers (2010), as well as award-winning short forms Thursday (2013), Macedonia Timeless (2009), Tennessee (1991) and 1.73 (1984)––stands out in world cinema for its unique way of playing with space, time and emotion.

Nikola Madzirov is one of the most powerful voices in contemporary European poetry. Born in a family of Balkan War refugees in Strumica in 1973, he grew up in the Soviet era in the former Republic of Yugoslavia ruled by Marshall Tito. When he was 18, the collapse of Yugoslavia prompted a shift in his sense of identity – as a writer reinventing himself in a country which felt new but was still nourished by deeply rooted historical traditions. The example and work of the great East European poets of the postwar period – Vasko Popa, Czes?aw Mi?osz, Zbigniew Herbert – were liberating influences on his writing and thinking. The German weekly magazine Der Spiegel compared the quality of his poetry to Tomas Tranströmer's. There is a clear line from their generation, and that of more recent figures like Adam Zagajewski from Poland, to Nikola Madzirov, but Madzirov's voice is a new 21st century voice in European poetry and he is one of the most outstanding figures of the post-Soviet generation.


Session N°23: SPOTS

SPOTS presents video works for the TRIBUNAL Unraveling the NSU Complex and beyond

April 26, 2017 | 7pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

SPOTS presents short video works in conjunction with the Unraveling the NSU Complex Tribunal (Various artists and languages. Subtitled in English. Some videos also available with German and Turkish subtitles).

< how does the world breathe now? > is a 52 week film series at SAVVY Contemporary inviting artists, thinkers, activists, poets, scientists, curators and other practitioners to select movies of our nows* | MORE INFO HERE

Up to twenty short artistic video clips – SPOTS – investigate various facets of the NSU Complex. In “And then… what happened afterwards?” inspector Gadget zooms into menacing cracks in the wall using a magnifying glass. The citizen survey “What would Nazis never do?” sheds light on vehicles of Neonazis and in “What does Andreas T. know?” scratching chalk outlines outrageous improbabilities. A young woman describes in “Because I live here.” her reaction to the arson attack in Mölln in the early 90ies and in “Where have you been on June 9, 2004?” a young man conjures up his memories of the nail bomb attack in Cologne. “Is this a shop or a memorial site?” examines the echoes of crime scenes like a stethoscope.

SPOTS mobilize for the Tribunal ‚Unraveling the NSU Complex’ – and beyond. The tribunal that will take place in Cologne-Mülheim from May 17th to 21st 2017 is dedicated to the many open questions surrounding the NSU Complex, aiming at indicting institutional and everyday racism in Germany. Its prime focus is the situated knowledge gained from immigrant people targeted by Nazi terror. This knowledge must become visible and audible clearly and loudly.

The term ‘NSU Complex’ seeks to describe the interdependence of Nazi terror, racism, and state involvement. Between 1999 and 2007 nine immigrants, all of them small businessmen, and one police officer were murdered in Germany. In three bomb attacks numerous people were seriously wounded. These cases remained unsolved until the so-called National Socialist Underground (NSU) exposed itself in 2011 and admitted the crimes. To this day the series of murders and attacks has not been completely clarified. There are still open questions related to, for instance, the right-wing radical environment around the NSU, as well as to the role of the German domestic secret service (the ‘Verfassungsschutz’), which had numerous informants in the perpetrators’ world. What has become clear, however, is how deeply racism is entrenched in German society. We see this very strongly in the willful ignorance of the police and security organs. For many years they have consistently investigated in wrong directions. Up to this day, they allegedly fail to recognize racism as a central motivation for the crimes.

SPOTS address the blind spots in the revision of the NSU Complex. They throw spotlights on the racist circumstances that enable right-wing networks and their crimes in the first place.
Like Sebuah Dunia Yang Marah’s poem “An Angry World”, one of the inspirations for the SAVVY Contempororaty project “How does the world breathe now?”, SPOTS lament and accuse, channel bitterness, anger and grief. They reverse visibilities, represent gestures of resistance and formulate questions. SPOTS regard aesthetics as political action. These aesthetics counter the dominant visual politics and their fixation on the perpetrators. SPOTS ask “How does the world breathe now?”. And they won’t take “I can’t breathe” for an answer but as a point of departure: Towards a wider debate in society.