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.


Session N°24: Yesilçam

Zeynep Tuna & Nino Klingler present Savulun Battal Gazi Geliyor

May 3, 2017 | 7pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

Savulun Battal Gazi Geliyor by Natuk Baytan (1973), 99 min, Turkish (simultaneous translation will be provided if necessary)

< 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

Little known outside of Turkey, during the period from (roughly) the mid-1960s until the late 1970s, the domestic movie industry of the country, generally called “Yesilçam” experienced a colorful boom. With yearly production numbers routinely surpassing 150 films, the low-budget mainstream movies generally followed standard genre-templates of love, gangster and fantasy stories which were often directly stolen from Hollywood, French, Italian and Chinese productions.

One of the defining faces of the era was the omnipresent Cüneyt Arkin, who according to website SinemaTürk starred in over 300 films. After starting his career in the early 1960s as a romantic, blue eyed Jön (from French: Jeune) he is mostly remembered today as a Turkish action star; proficient in Martial Arts, Horse-Riding, gun-slinging and everything in between.

One of Arkin’s genre mainstays was the fantastic-historic swashbuckler set in (pre-)Ottoman times. In a number of aesthetically interchangeable films, he has impersonated some of the most iconic pop-cultural figures of Turkish history, including Battal Gazi, Malkoçoglu or Kara Murat.

Savulun Battal Gazi Geliyor is both a paradigmatic example of those films and a feverish, almost otherworldly culmination of their basic aesthetic and narrative formulas. Arkin, acting both as father and son, is out for revenge after his sister has been raped and his village pillaged by bloodthirsty Christians.

Watching this film today not only allows us to dip into the outré-cinema of the Yesilçam era, but also offers us the possibility to think about the reawakened Ottoman-Nostalgia and Muslim machismo in contemporary Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Additionally, the weirdly color-corrected Youtube version to be shown is a testimony to the precarious state of Turkish cinema heritage. As with most of the Yesilçam movies there are no subtitles available - so the non-Turkish speaking audience can expect an old-fashioned cinephile experience, where the images tell their story without the need for words. But fear not: The basic fairytale plot and schematic characters make it easy to understand everything essential. And, if required, we will offer translation and commentary on the go.

Zeynep Tuna is an experimental filmmaker from Eskisehir, Turkey. Nino Klingler writes about cinema. They are currently scholars at the Graduate School of the University of Arts Berlin where they are in the process of realizing the comedic web series on local television production in Turkey: Kanal 82.

Session N°25: Voice of Things

Haris Epaminonda & Daniel Gustav Cramer present a selection of films

May 17, 2017 | 7pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

Haris Epaminonda and Daniel Gustav Cramer will present three films which deal with the troubled and turbulent Mediterranean region, touching upon notions such as that of historical traumas, memory, loss, erasure and resistance. More information below.

'Voice of things' is a film night showcasing three films. The films are presented in chronological order. Between each of the films and between the last film and today is a gap of around 20 years. The three films respectively, deal with the troubled and turbulent Mediterranean region, touching upon notions such as that of historical traumas, memory, loss, erasure and resistance, thus exploring the fate of history and the ravages of time: even the greatest rulers and the empires they forge are impermanent and bound to fall, their legacies fated to decay and oblivion. Each film with its cinematic poetry and conviction meditates on the beauty and tragedy of life, done so without the use of a plot but through the spoken word (in the form of an elusive voice-over narration), sound and image. There is a certain pulse and pace, a certain kind of beauty and melancholy expressed and felt throughout, and which renders the films into abstract elegiac and moving cinematic compositions. We feel that the three filmmakers, each in their own distinct way, are driven by a similar urgency; to reflect upon the ruins of the past surrounding us and those that are still to be unearthed, while looking at the same time at the constant creation of new and modern ruins, amongst the continuously entropic and disconcerting landscape of geopolitical shifts and global economic affairs.

Méditerranée, 1963

In 1960, French filmmaker Jean-Daniel Pollet travelled for three and a half months with a friend, German filmmaker Volker Schlöndorff, accross 15 countries of the Mediterranean including Egypt, Greece, Italy and Spain. During that time, he filmed a number of subjects that recur throughout the film: the sea, ruins, a Sicilian garden, the pyramids, a bullfight arena, a woman lying motionless on a hospital bed, an old fisherman. Upon their return to Paris, Pollet asked the critic and writer Phillipe Sollers for the text that would be juxtaposed with the images. The sound was produced by Antoine Duhamel. The film, in itself, appears as a mysterious cinematic ritual of repeated images and sound, reminding us of the tragic cause of life, life as a theater and a mysterious social ritual (alluding to the tradition of the Greek tragedy, the Egyptian funerary ritual, a wedding ceremony).The resulting film had a great impact on the avant garde French cinema scene and film critics, yet it was rarely shown outside France. At the time, it provoked many critical writings in the light of a new political era and influenced film directors such as Jean-Luc Godard, who recognized the film's groundbreaking approach.

Cesarée, 1979

Almost 20 years later, French novelist and filmmaker Marguerite Duras filmed inside the Jardin des Tuileries in France while reflecting on two separate moments in history: the fall of Cesarea (of which only the name remains), a city which was located in the Judaea Province of the Roman Empire, before it was overthrown and consequently became the capital of the Byzantine Palaestina Prima province during the classic period, and the unfulfilled and tragic end of the love of Berenice, queen of the Jews, to Titus, around 81 AD. The film overlays three elements: images of statues (by Maillol) in a Parisian park, a text recited by Duras and a musical composition. A second version of the film exists in which the imagery has been replaced, but the words and music remained unchanged.

Agelastos Petra (Mourning Rock), 2000

Another 20 years later, in 1999, the Greek filmmaker Filippos Koutsaftis finished the editing of an investigative and lyrical documentary. The director visited and revisited time and again the town of Eleusis in Greece, today a suburb situated northwest of Athens. It is located in the Thracian Plain, at the northernmost end of the Saronic Gulf. It is the birthplace of Aeschylus (525 BC), the father of tragedy. It is also the ancient town known as Eleusis, which hosted the Eleusinian Mysteries, the secret ceremonies that initiated the ancient Greek civilisation into the miracles of life, death, and the afterlife. Filippos Koutsaftis engages with the town and its citizens, amongst them a homeless old man, who is tirelessly, day and night, trying to save as many ancient artefacts as possible from oblivion and the destruction due to the ongoing urban development and the expansion of a gigantic oil refinery built on ancient ruins. The film portrays the changes that affect the town and its people over the course of 10 years. The inhabitants, despite their outcry and protest, watch the ongoing destruction while fighting to survive and adapt to the changes. Koutsaftis contemplates the implications those changes bring, the people’s resistance, the ignorance and ultimately the loss of memory that occurs over time.

Haris Epaminonda is an artist born in Nicosia, Cyprus in 1980. Her work comprises mainly of film and installation. Haris has had solo shows at the Aspen Art Museum, Colorado (2017); Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Seville (2016); Le Plateau, Frac-ile-de-France, Paris (2015); Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice (2014); Point Centre for Contemporary Art, Nicosia; Modern Art Oxford, UK; Kunsthaus Zurich (all 2013); Kunsthalle Lissabon, Lisbon (2012); Museum of Modern Art, New York; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (both 2011); Tate Modern, London (2010); Malmö Konsthall, Malmö (2009). She took part in dOCUMENTA(13), Kassel in 2012 and the 5th Berlin Biennale in 2008. In 2007, Epaminonda co-represented Cyprus at the 52nd Venice Biennale. She is working on an ongoing project ‘The Infinite Library’ together with Daniel Gustav Cramer since 2007.

Daniel Gustav Cramer is an artist, born in Düsseldorf, Germany, in 1975. His practice, amongst other works, involves books and publications. Daniel has had solo exhibitions at the CAC Vilnius (2016); Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Seville (2016); Kunstverein Nürnberg (2015); Kunstsaele Berlin (2015); SALTS, Biersfelden (2014); Kunsthalle Mulhouse (2013); Kunsthaus Glarus, Switzerland (2012); dOCUMENTA(13), Kassel, 2012; Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe 2012; Kunsthalle Lissabon, Portugal, 2012 as well as Galeria Vera Cortes, Lisbon (2017), BolteLang Galerie, Zurich (2015) and Sies and Höke Galerie, Düsseldorf (2014).He is preparing projects for Verksmiðjan, Hjalteyri, Iceland, and Entree, Bergen, Sweden to be presented later this year.

Session N°26: Rocío

Libia Castro and Ólafur Ólafsson present Fernando Ruiz Vergara

May 31, 2017 | 7pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

Libia Castro and Ólafur Ólafsson present the film Rocío (1980) from director Fernando Ruiz Vergara and producer and script writer Ana Vila. The documentary film examines the annual pilgrimage to the Virgin of Rocío in Huelva (Andalusia) as well as the repression of the region during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, revealing the destructive link between the fascist government and the Spanish Catholic Church. More information below.

'Rocío is the sole contribution from peripheral Andalusia to the feature documentary film movement that emerged in the Spanish cinema of the Transition to feed a critical discourse and the recovery of the memory lost during the Franco regime. It was censored in 1984, six years after the transition to democracy, and the distribution and screening in Spain of the uncensored copy is still illegal.

In focusing on the history of the pilgrimage, its rituals and social context, Vergara uncovered and recorded oral testimony of the repressions suffered in Almonte (Huelva) in the aftermath of Francisco Franco’s military coup in 1936. The film shows the journey, transformation, and subsequent mutilation that the sculptures of the Virgin of Rocio along the course of the pilgrimage, to reveal a dark picture of the abuse of power in the collusion of fascist forces and the Spanish Catholic Church.

Since the 2008 financial crash, Southern Europe has entered a new era of social, political, economic and cultural crisis. Now, after 42 years of monarchic democracy and countless struggles to bring those guilty of crimes against humanity to justice, a new left is rising: from the 15M movement and the Mareas, to PODEMOS and many more political and civic organisations and coalitions in various city councils and provinces. In these times of political turmoil, potential emancipation, and countless uncovered corruption cases, the unbroken chain of Spanish fascism is once again being confronted, challenging the inherent repression imposed by the political compromises made during the first transition from dictatorship to monarchic democracy, and the consequent erasure of historic collective memory. Rocío is, in its historical context and throughout the years, a striking testimony of how people in Spain keep traumatically struggling with “the pact of silence”.

Libia Castro, (ES) & Ólafur Ólafsson, (IS) have worked together since 1997 within a variety of media. They focus on everyday life, socio-economic, political and cultural questions. Their work is often realized with local residents, activists, decision makers, other artists and professionals. Among their projects are Your Country Doesn’t Exist (2003-ongoing campaign), ThE riGHt tO RighT/WrOnG (2012-ongoing) and the musical documentary Lobbyists (2009). They are working on their new project El (Im)pacto del Olvido and on a new work for the first Kosovo Biennial (2017). Past projects include representing Iceland in the 54th Venice Biennial (2011) and participating in Manifesta 7 (2008).

Session N°27: Silvered Water & Santiago

Diana el Jeroudi presents two movies

June 7, 2017 | 7.30 PM


Archive Kabinett | Müllerstraße 133 | 13349 Berlin

Free entrance - donations welcome

Diana el Jeroudi presents two experiences of documentary as stretching and blending into reality: Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait by O. Mohammed and W.S. Bedirxan and Santiago by João Moreira Salles. More information below.


“In Syria, everyday, YouTubers film then die; others kill then film. In Paris, driven by my inexhaustible love for Syria, I find that I can only film the sky and edit the footage posted on YouTube. From within the tension between my estrangement in France and the revolution, an encounter happened. A young Kurdish from Homs began to chat with me, asking: ‘If your camera were here, in Homs, what would you be filming?.” - Ossama Mohamad

Silvered Water is the story of this encounter.

Directed by O. Mohammed and W.S. Bedirxan, Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait premiered at Séance Spéciale Cannes Film Festival 2014 and later awarded the Grierson Award at BFI, before it was later released in cinemas in France and listed 3rd among the Top-10 films 2014 according to a survey of French press.


“Thirteen years ago, when I shot these images, I thought the film would begin like this. I immediately knew that this was a film not simply about Santiago--the family’s butler––but about failure, about seeing and about documentary filmmaking.”

In 1992, the filmmaker, João Moreira Salles, shot nine hours of footage, but aborted the project on the cutting room table. When Salles returns to the footage 13 years later, he does not return to finish the film he never completed, but to make a different film—a film that looks at his own blindness, how his desire to make a film obstructed his ability to see.

Directed by João Moreira Salles
Awarded the Grand Prize at Vision Du Reel in 2007.


Born in Damascus 1977, Diana el Jeroudi is a Syrian film director and producer who lives in Berlin since 2013.

Diana made several documentaries (THE POT premiered in Yamagata 2005, DOLLS: A WOMAN FROM DAMASCUS premiered in IDFA 2007 and co-directed MORNING FEARS, NIGHT CHANTS premiered in IDFA 2012). Her films were well received by critics, screened internationally in festivals in over 60 countries and by a number of international broadcasters and shown in art events and venues. As a producer, she realised several internationally acclaimed documentaries, among which is the Grierson Awarded film SILVERED WATER, SYRIA SELF-PORTRAIT which premiered in the Séance Spéciale at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and THE MULBERRY HOUSE by Oscar-nominated director Sara Ishaq which premiered in IDFA 2013.

Shortly after moving to Berlin, Diana co-founded the film production company NO NATION FILMS where she continues making author-driven documentary films from Syria and beyond. In addition, she co-founded a non-profit association to support documentary filmmaking in the Arab world DOX BOX e.V. as heir to the pioneering DOX BOX festival she co-founded originally in Syria.

Diana's overall work and activism has earned her international recognition including the European Documentary Network Award and the Catherine Kartlidge Award. She has been repeatedly seated as a juror and panelist at film festivals and funds, among which most distinctively as a juror at the Cannes Film Festival's first documentary film competition "L'OEil d'or". Diana is a BA graduate of Arts & Humanity in Damascus, and has been trained as a producer at INA/Sorbonne program AFIC, and is a member of the Deutsche Filmakademie.

Session N°28: Compliance presented by Winta Yohannes

June 14, 2017 | 7.30 PM


Archive Kabinett | Müllerstraße 133 | 13349 Berlin

Free entrance - donations welcome

Compliance: 2012, USA (90 min, English)

For our 28th screening, Winta Yohannes chose to show Compliance by Craig Zobel, exploring the relationship between obedience, authority and responsibility.

Based on true events, writer/director Craig Zobel's troubling psychological indie thriller examines the complexity of obedience and authority through the experiences of Sandra, a stressed-out fast-food restaurant manager and Becky, a teenage employee, who falls victim to a chain of dreadful abuse by proxy.

When a police officer tells you to do something, you do it. Right?

Already under pressure from her superior, Sandra is doing her best to get through another tough Friday shift when a man claiming to be police officer Daniels, calls. According to the man on the phone, Becky has stolen money from a customer. When Becky denies any wrongdoing, the man on the phone insists that Sandra detain the girl in the backroom of the restaurant and search her, setting in motion a shocking sequence of events to follow.

As we watch, we ask ourselves two questions: “Why don’t they just say no?” and the more troubling, "What would I do?"

Delving into the psychology of this real-life story, Zobel’s urgent moral inquiry proves that sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction. Compliance recounts the real prank call scam that took place at a Mount Washington, Kentucky McDonald's restaurant, in 2004. Another 70 similar cases took place in the US between 1992 and 2004. The uncomfortable truth, and maybe the reason why COMPLIANCE evokes so much anger: it shows us that no special circumstances are needed. Sometimes, a simple phone call is enough.

This makes the events unfolding onscreen all the more difficult to watch - but impossible to turn away from. The authority hoax is a demonstration of the weakness and suggestibility of human nature, even more devastating than in the well-known Stanford Prison and Milgram experiments because, in this case real lives were destroyed.

Why isn’t it easy to ”just say no...”

Winta Yohannes is an award-winning filmmaker and photographer whose short films have been screened globally at renowned festivals including the Berlinale, Edinburgh and the BFM International Film Festival in London.

In 2009 she earned an Honorable Mention at the “Prix de la Photographie Paris” for her series “Nation of Islam”. She also directed music videos that have appeared on MTV for several well-known artists like Patrice and Brothers Keepers. In addition to working on her own photography projects, Yohannes also works as a freelance photographer, shooting documentary narratives, portraits and editorials for magazines.

Prominently featured alongside Anthony Minghella, Nick Park and Lynne Ramsay in the book “In Short: A Guide to Short Film-making in the Digital Age” by the British Film Institute, Yohannes is currently developing a feature length screenplay.

Born in Eritrea and raised in Germany, from the age of three, she is a graduate of the London Film School. She currently lives and works in Berlin.

Session N°29: Fifty Minutes presented by Sînziana Paltineanu

June 28, 2017 | 7.30 PM


Archive Kabinett | Müllerstraße 133 | 13349 Berlin

Free entrance - donations welcome

Fifty Minutes by Moyra Davey (2006)

For our 29th screening, Sînziana Paltineanu presents an encounter with a film by Moyra Davey. A work of autofiction, 50 Minutes approaches the world first and foremost through the personal archive:

"In 50 minutes we see and almost feel cyclical collections of semi-classified (or clustered) photographs and negatives, of dusty books, magazines, newspapers, notes, postcards, correspondence as intersections of personal timelines, of physical traces of selves, of memory sheets left blank etc. At times, the objects open up as potential escapes, offering a fleeting relief – “the ritual is about creating a lacuna, a pocket of time into which I will disappear.” (26:48-55) But objects are never hold onto. They're seemingly kept at a nostalgic distance through steady pacing in front of the camera, recitations of diary-like entries or readings of scripts with lost and found objects, conversations with authors and fragments. Surrounded by flat surfaces, folds, objects – a fictionalized self, its shadows, and companions are meandering through this collection in what appears to be an intellectual and experiential game of “lost and found” performed indoors, almost exclusively in the quotidian of the private sphere with bright windows. NYC after 9/11 lurks outside.

After the screening I would like to place Moyra Davey's film in conversation with a poetic experiment that blends in documents and images mostly drawn from the Mundaneum Archives – the current repository of an early 20th century universalist project of collecting all world's knowledge as envisaged and pursued by Paul Otlet and Henry Lafontaine. I will read from “An experimental transcript” a fictional text I wrote in autumn 2015 for Mondothèque. A project initiated by Femke Snelting and other artists associated with Constant, a Brussels-based association for art and media, Mondothèque grew first as a semantic media wiki and then it turned into Mondothèque::A radiated book. This collective project zooms in and around the Mundaneum and the digitization project undertaken by Google in Otlet's archives. “An experimental transcript” engages with archiving as obsession and triggers questions about entering an archive that is not one's own, about inhabiting one's own archive, and about Google's archive fever."

Sînziana Paltineanu is a writer, historian, and librarian based in Berlin. Sînziana graduated from the Babe?-Bolyai University, in Cluj (Romania), with a BA in Philology. In 2013, she earned a PhD in the Comparative History of Central, Southeastern and Eastern Europe, from the Central European University in Budapest (Hungary). In 2014, she was awarded a fellowship for literature at Akademie Schloss Solitude, in Stuttgart (Germany), where she finished writing her first novel, Elephant Chronicles, published with Fiktion, in 2015. Among recent publications: “The Woman Without a Mouth” (in Daisy Atterbury, Tarek El-Ariss, and Mirene Arsanios, eds., Makhzin, Issue 2: Feminisms, Beirut: 98weeks, September 2015) and “An experimental transcript” (Femke Snelting et al, eds., Mondothèque::A radiated Book, Brussels: Constant, 2016).

Session N°30: Love in India etc presented by Abhishek Nilamber

July 5, 2017 | 7.30 PM


Archive Kabinett | Müllerstraße 133 | 13349 Berlin

Free entrance - donations welcome

Televisnu by Prithi Gowda (2010, 15 minutes, English)

Love in India by Q (2009, 91 minutes, Tamil, Bengali, English, Hindi, with English subtitles)

For our 30th screening, Abhishek Nilamber brings us “Televisnu” by Prithi Gowda and "Love in India" by Q, two distinct independent films examining tensions and contradictions between love, sex, and tradition in India.

Televisnu is an inventive fantasy in which Mira tries to fix her computer but ends up fixing her life. Over the course of her travels through the air ducts of the call center where she works, the fields of her village, and psychedelic dreamscapes, Mira finds herself confronted by different expectations of friends, family, and her own conscience.

Love in India is a passionate look at the way passion is perceived in India. It's a personal film, designed with fragments of the romance between the filmmaker and his girlfriend. But soon, the film spills into the chaos that is India. Old or new? Love or sex? Love in India is a volatile story of confusion, dichotomy and revelation. A story of repressed moral values in a country with a timeless tradition of spiritual sexuality. The film is a search for the roots of romance and the eternal orgasm.

These films observe how a huge fraction of the world (over 1 billion people) deals with love and marriage. Most Indian marriages that happened in the last generations, or even now, are functional. They tend to serve a societal role rather than an emotional communion. In the grand scheme of Indian society, every family, every couple, every person is assigned a patch of the social fabric. Often times, they are made a part of this tapestry without them really being prepared or in complete agreement with it.

Furthermore, most education around love comes from Bollywood and most education about sex comes from porn, creating a toxic combination of stalker-ish romance, violence, and lust that is a major cause of the problem of sexual violence in India.

These films from young independent filmmakers living and working in the United States and India, respectively, challenge mainstream beliefs and depictions of sex and love, while also looking honestly at the effects that these traditions have on Indians’ sexual identities and proclivities.

Abhishek Nilamber is a project coordinator, concept developer and curator working with SAVVY Contemporary. Deriving from his experience as an alternative film distributor in India and as a screenwriter for contemporary films in India, he is driven to conceptualise and develop contemporary infrastructures and ecosystems for new media. His most recent curatorial endeavour was as the co-curator of Amos Gitai's exhition The Law Of The Pursuer at SAVVY Contemporary during Berlinale Forum Expanded 2017. Projects he is currently developing include ROACHEES, SAVVY POP, SAVVY Listening Sessions and United Screens.

Session N°31: Trace Evidence presented by Lawrence Abu Hamdan

July 12, 2017 | 7.30 PM

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin

Free entrance - donations welcome

Trace Evidence by Susan Schuppli (2016, 53 minutes, English)

For our 31st screening, Lawrence Abu Hamdan brings us Trace Evidence from Susan Schuppli. A video trilogy exploring the appearance of nuclear evidence, Trace Evidence focuses on three events: the unearthing of ancient nuclear reactors at the uranium mine site in Oklo, Gabon in 1972; the discovery of Chernobyl’s airborne contaminates at the Forsmark power plant in Sweden in April 1986; and the 7,600 kilometre five year journey of Caesium-137 from Fukushima-Daiichi through the waters of the Pacific Ocean to the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Through the screening of Trace Evidence and the subsequent discussion, this event seeks to explore the ways in which materials carry “trace evidence” of their encounters with external, often violent events. It also asks how we might in turn, go about extracting the testimonial from the trace?

Within environmental justice work, establishing the incontrovertible relationship between cause and effect has proven a difficult legal challenge. The spatial dispersal of contaminants and temporal latency of their material and biological effects, which may take years, even decades to emerge, has allowed global climate-change actors and states to operate with virtual impunity. But the nuclear isn’t like other complex, non-linear events. Despite its radical and covert nature, the unique signature and behaviour of radioactive isotopes allows its lethal traces to be tracked directly back to their source, re-connecting the evidential links that planetary phenomena has seemingly torn apart.

This film by Susan Schuppli, proposes a break with historiography by historicising a gap in history; the 19 days between the material effects of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and its international mediation. This 19 day gap is a subject matter that allows Schuppli’s film to work at the threshold of visibility; forcing its audience to expand the limits of seeing and for many of us for the first time see the world through the lens of a gamma camera. This 19 day gap is a methodology through which we can clearly see that the divide between material facts and their immaterial mediation is the site of a political struggle. In inhabiting this divide this film becomes a methodological example for the much needed creation of pathway between the cognitive and physical visions of reality.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan is an artist, "private ear" and fellow at the Vera list centre for Art and Politics at the New School, New York. His projects have taken the form of audiovisual installations, performances, graphic works, photography, Islamic sermons, cassette tape compositions, potato chip packets, essays, and lectures. Abu Hamdan’s interest with sound and its intersection with politics originate from his background in DIY music. He has made audio analyses for legal investigations at the UK asylum Tribunal and advocacy for organizations such as Amnesty International - and Defence for Children International. The artist’s forensic audio investigations are conducted as part of his research for Forensic Architecture at Goldsmiths College London where he is also a PhD candidate. Abu Hamdan's Rubber Coated Steel 2016 won the short film award at the Rotterdam International Film festival 2017 and his exhibition Earshot at Portikus Frankfurt (2016) was the recipient of the 2016 Nam June Paik Award. Other solo exhibitions include taqiyya at Kunsthalle St Gallen (2015), Tape Echo (2013) at Beirut in Cairo and Van AbbeMuseum, Eindhoven, The Freedom Of Speech Itself (2012) at Showroom, London, The Whole Truth (2012) at Casco, Utrecht. Abu Hamdan’s writing can be found in Forensis Sternberg press, Manifesta Journal and Cabinet Magazine. His works are part of collections at MoMA New York, Van AbbeMuseum Eindhoven, Centre Pompidou Paris and the Arts Council, England.

Session N°32: "And your eyes, oh Lord" with Mohammad Salemy

July 26, 2017 | 7 PM

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin

Free entrance - donations welcome

The House is Black by Forough Farrokhzad (1962, 26 minutes, Farsi with English subtitles)

The Cow by Dariush Mehrjui (1969, 100 minutes, Farsi with English subtitles)

For our 32nd screening Mohammad Salemy brings us two masterpieces of Iranian cinema: Forough Farrokhzad’s The House is Black and Dariush Mehrjui’s The Cow.

Khaneh Siah Ast (The House is Black) is a documentary directed by Forough Farrokhzad (1935-1967) a critical and still widely read feminist poet and filmmaker from Iran. The short film depicts the lives and bodies of people tragically deformed by leprosy and is considered to be a precursor to the Iranian New Wave.

Gaav (The Cow) is a film by Dariush Mehrjui (b. 1939) about Hassan, a middle-aged villager, and his relationship with his cow. It is widely regarded as the first film of the Iranian New Wave. What begins as a quiet meditation on the man’s pride in his cow, his companion and his most valuable possession, unfolds into a broad depiction of Hassan’s changing position within the social structure of the village.

Even though these films are integral parts of the history of Iranian cinema, they are difficult to find and therefore not widely screened in Germany. Farrokhzad’s and Mehrjui’s films are two different stories about the political aesthetics of transformation in which humanity stands at the intersection of hideousness, beauty, madness, and bestiality. These films both emphasize how recognizing the often invisible inhumanity within the human is the first step in dealing with the question of otherness: as it pertains to different ethnicities, the mentally ill, and the sick. We present The House is Black and The Cow to you within the context of the series followed by a discussion afterwards with Salemy who will draw on his research on both films regarding their individual themes and their philosophical and political implications.

Mohammad Salemy is an independent New York-based artist, critic, and curator who holds an MA in critical curatorial studies from the University of British Columbia. He has shown his works in Ashkal Alwan’s Home Works 7 (Beirut) and Witte de With (Rotterdam). His writings have been published in e-flux, Flash Art, Third Rail, and Brooklyn Rail, and he has curated exhibitions at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Access Gallery, and Satellite Gallery in Vancouver as well as Transit Display in Prague. In 2014, he organized the Incredible Machines conference. Salemy’s curatorial experiment “For Machine Use Only” was included in the 11th edition of Gwangju Biennale (2016). He currently co-organizes the education programs at The New Centre for Research & Practice.

Session N°33: 40qm Deutschland presented by Nasan Tur

August 30, 2017 | 7 PM

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin

Free entrance - donations welcome

40qm Deutschland by Tevfik Baser (1986, 80 minutes, German and Turkish with English subtitles)

For our 33rd screening Nasan Tur brings us 40qm Deutschland, the story of Turna, the wife of a Turkish guest worker in Germany, restricted to their small apartment as she tries to adjust to life in a new country.

Established as a guest worker in Germany, Dursun brings his young wife Turna from Anatolia. Scared that she’ll get lost in the big city where she doesn’t speak the language or know the customs, Dursun demands that she stay home all day, confining Turna’s experience of her new country to the 40 square meters of their tiny apartment. Turna tries to adjust to her new life, her only communication with the outside world being shared gazes with a young girl who lives across the street. In an interview before the premiere of the film in 1986 Baser explained: “I want to try to show and clarify some of the thoughts and feelings of people who belong to a foreign culture, about which I criticize some parts but which I also understand because of its tradition. I want the Germans to get to know us, because the unknown is scary and produces hate….Because of that I show the circumstances of the foreign workers in Germany based on this example without even leaving the apartment.”

Tur first encountered this film by chance on television when he was around 10. However, it made an impression that has remained with him. A low-budget film produced and written by the director, and filmed only within the protagonists’ 40-square meter apartment, it is hard to find, and Tur hasn’t watched it since. For this reason he invites us to revisit the film with him to see what feelings it may provoke and to examine its continued relevance.

Nasan Tur was born in Germany in 1974, and graduated from the Academy of Arts and Design Offenbach, Germany (2003). His work reflects the social conditions in which it is produced, often exploring political ideologies, subliminal messages, and the symbols of power and dissent that are present throughout the urban landscape. An exploration of the tension between public action and inaction is intrinsic to his practice, with a participatory element often implicating the subjectivity or presence of the viewer. The boundaries of communication, as well as the tentative, or fragile nature of perception, are both driving forces behind the practice of the artist, and many of the situations that that he creates. He lives and works in Berlin.

Session N°34: Oil Files presented by Ana Alenso

September 6, 2017 | 7 PM

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin

Free entrance - donations welcome

For our 34th screening Ana Alenso presents Oil Files, a compilation of 7 video-art works of Venezuelan artists from 1968 to 2016.

The selection focuses on the relationship between oil production and Venezuelan culture, especially as it relates to structural problems of social inequality and corruption, seeking to give the audience insight into Venezuela’s contemporary history and its current deep-scale crisis.

Part I

Pozo Muerto (1968) by Carlos Rebolledo.

Part II

BLACK GOLD FIRE (2015) by Rolando Peña.

Tropical curse (2015) by Ana Alenso.

Prototipo de vivienda en país petrolero (2004) by Alexander Apóstol

Panorama Miraflores (2014) by Iván Candeo.

The dogs keep barking (2016) by Erika Ordosgoitti.

Reconversión (2008) by Marco Montiel-Soto.

The event will conclude with an open discussion with the Venezuelan artists Ana Alenso and Marco Montiel-Soto, the Doctor in Latin American Studies Manuel Silva Ferrer, and writer Alberto Morreo.

First, we will show the short film Pozo Muerto (1968, 30’ min. long), directed by Carlos Rebolledo, and produced in collaboration with the Venezuelan avant-garde literary and artistic group El Techo de La Ballena. This raw narrative, or “crude history”, of three residents of a town transformed by the discovery of an oil well in 1922 is set amidst black and white landscapes. It presents the drama of a population abandoned in the ruins of a recent past, a period once described as a bonanza, when foreign oil companies promised prosperous economic futures.

The second part (40 min. long) brings together the work of six contemporary artists. The video Black Gold Fire (2015) by Rolando Peña, otherwise well known as The Black Prince, zooms out a focus on Venezuela and recognizes Oil in its most universal sense, as an object of scientific inquiry and a symbol of wealth and power. Ana Alenso’s Tropical Curse (2015) presents a collage of found and archive images, where social and political economical phenomena juxtapose the brutal fact that the world’s largest oil reserves exist alongside the highest rates of murder and poverty.

Prototipo de vivienda en país petrolero (2004), by Alexander Apóstol, follows. A plaza in the city center has a monument dedicated in 1975 to Oil, the year of the nationalization of Venezuelan oil. By the year 2004 it had become a shelter for the homeless, where peasants and beggars build their “rancho”, shelters under the rocker of the oil’s monument. Oil and slums, gather here to be represented under the same monument.

The political repression and persecution to diverse sectors who oppose the government has been brutal, with over more than 600 political prisoners and more than 120 people killed in these last four months during protests. The abuse of force has been documented and has gained international visibility surpassing different media state control and censorship.

In the current social and political crisis, the video Panorama de Miraflores (2014) by Iván Candeo commands us to observe vigilantly the building belonging to the Presidential Guard of the Miraflores Palace, where a certain ‘tense calm’ reigns mixed with state paranoia, and a general uncertainty typical of the events surrounding a state coup.

Venezuela has recently registered the highest record of inflation of not only its own economic history but of the entire region. Marco Montiel Soto’s Reconversion (2008) and Erika Ordoisgoitti’s The dogs keep barking (2016) confront us with the financial terrain of the crisis, approaching money directly. Each artist manipulates the material trappings of value, interrogating the increase of inflation, the symbolic violence inherent to it, and its impact on the collective body.

Ana Alenso is a Venezuelan artist based in Berlin, Germany. Working across sculpture, photography, installation, sound, and video, her current work aims to expose the dire risks in the global oil industry and financial world. Through the use of industrial materials, her work identifies critical states—situations of precariousness and tension—in a poetic register. She holds an MFA in Art in Context from the Berlin University of Arts (2015), an MFA in Media Art & Design at the Bauhaus University Weimar (2012) and a Diploma from Armando Reveron Arts University in Venezuela (2004).

Session N°35: Bicycles of Nhanderú and The Spirit of the Navajo presented by Filipa César

September 20, 2017 | 7 PM

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin

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.

For our 35th screening, Filipa César brings us two short films examining the power of cinema to enable indigenous communities to create their own representations of themselves and their worlds.

The Spirit of the Navajo by Mary J. and Maxine Tsosie (Navajo), 1966, 21 min, 16mm, silent. Mary Jane and Maxine Tsosie, both Navajo, follow the healing ritual of a medicine man (their grandfather Sam Yazzie) from gathering wild herbs and roots, to "painting" sand mandalas to treating patients.

Bicycles of Nhanderú, by Ariel Duarte Ortega and Patricia Ferreira (Mbya-Guaraní), 2011, 48 min, digital, Guaraní with English subtitles. An immersion in spirituality and everyday life of the Mbya­?Guaraní from the Koenju village, in southern Brazil.

Filipa César communicates her interest in these films as follows:

In 1966, anthropologists Sol Worth, John Adair and Richard Chalfen traveled to Pine Springs, Arizona, to teach a group of Navajo students the techniques of cinema. The resulting films make up the series Navajos Film Themselves. In 1986 in Brazil, anthropologists and documentarists Vincent Carelli and Virgínia Valadão, initiated Video nas Aldeias, a project to promote the production of moving images by members of threatened indigenous Amazonia communities.

Both projects and their resulting films respond to the troubles convoked by visual anthropologists with the gesture of rendering the studied communities into image. Specifically, as related to non-industrialised communities, which have little access to neither the technologies nor a culture of moving images. Dennis Hopper’s exercise “The Last Movie” (1971) denounced cinema as a colonizing language that once met with other code system can backfire and become a cursed floating signifier. On the other hand, Elizabeth Povinelli and the Karrabing Film Collective have developed a unique cinematic language to address their condition under contemporary colonialism. Yet, in the present time of the hyper-imaging of the globalized world, what does it mean to provide indigenous peoples with the technical means with which to produce their own representations of themselves and their imaginaries? Can we use the term “one’s own image”? Can those images become evidence against threatening colonization? Who and what is empowered? Can cinema be a means of achieving justice? What opacities interfere or are destroyed? Who and what is erased within this gesture of increased visibility?

For this screening, I have selected two films, “The Spirit of the Navajo,” 1966 by Mary Jane and Maxine Tsosie from the series Navajo Film Themselves and “Bicycles of Nhanderú,” 2011, by Ariel Duarte Ortega and Patricia Ferreira created through the Video nas Aldeias Project. I invite you to this screening and look forward to your engagement in the subsequent discussion.

Thanks to: Vincent Carelli, Video nas Aldeias team, Stefanie Schulte Strathaus, Markus Ruff, Juan González, Arsenal - Institute for Film and Video Art, Pia Chakraverti-Wuerthwein and the SAVVY Contemporary team.

Filipa César is an artist and filmmaker interested in the fictional aspects of the documentary, the porous borders between cinema and its reception, and the politics and poetics inherent to moving image. Since 2011, she has been looking into the origins of the cinema of the African Liberation Movement in Guinea Bissau as a laboratory of resistance to ruling epistemologies. César premiered her first feature length essay-film Spell Reel at the Forum section of the 67. Berlinale, 2017. Selected exhibitions and screenings have taken place at: 29th São Paulo Biennial, 2010; Manifesta 8, Cartagena, 2010; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, 2011–15; Jeu de Paume, Paris, 2012; Khiasma, Paris, 2011–2015; Kunstwerke, Berlin, 2013; SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin 2014–15; Tensta konsthall, Spånga, 2015; Mumok, Vienna, 2016; Contour 8 Biennial, Mechelen and Gasworks, London; MoMA, New York, 2017.

Session N°36 | How Bodies Appear: Experimental and Documentary Film from the late 1980s GDR

September 27, 2017 | 7 PM

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin

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.

For our 36th screening Elske Rosenfeld brings us “Body Building” from Wolfgang Scholz, “Veistanz/Feixtanz” from Gabriele Stötzer and MATERIAL from Thomas Heise as examples of experimental and documentary film from the GDR.

The films are in German with English subtitles or without text.

Elske Rosenfeld explains her choice of films as follows:

Body Building, 1988, 25 mins, Wolfgang Scholz (GDR) is a documentary film about a body building group; the time spent by these men torturing themselves among their self-made machines. We see them passing time in a training barrack: a rhythm of sweating bodies whose only aim is to develop larger muscles as a symbol of greater strength. Body Building was considered a capitalist sport and frowned upon in the GDR. More details under:

Veitstanz/Feixtanz, 1988, Super 8, 25 min, Gabriele Stötzer (GDR) shows a number of people/ a cast of characters from the different (non-)scenes of the late GDR – a punk, a pregnant woman, a dancer, a peacenik, an old woman, a football fan – dancing themselves into a trance in a setting chosen by each of them – on the sidewalk, on the roof-tops, by the river, on a playground, in front of a ruin, in the East German city of Erfurt – against a soundtrack of trams and passers-by. More info at her wikipedia page

Material (excerpts), 2009, Thomas Heise (GDR/D) is, to my mind, the best and most comprehensive document of the revolution of 1989/90 in the GDR. Whether he films from the margins or from right at the heart of revolutionary events – a political assembly of wardens and prisoners in a Brandenburg jail, a rally outside the Socialist Party HQ in Berlin, a townhall-meeting in a Berlin suburb – Heise’s images convey the radical urgency of the events that have been obscured and neutralised in their historization as “the Fall of the Berlin Wall”. It is telling, too, that it took the film-maker 20 years to revisit his previously unpublished footage. More details under:

In each of these films, bodies appear as agents and subjects of the specific forms of the political of the late GDR and the revolution of 1989. My motivation for showing this selection is two-fold: Firstly, to invite you into a conversation around the body as a site and archive of political events whose experience exceeds the tropes of narrativization in which they come to be historized and closed down.

Secondly, to share an impression of the state-socialist histories that have left such few traces on the physical and immaterial landscapes of present-day Berlin and its various, increasingly transient cultural scenes.

Elske Rosenfeld (born 1974 in Halle/Saale, GDR) uses different textual and artistic formats to look at the relationship between specific historical, as well as contemporary scenarios of political upheaval, and their potential for affecting political change. Her ongoing project “A Vocabulary of Revolutionary Gestures” focuses on the bodily, gestural content of archival footage from situations of revolution or protest, to develop abstracted interventions into and around these materials. Her work has been shown internationally in group and solo presentations, among others at Herbstsalon III, Gorki Theater Berlin 2017 (upcoming); mumok kino, Vienna, 2016 and 2013; Rencontres Internationales 2016 Paris and Berlin; Steirischer Herbst 2015, Graz; tranzit, Cluj, Romania, 2013; Devi Art Foundation, Delhi, 2013. Her texts have appeared in Springerin – Hefte für Gegenwartskunst and on, among others.

Session N°37 | On Storms with Lynhan Balatbat-Helbock

October 4, 2017 | 6 PM

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin

Free entrance - donations welcome

'Storm Children: Book One’ (Mga anak ng unos) by Lav Díaz, 2014, 143min, black & white, digital, Tagalog with English subtitles. This screening is made possible thanks to the generous support of Zomia Film.

For our 37th screening, Lynhan Balatbat-Helbock brings us ‘Storm Children: Book One’ by Lav Díaz as a visual companion to Rendra’s poem “An Angry World” (1960). Full text of the poem may be found HERE in the series’ full concept.

On the 8 November 2013, the city Tacloban on Leyte Island, Philippines, was largely destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan, causing the death of 6,201 people. The city had previously suffered a similar destruction and loss of life in 1897 and 1912. A few months after the catastrophe, Lav Diaz visited the Island to document the lives of children. The resulting film comes to not only document the aftermath of this natural disaster, but to rejoice in the resilience and liveliness of the children who navigate the rubble and continue their lives in spite of the devastation.

Lynhan Balatbat-Helbock the film with this quote by Lav Diaz:

“We Malays, we Filipinos, are not governed by the concept of time. We are governed by the concept of space. We don't believe in time. If you live in the country, you see Filipinos hang out. They are not very productive. That is very Malay. It is all about space and nature. [...] In the Philippine archipelago, nature provided everything, until the concept of property came with the Spanish colonizers. Then the capitalist order took control. [...] The concept of time was introduced to us when the Spaniards came. We had to do oracion [pray] at six o'clock, and start work at seven. Before it was free, it was Malay.” - - Tilman Baumgärtel, “Lav Diaz: Digital is Liberation Theology” (2007), in T. Baumgärtel (edited by), Southeast Asian Independent Cinema: Essays, Documents, Interviews; Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2012, pp. 174-175.

Let´s come together and eat, drink, laugh, discuss and hang out. Let´s get rid of time and reclaim our space. Come early, food will be served at 6pm.

Lynhan Balatbat-Helbock is a curator and researcher at S A V V Y Contemporary Berlin and is part of the participatory archive project Colonial Neighbours. She received her MA in Postcolonial Cultures and Global Policy at Goldsmiths University of London and moved to Berlin in 2013. In her work within the permanent collection of SAVVY Contemporary she looks for colonial traces that are manifested in our present. The collaborative archive dedicates itself to discussing silenced histories and to the decanonization of the Western gaze through objects and the stories behind them. In close collaboration with artists, initiatives and activists, the archive is activated through hybrid forms of practice. Most recently, she collaborated with the Maerzmusik festival (Berliner Festspiele, March 2017) and assisted the management for the documenta14 radio program - Every Time a Ear di Soun, SAVVY Funk in Berlin (June - July 2017). She supported the artist Bouchra Khalili with several projects and exhibitions (May 2015 - May 2016).

Session N°38 | Lying Truths with Ulf Aminde

October 18, 2017 | 7 PM

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin

Free entrance - donations welcome

'The Truth lies in Rostock - Die Wahrheit liegt (lügt) in Rostock by Mark Saunders and S. Cleary, 1993, Germany/ Great Britain, 78 min, German with English subtitles.

For our 38th screening, Ulf Aminde brings us The Truth Lies in Rostock (1993) as a means to understand the history of violence towards immigrants in Germany and to offer an example of how filmmakers can use their medium to cause audiences to question dominant histories.

In August 1992, now twenty-five years ago, a days-long assault against asylum-seekers, Sinti and Roma people, and descendants of Vietnamese contract workers occurred. The residents of the ‘Sunflower House’ in Mecklenburger Allee 18/19, also the central location for arriving refugees, were attacked throughout these days by a group of up to 1000 people. A raucous crowd of up to 3000 observers stood by and applauded the scene. Once the police unjustifiably withdrew, the house was set on fire. Luckily no lives were lost.

This week of violence was racially motivated and tolerated by politicians and police. The attack was partially announced by leaflets that were then propagated further by the Press. Furthermore, the activities were backed by active Nazi structures and right extremist groups from other German states. The events led to changes shortly thereafter in the rights to asylum and to the eventual adoption of the so-called asylum compromise. What we today call the ‘Dublin Regulation’ is a direct result of this pogrom.

The film The Truth Lies in Rostock, from Mark Saunders and S. Clearly, is predominantly composed of material that the besieged residents, themselves, captured. Neighbours, Nazis, politicians and police men and women in charge; as well as those who tried to help the residents, are all given a chance to speak. The film shows, with quiet clarity, how such a racially-motivated and socially-tolerated outbreak of violence could occur. Thus the film reveals, in all of its complexity, the condition of Rostock shortly after reunification. Taken from different perspectives, the film shows the perpetrators and people who reveled in the power that violence gave them, as well as those who were forced into victimhood against their will. By centering the perspectives of those who were made victims, the film also sheds light on the lies told by those responsible.

The film is particularly successful in anticipating our contemporary reality and showing how a certain racist and reactionary minority can gain in power. We knew already that right-wing extremists existed among us, and now we know what these tendencies lead to: a deeply anchored racism that is tolerated and finds its place in politics will send a signal to other extremists encouraging them to continue this madness. The question even arises, whether the whole NSU (National Socialist Underground) Complex, and the totally inadequate trial in Munich, is also a product of the development of this fascist and racist milieu and society’s tolerance of their violence.

I have chosen this film precisely because it neither relies on fiction nor on the imposition of a political hyperreality, but rather relies on the images that are somewhat familiar to us. This film reminds artists and filmmakers of our skill and potential to develop, through the material, a realism that does not only communicate content, but also asks, through its very construction, how it could possibly be that such images exist. This film is a manifesto of filmmaking, editing, and the performative potential of the camera. Because it is the camera that shows and makes showing concrete.

Ulf Aminde: On this evening I would also like to remember the victims of the NSU Complex, and for us to remind ourselves of the inadequate investigation, currently awaiting verdict in Munich, into the intertwined structures of racist perpetrators and state actors.

Ulf Aminde is an artist, filmmaker, and teaching activist. He teaches at the Weissensee Academy of Art in Berlin. There he initiated, in particular, the *foundationClass for Newcomers, intended for immigrants who would like to begin their studies of art in Germany. In Cologne he is developing a film and participation-based monument to the memory of those affected by the racist hate crimes perpetrated by the terrorist NSU network in Probsteigasse and on Keupstrasse. In his filmmaking practice, he concerns himself with the potential of self-empowerment through filming, alienation effects in documentary film, and strategies of subjectivization. He navigates categories of normalization and questions societal concepts such as discrimination and the exclusion of minorities. His filmwork is mostly characterized by collaboration and experimental practices of working together.

Exhibitions and actions include Berlin Biennial 4, KW Berlin, Volksbühne am Rosa Luxemburg Platz, Berlinische Galerie, NGBK Berlin, ZKM Karlsruhe, MARTa Herford, Steirischer Herbst, Schirn Frankfurt, Kästner Gesellschaft Hannover, MoCA Taipei, Kunstverein Heidelberg, Kunstverein Wolfsburg and Gallery Tanja Wagner.

Session N°39 | Moscow’s cine-internationalism in Berlin | 
Iris Gusner presented by Doreen Mende 

October 25, 2017 | 7 PM

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin

Free entrance - donations welcome

Still: Die Taube auf dem Dach (1973/90)

For our 39th screening, Doreen Mende brings us Iris Gusner’s Die Taube auf dem Dach and “disco films.” Screening followed by a conversation with Iris Gusner, filmmaker and writer.

Disco film 16: Karat, Albatross (Jürgen Steinheisser, 1979, GDR, 7.55 min)

Disco film 28: City, Träume (Jürgen Steinheisser, 1979, GDR, 6.08 min)

Die Taube auf dem Dach (Iris Gusner, 1973/1990, GDR, 82 min)

German with English subtitles

In 1973 Iris Gusner realized her debut film, Die Taube auf dem Dach (The Dove on the Roof), after finishing her studies at the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography in Moscow (VGIK), which she had entered as one of the few East-German students of her generation. During the 1960s in particular, the VGIK provided an environment for a cine-internationalism due to a moment of ideological “thaw” that voiced itself through upheavals, re-evaluation, reforms, and experimentation under the Krushchev regime with its possibility of de-Stalinization.

Die Taube auf dem Dach portrays Linda Hinrichs, a young architect, who engineers the construction of a new prefabricated housing block in East Germany. Iris Gusner shows the reality of a world of labor in socialist Germany through the eyes of people who are not as standardized as the buildings they erect. Instead of a socialist worker-heroism, the film therefore conveys a fragment of the cultural history of everyday struggle, which is narrated through social relations on the construction site and a complicated love triangle between Linda and two men. The film furthermore includes a commentary on state pretensions to solidarity when the worker Karim speaks about his Beirut home while mounting Palestinian posters on the walls of the room he shares with the student Daniel. Here Gusner proposes a narration of friendship among workers instead of solidarity (which she once described as a “bureaucratic act” of the GDR). Die Taube auf dem Dach remained un-premiered, prohibited, and seemingly lost in the GDR. The film’s working copy was found in 1990, although everything else had been destroyed. A black-and-white version was drawn from this color copy (35 mm), then everything disappeared again. In 2009, the 1990 version was found by chance and digitized for DVD release.

This evening will also include the screening of two so-called “disco films”, a genre crossing documentary, feature, and music-video, that perhaps only existed in the GDR. Disco films were produced by the DEFA, the centralized and state-owned film studios of the GDR, and projected—as the name suggests—in discos, for example, at the Kosmos 73 Film-Beat-Treff vor Mitternacht on Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin.

Iris Gusner studied film-directing at the VGIK in Moscow during the 1960s. After returning to Berlin, she worked as an assistant director to Konrad Wolf for his film drama Goya or the Hard Way to Enlightenment (1971) before joining the DEFA as a director. Aside from various feature films, Gusner directed the famous fairytale film Das Blaue Licht (1976), a crime movie, dramas, and romances. In the summer of 1989 she emigrated to West Germany, and returned from Cologne to Berlin in 2003. Together with the filmmaker Helke Sander she co-authored the book Fantasie und Arbeit. Biografische Zwiegespräche (2009), about the similarities and differences between being a filmmaker, a mother, and a woman in East and West Germany. Gusner’s book Start in Moskau will be published In 2018. It tells of her studies and teachers at the VGIK, as well as her co-students’ subsequent developments up to the present, based on ongoing conversations with international filmmaker friends who studied together at the Institute.

Doreen Mende is a curator, theorist, researcher and writer, and currently directs the CCC Research Master and PhD-Forum of the Visual Arts Department at HEAD in Geneva. She has been a founding member of the Harun Farocki Institut in Berlin since 2015. Her research interests include spatial politics in image regimes, as well as exhibition-making, curatorial politics, archival metabolisms, navigational aesthetics, display processes, and concept work. She holds a PhD in Curatorial/Knowledge from Goldsmiths, University of London. Recent publications include KP Brehmer: Real Capital Production, for Raven Row, London, and the ongoing publications series HaFI (with Tom Holert and Volker Pantenburg). For an introduction to Die Taube auf dem Dach see her “Letter to Iris Gusner,” manifesta journal, December 2013.

Thanks to the DEFA-Stiftung Berlin and the DEFA Film Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst/U.S.

Session N°40 | Cemetery of Splendor with Natascha Sadr Haghighian

November 1, 2017 | 7 PM

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin

Free entrance - donations welcome

For the 40th session of our film series, we are thrilled to have Natascha Sadr Haghighian bring us Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s film 'Cemetery of Splendor' - a deep passage through traumatized terrain. The film will be screened in Thai with English subtitles.

A group of soldiers has mysteriously fallen into a deep sleep in a makeshift hospital, a former school built on the cemetery of long-dead kings. The dormant bodies fight a continuous war from the past in their sleep, while the ground around them is dug up to install fiber optic cables.

A group of nurses acts as caretakers of the sleeping soldiers’ bodies. They are accompanied by Keng, a young woman who has the powers of a medium, and Jenjira, a volunteer who originally came to the hospital to sell her knitting. Keng helps visiting relatives to communicate with the sleeping soldiers. Jenjira and Keng become friends and together they follow one of the soldiers into the invisible cemetery. Oscillating between wakefulness and sleep, immobility and flight, past, present and futures, the hospital becomes a psychogeographical zone where trauma makes the very fabric of reality.

'Cemetery of Splendor' premiered in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. Film courtesy of Rapid Eye Movies.

Natascha Sadr Haghighian explains her choice as follows: The call of the sleeping soldiers is so strong that it’s difficult to stay awake during 'Cemetery of Splendor'. But just what kind of sleep is it when we fall asleep during a film? Apichatpong Weerasethakul shows us that some things only become apparent when we approximate dormancy.

SAVVY Contemporary is not only housed in a former crematorium, the crematorium was also built on the site of a cemetery for the poor: nameless bodies that lacked the advocacy to maintain their burial site. Falling asleep at such a site seems even more difficult than to dance. Scary shit, you don’t really want to lose control. But maybe this sleep is needed in order to learn to listen to the nameless bodies buried here and elsewhere. How else can we touch the traumatic orders of reality and not repeat the illusion of being outside of them?

Natascha Sadr Haghighian was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1987 and lives and works in Budapest and Berlin. She most recently showed work at the Szobart projekt, Budapest, in 2011. Previous collaborations include with FIKA, Pécs, Hungary, in the Travelling Artists Project together with the SZaF group, Basil-Wien-Budapest, and in the Prostitution group exhibition at Demo gallery in Budapest in 2010. Her work has also been shown in Design Transfer Gallery (Berlin), Kunsthalle Budapest, and Artbázis (Budapest), among others. (Extracted from

Session N°41 | Aboriginality, Art and Anarchy with Roxley Foley and Rachel O'Reilly

November 8, 2017 | 7 PM

NOTE: at Archive Kabinett | Müllerstraße 133 (HH) | 13349 Berlin

Free entrance - donations welcome

Michael Anderson, Billie Craigie, Bert Williams and Tony Coorey. Tribune/SEARCH Foundation, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales. 26 January 1972

For our 41st session of the film series, Rachel O’Reilly will introduce aboriginal community activist and Gumbaynggirr man Roxley Foley, part of the current generation of grassroots activism in Australia to present films and a discussion. The films selected are rare and vital documents of history, struggle and periodic return, key for comprehending histories and futures of indigenous Australian intersections of art, resistance and diplomacy. Screened in the wake of a next wave of resource development, paternalistic management reforms and rollbacks of already weak native title rights, their performative agency will be put in dialogue by Roxley with a present tense of activism, creativity, and strategic internationalism. Thank you to Archive Kabinett for hosting.

Roxley Foley is a leading Australian aboriginal community activist, and recent Sacred Firekeeper and Custodian of Canberra’s Aboriginal Tent Embassy, which represents the political rights of Aboriginal Australians. The son of renowned Gumbainggir activist and historian Gary Foley and grandson of prominent anti-nuclear advocate Dr. Dennis Matthews, Roxley has been involved in indigenous and environmental activism from a young age. He has co-organized countless actions both in Australia and abroad, including the Summit for Freedom, which took place in Alice Springs in November 2014, and recently secured the return of remains of fifty Aboriginal Australians and the entire remains collection of Maori, Pacific Islander, and Hawaiians held by the Staaatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. He is particularly interested in the potential that grassroots activism and small motivated groups have to affect wide-reaching change.

Ningla A’Na (Hungry for Our Land) 1972, Dir. Alessandro Cavadini

On January 25 1972 the Australian Prime Minister William McMahon stated that his Government would never grant land rights to Aboriginal people in Australia. The next day, four men pitched a beach umbrella with a sign saying Aboriginal Embassy on the lawns opposite Parliament House, Canberra. So began the most significant act of dissent in Australian history. Filmed within events unfolding, this key historical documentary incorporates interviews with black activists, the work of the National Black Theatre, Aboriginal Legal Service and Aboriginal Medical Service, plus footage of the demonstrations and arrests. Courtesy: Smart Street Films.

Our Generation (2010) directed by Sinem Saban and Damien Curtis

Our Generation is an urgent documentation of the Howard Government’s controversial ‘Emergency Intervention’ into Aboriginal communities in Australia’s remote Northern Territory in 2007, as a result of the dubious reporting of sexual abuse cases. The accusations have since proven manipulated by media and governments’ investment in a new era of land grabs. No Aboriginal people living in the communities had any say in the decisions being made about their lives, work, lands and their future. Amidst ongoing policies of paternalism and assimilation, the film explains the real issues underlying Indigenous disadvantage in the ‘lucky’ country.

Courtesy of Our Generation Media and Marion Caris of Berlin Aboriginal Solidarität Netzwerk.

Rachel O’Reilly is a writer/artist, researcher and curator, leading the seminar ‘At the Limits of the Writerly' at the Dutch Art Institute. She worked as a curator at the Gallery of Modern Art | Australian Cinematheque, Brisbane, including the Fifth Asia Pacific Triennial from 2004-08. At the Jan van Eyck she developed The Gas Imaginary exploring the install of unconventional extraction investments in settler colonial space (with PALACE architects, presented internationally by Frontier Imaginaries). She recently curated ‘Planetary Records; Exploring Justice between Art and Law’ the public program of the Contour Biennale with Natasha Ginwala, co-wrote On Neutrality with Jelena Vesic and Vlidi Jeric, and writes with Danny Butt on infrastructures of aesthetic autonomy. She is a member of Extracted Bodies_Corporeal Grounds and working on a book of her drawings with Archive Books.

FILM SERIES: how does the world breathe now?

Session N°42 | On the How of Why the Lion Roars with Anri Sala

November 15, 2017 | 7 PM

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin

Free entrance - donations welcome

For the 42nd session of our film series we are honored to welcome Anri Sala who invites us to experience excerpts of films that not only inspired him, but became also part of his interactive film installation 'Why the Lion Roars'. Due to screening agreements we cannot release the names of the films prior to the screening, we can tell you, though, that one finds a middle-aged business man escaping his inner turmoil through a quixotic aquatic adventure and the other follows a love story that develops into a meditative journey into a world of natural and manmade conflicts. The films will be either in English or with English subtitles.

Anri Sala presents excerpts from different films, among them 'Blissfully Yours' by Apichatpong Weerasethakul (2002, 2 hours 5 minutes, Thai with English subtitles). Film provided courtesy of the director.

Anri Sala explains his selection as follows:

Apart from the fact that I think these films capture a certain Zeitgeist – be it by referring to the emptiness and despair that lie beneath the sunny facade of 1960s suburbia in the US or by capturing the current reality of illegal immigrants within a love story in Thailand – I’m choosing these films because they were both part of my weather-based project Why the Lion Roars (2010). Why the Lion Roars is a composition of feature films that communicate through a feeling for temperature. Each of the fifty-seven selected films represents specifically defined degrees, from minus 11°C to 45°C. A thermometer measures the temperature outside the projection space and simultaneously edits the film program, which changes in correspondence with the actual outdoor temperature. While one movie was being screened at 25°C, another of the films, for example 'Blissfully Yours', appeared at 26°C, their journeys thus cutting into each other and their narratives merging with the slightest outdoor temperature change.

One additional feature that both films have in common is the importance that they both give to the notion of touch and the tactile. While we see the touch between lovers along with the one between patient and doctor in the Thai romance, the act of touching in the other film conveys a strange feeling of discomfort. Both movies present touch as a means of sending and receiving that embodies exchange, as well as vulnerability, and are therefore in stark contrast to what touch is increasingly becoming nowadays: a one-way command from hands to device screens.

Blissfully Yours

Apichatpong Weerasethakul. 2002. 125 min [excerpts]

Set in a small town and a jungle near the Burmese border, Blissfully Yours follows a young Thai woman and her Burmese boyfriend, an illegal immigrant, on an afternoon of blissful interlude. Though peaceful and calm on the surface, the lovers and a middle-aged woman who joins them, and the jungle itself, embody hidden conflicts. With the opening credits leisurely appearing 45 minutes into the film, this early work by Cannes Palme d'Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul offers a meditative journey into a world of nature and man made conflicts.

Berlin-based artist Anri Sala was born in 1974 in Tirana, Albania. Recent solo exhibitions include 'The Present Moment (in D)', Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (2014); 'Anri Sala: Two Films', Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit MI (2012); Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark (2012); Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2012); '1395 Days Without Red', Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland (2012); National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan (2011); Serpentine Gallery, London, England (2011) and Musée d'Art Contemporain, Montreal, Quebec (2011).

Sala was awarded the Prix Gilles Dusein in 2000; the Young Artist Prize at the Venice Biennale in 2001 and the Absolut Art Award, Stockholm, Sweden in 2011. In 2013, he was selected to represent France at the 55th Venice Biennial with 'Ravel Ravel Unravel' and, most recently, Sala was the recipient of the Vincent Award, Den Haag, The Netherlands (2014).

FILM SERIES: how does the world breathe now?

Session N°43 | The City as Flesh with Natasha Ginwala

November 22, 2017 | 7 PM

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin

Free entrance - donations welcome

For the 43rd session of our film series we are excited to welcome Natasha Ginwala, who brings us David Wojnarowicz’s film A Fire in My Belly (a work in progress), and Ruchir Joshi’s My Rio, My Tokio - 10 poems & 3 songs to Calcutta.

A Fire in My Belly (a work in progress). David Wojnarowicz. 1986-1987. 20:55. Silent. Digital copy of Super 8mm film.

Shot with frenetic agility on a Super 8 camera, David Wojnarowicz’s A Fire in My Belly (a work in progress) assembles roving shots from a trip to Mexico City with staged scenes captured in the artist’s New York apartment. News headlines, playing cards and street posters operate as paratext, while a wrestling match, cockrel fight, an interlocked matador and bull and circus performers render loops of aggression that perpetually bind predator and prey. While this film was never completed, it remains an essential document on the artist’s radical visions of city living seen through the lives of prone sexual beings, his friendships and struggle in AIDS activism, as well as allegorical framing of the venomous spread of the religious right.

Film provided courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix and the Estate of David Wojnarowicz.

My Rio, My Tokio - 10 poems & 3 songs to Calcutta. Ruchir Joshi. (2010). 51:00. (Bengali, English - English subtitles). Digital copy of 16mm

My Rio, My Tokio is a video collage of the city of Calcutta/Kolkata in 2010. Taking off from a section of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, the film moves through 13 randomly numbered ‘chapters’ in which text-poems and songs overlap with video-poems of and about the city. Bringing together Baul music, Bangla rock, readings by former Communist Party member and Naxalite Sumanta Banerjee, the soundtrack drives us hypnotically as commuters through political rallies, Durga Puja celebrations, a deadly fire and funeral procession. The desk, tree and the various insides of Calcutta’s old, iconic Ambassador taxis return again and again as codii, even as the camera goes to other places, finding itself in Morocco or the Eurostar to Paris.

Film provided courtesy of the artist.

A Fire in My Belly (a work in progress) and My Rio, My Tokio are collaged filmic works that offer a sequenced form of narrating from the edges of an urbane subconscious. They are corporeal echoes deliberating the city as poetic terrain, vigilant to those maligned forces of political and religious power that fill its streets and invade its dark desires. In these protagonists (before and behind camera) there is a yearning for informal existence, lawlessness and anonymity in the forced embrace of a metropolis. Through two films, I recollect the words of Jean Genet, “A great wind swept over the ghetto, carrying away shame, invisibility and four centuries of humiliation. But when the wind dropped people saw it had been only a little breeze, friendly, almost gentle.”

Natasha Ginwala is a curator, researcher, and writer. She has been curator of Contour Biennale 8 Polyphonic Worlds: Justice as Medium and curatorial advisor for documenta 14 (2017). Recent projects include My East is Your West featuring Shilpa Gupta and Rashid Rana at the 56th Venice Biennale; Still Against the Sky featuring Hajra Waheed at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, and Corruption...Everybody Knows with e-flux, New York within the framework of the SUPERCOMMUNITY project. Ginwala was a member of the artistic team for the 8th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (with Juan A. Gaitán) and has curated The Museum of Rhythm at Taipei Biennial 2012 (with Anselm Franke) and at Muzeum Sztuki (with Daniel Muzyczuk) in 2016. From 2013–15 she led the multi-part curatorial project Landings with Vivian Ziherl. Her upcoming projects include Riots: Slow Cancellation of the Future at ifa Gallery, Berlin and Stuttgart in 2018. Ginwala writes on contemporary art and visual culture in various periodicals and has contributed to numerous publications.