Whether you love it or hate it, Modern Art has become a huge talking point in recent decades – cows in formaldehyde, messy beds, swan boats covered in leopard print fur. Modern Art has changed the way we see and think about what art is, and the purpose it serves in contemporary society. So, if you’re more Damien Hirst than Leonardo da Vinci, more Picasso than Raphael, Tracy Emin rather than Jan van Eyck, the Experimenta Strand is the place for you. This collection of feature length and short films, including digital restorations, 16mm celluloid and digital films, are presented alongside art installations, discussions and workshops by multi-media artists and filmmakers from all over the world, exploring the place of film in the past, present and future.
“Cinema is an invention without future” Louis Lumiérè.
The artists in this strand beg to differ!
Experimenta Special Presentation.
(In association with Sight & Sound)
The Forbidden Room (Guy Maddin, Even Johnson, Canada, 2015)
Delirious, hypnotic, gleeful and deranged, Maddin and Johnson’s The Forbidden Room goes supersize next week with its screening at the BFI IMAX in Waterloo.
Moving between directions from an overweight letch on how to take a bath in the 1960s, to a damsel in distress, held captive by wolf-men, and the lumberjack on a mission to save her, then at some point landing on the lobotomy of Udo Kier to stop him pinching bottoms. The truly weird and wacked out offering travels to the ends of the earth, as high as the sky, under the deepest oceans and back again, exploring the darkest recesses of the human psyche.
The Sky Trembles and the Earth is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers (Ben Rivers, UK, 2015)
Inspired by Paul Bowles’ shocking 1947 short story A Distant Episode, about a man kidnapped by bandits as he travels through Morocco, Ben Rivers takes this story and uses it to explore the different levels of reality created during the film making process. As well as examining the debris left behind by filmmakers who have used Morocco, its landscape and its people, to create fictional worlds.
Event for a Stage (Tacita Dean, UK-Germany, 2015)
In 2014 Tacita Dean and Stephen Dilliane performed four nights at the Sydney Biennial, with two 16mm cameras rolling throughout each performance, capturing everything, including reel changing of the other camera, Dilliane sat in the front row snatching props from Dean and recitals of all things from Shakespeare to personal anecdotes. In Event for a Stage Dean takes the footage, cuts it and rearranges it into one performance that jumps about in time and space, illustrating a deep style of choreography.
The screening at the Tate Modern is followed by a talk with Tacita Dean.
Remainder (Omar Fast, UK-Germany, 2015)
Adapted from British author Tom McCarthy’s London-based thriller of the same name, Remainder sees a large black box fall from the sky, crashing onto an unnamed man’s head. Suffering complete memory loss, the man spends months recuperating and is increasingly his with vivid bursts of déjà vu as he tries to remember his past and re-discover his sense of self. Following a multi-million pound settlement, he becomes more and more extravagant, re-enacting the small fragments of memories he has. Remainder offers a complex and obscure narrative about how things are not always how they seem.
Heated Gloves (William English, UK, 2015)
British inventor and eccentric Captain Maurice Seddon created electronically heated clothing for a wide range of purposes including for paraplegics, erotica, arthritics and even landscape gardeners. This documentary by close friend of Seddon, William English, uses archive footage including 16mm film clips and mobile phone videos, old tv adverts and interviews, to explore Seddon’s modest lifestyle and create a portrait as special and unique as its subject.
The Host (Miranda Pennell, 2015)
During her investigations into her parent’s involvement with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (BP) in the 1930s, filmmaker Miranda Pennell comes across letters from a geologist in Iran, who was later to embark on a search for the origins of civilisation. Using material from deep within BP’s archives, The Host sets out on a journey to create a picture of 20th century colonial life, exploring the stories we tell ourselves and others, how facts and fiction entwine and the consequences of them both.
Invention (Mark Lewis, UK-Canada-Brazil-France, 2015)
Invention takes you on a tour of Toronto, Paris and Sao Paulo, showing these iconic cities in a way you’ve never seen before. Experimenting with camera angles, swooping through the streets and flying above the pulsing, living, breathing urban jungles to give each city a character and narrative of its own, Invention explores the future of film for those brave enough to dare.
Park Lanes (Jerome Everson, USA, 2015)
A whopping 8 hours long Park Lanes goes behind the scenes of a very quintessential American past time: Bowling. Shot in Everson’s hometown of Mansfield, Ohio, Park Lanes spends a working day in a factory that manufactures parts for bowling alleys, taking a look at each step of the manufacturing process, lingering long enough to show the people behind the machines and joining them in the break room to experience the camaraderie between the workers. Park Lanes is an intimate view of the real life human beings behind the all too often faceless capitalist machine that dominates modern life.
Experimenta Short Collections
Approaching Nature (Various, Various, 2015)
This selection of short films from the UK, Japan, France, Sweden and Indonesia, focus on the idea of nature, exploring the relationship between humans and nature, and how we go about our everyday lives interacts with and effects the ecosystem.
Dream Worlds and Nightmare Visions (Various, Various, 2014-2015)
Including different interpretations of history, fantasy landscapes and mystical communication, Dream Worlds and Nightmare Visions is a collection of shorts that take you on a journey to, well, the destinations of dreams and nightmares, with films from the UK, Switzerland, Ireland, China and the USA.
Girls at Play (Various, Various, 2014-2015)
Girls at Play is a series of 3 short films from Ireland and the USA with focus on women, including the Garden of Eden, a high school prom, and a journey from the depths of hell all the way to paradise, this is female imagination set loose and playing by its own rules.
Mark Leckey, Dream English Kid (Mark Leckey, UK, 1996-2015)
Multi-media, Turner Prize winning artist Mark Lechey combines film, sculpture and sound, to create witty and sensual films that explore the underrepresented aspects of popular culture. Examining the way most of our lives are now documented online in the form of blogs and social media, Lecky attempts to record all the significant events of his life in the late 20th century in these 4 short films, through the use of found footage, television archives and music.
Mediums and Messages (Various, Various, 2014-2015)
Travelling deep into the archives, examining historic and contemporary media and arts, the short films in the Mediums and Messages collection look at how behaviours are forged and how the internet influences our lives, examining the limits of documentaries and the relationships between artistic mediums and subjects.
Scores (Various, Various, 2014-2015)
From transposing bodily functions from heartbeat to orgasm into abstract sight and sound, to training marketing employees, tweaking their voices to sound smooth and give a better corporate image, Scores looks at the importance of music and explores the impact it has on our lives.
Second Sight (Various, Various, 2014-2015)
Artists from India, Japan, Italy, Spain and the UK, take visions of the past and future and revise them in the present in this collection of short films. Second Sight includes an interview considering the atomic bomb tests and the bombing of Hiroshima with J. Robert Oppenheimmer, who recited the Hindu scripture Bhagavard Gita just after the bombing of Hiroshima.
A Strange Suspension (Various, Various, 2006-2015)
3 filmmakers from the UK, USA and Germany transform old, disparate, found footage into new and personal pieces. A Strange Suspenssion sees the artists completely disregard the original context and purpose of the footage and material, and turning them into subjective pieces using various mediums and new technologies and ideas.
The Stuff of Film (Various, Various, 2014-2015)
The Stuff of Film is a collection of 11 short films from across Europe, Asia and North America, all shot using celluloid film, from 35mm film found under Fukushima Nuclear Power Station to 1920s test shots using early colour stock, and all sorts in between, this compilation celebrates the medium of film in its original form: film.
Experimenta Archive Screenings
Marie Louise Alemann: Thresholds and Sensations (Marie Louise Alemann, Argentina, 1974-1980)
Working on Super8 and developing her own inscrutable style, Marie Louise Alemann was an experimental filmmaker based out of Buenos Aires, who died earlier this year. Thresholds and Sensations is a collection of 8 of Alemann’s films, that have all been digitally restored and carefully curated by film scholar Federico Wildhausen.
Joanna Margaret Paul: I am an Open Window (Various, New Zealand, 1975-2015)
Using the mediums of film, photography, painting and poetry, New Zealand artist Joanna Margaret Paul used art to observe and capture her rural surroundings in small town New Zealand. I am an Open Window combines 6 short films by up and coming New Zealand based artists, taking Paul’s original work as inspiration, with 6 of Paul’s short films from the 1975-1976.
For more information on the films in this strand head to the BFI website x