Curated by Caroline Koebel for Aurora Picture Show

Saturday, October 19th, 2013, Houston Texas

Approximate total running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Kino B initiates viewers into the swarm of moving images made thus far in the 2010s by Berlin-based artists. Sylvia Schedelbauer's SOUNDING GLASS, the stunning and astounding experimental short about vision, history, memory, and war that won accolades at Ann Arbor and Oberhausen, centers the outwardly spiraling program.

The other projects—curated in situ during a research trip to Berlin—include film, video and installation (transposed to single-channel projection) by Guillaume Cailleau & Ben Russell, Harun Farocki, Isabella Gresser, Bernd Lützeler, Anna Marziano, Deborah S. Phillips, Michael Poetschko, and Daniel Steegmann Mangrané.

Chosen for their individual merits and seemingly unrelated in their disparateness, the works nonetheless share a command of cinema's potential for experientially transformative critical reflection. Each title, in its own way, acts as an experimental essay on the world as it can be encountered, engaged and repositioned so as to enable a dialogue between self (artist) and others (viewers) on that world.    (Caroline Koebel)

Descriptions provided by the artists:

THE VOICE OF GOD by Bernd Lützeler
(2011, 35mm on video, color, sound, 9:35)

If God would come down to earth and try to earn a living in Bombay, most probably he would very soon become successful as a voice-over artiste, lending his voice to thousands of Hindi movies and even more documentaries and public service films in India. A melo-dramatic docu-drama with voice-over in stop-motion and long-time exposure.

Placing a cluster of camera, release control, wires and batteries into a Bombay traffic jam for several hours requires a multitude of irrational strategies because every inch of asphalt in this city is exploited commercially. When the rush hour starts, it's seen as an opportunity by thousands of hawkers to set up their shops right into the traffic jams. This attracts even more people who seem to enjoy their high-density shopping experience. Whatever looks like a good spot to put a camera in the morning, will be overrun by an avalanche of metal and organisms a few hours later.

(2011, 3-channel installation on single-channel video, color, sound, 19:44)

NOTEBOOKS ON DISLOCATION approaches the complexity of the contemporary city through different perspectives, methods, stories and optics. FRAGMENT I is conceptualized as an audiovisual travelogue and assemblage of urban experiences, mnemonic itineraries, notebook entries, and philosophical speculations. Where can we find traces of structural change, signs of life and possibilities of resistance within the 'new urban fabric?' How can we think of another city, another spatiality (anthropological, poetic,…) that "slips into the clear text of the planned and readable city" (de Certeau)?

(Notebooks on Dislocation is in its original version a synchronized three-channel video installation.)

16MM by Daniel Steegmann Mangrané
(2011, 16mm installation on video, color, sound, 5:26)

16MM is a continuous single take, a long shot traveling with constant speed through the jungle, going deeper and deeper inside it, for the duration of the roll of film, feet by feet. 16MM is both an essay on cinema and on the forest and the crossings that occur in it. A film about time and the nature of the creative act. An exercise of penetration that is not without psychological connotations. A tactile look. A conceptual and physical work.

Due to a custom system built to shoot 16MM, the camera films and moves through a cable with only one motor that propels and connects both distances and movements: each meter of shot film corresponds exactly to a meter advanced through the woods, and the speed of this movement corresponds to the speed the film achieved inside the camera.

This structural analysis of the medium was made in the jungle because even today it is one of the ultimate depths and is from the impact felt entering the forest that the whole idea emerges. But this impact is not only physical or psychological: the Mata Atlântica rainforest in southwestern Brazilian is also, geopolitically, one of the densest places in the world. Since the time of the "discovery" to the "post"-colonial day of today, in the jungle happen a succession of conflicts: economic, ecological, geographic, human, scientific, historical, territorial, etc ... crossing each other, creating a network of relationships as complex as the geometry of the vines, branches and trunks, and so difficult to equilibrate as it is to penetrate its natural thickness.

SOUNDING GLASS by Sylvia Schedelbauer
(2011, video, b&w, sound, 10:00)

A man in a forest is subject to a flood of impressions; structurally rhythmic waves of images and sounds give form to his introspection.

Jury statement, International Short Film Festival Oberhausen:

With very few images culled from the flood of footage originally taken during World War II, the filmmaker manages to express the incomprehensible trauma of war as a strong visual experience. With a highly compressed use of sound and image, Sounding Glass creates a visceral impact that can only be achieved by cinematic means.

The certainty that everything and everyone has a fixed place in history gives way to uncertainty and searching. Constant changes between light and dark set history in motion. Flickering deforms, developing a pull that in turn creates an urgency that doesn't preclude doubt.

AUSTERITY MEASURES by Guillaume Cailleau & Ben Russell
(2012, 16mm, color, silent, 8:40)

A color-separation portrait of the Exarchia neighborhood of Athens, Greece, made during the Anti-Austerity protests in late 2011. In a place thick with stray cats and scooters, cops and Molotovs, ancient myths and new ruins; where fists are raised like so many columns in the Parthenon, this is a film of surfaces - of grafitti'd marble streets and wheat-pasted city walls - hand-processed in red, green, and blue.

PARALLEL by Harun Farocki
(2012, 2-channel installation on single-channel video, color, sound, 17:00)

For over one hundred years photography and film were the leading media. From the start they served not only to inform and entertain but were also media of scientific research and documentation. That's also why these reproduction techniques were associated with the notions of objectivity and contemporaneity - whereas images created by drawing and painting indicated subjectivity and the transrational. Apparently today computer animation is taking the lead.

Our subject is the development and creation of digital animation. If, for example, a forest has to be covered in foliage, the basic genetic growth program will be applied, so that "trees with fresh foliage", "a forest in which some trees bear 4 week-old foliage, others 6 week-old foliage" can be created. The more generative algorithms are used, the more the image detaches itself from the appearance as found and becomes an ideal-typical.

Using the example of trees and bushes, water, fire and clouds we compare the development of surfaces and colorings over the past thirty years in computer animation images. We want to document reality-effects such as reflections, clouds, and smoke in their evolutionary history.

(2011, Super 16mm on video, color, sound, 16:00)

This journey into mutability takes place in Abruzzi, Italy, in a territory that was damaged by the earthquake in 2009. By way of fragments of conversations, archive material and readings in public spaces, the film explores the becoming of individual and social bodies. How should one accommodate the perpetual new beginning of things and continue participating in the transformation of a community?

NIETZSCHE À NICE by Isabella Gresser
(2013, video, color, sound, 5:00)

Friedrich Nietzsche's "Noon and Eternity" in times of mass tourism and digital viewing habits. A young tourist is mirroring himself on his tablet PC at the beach while in the air above Nice, up to 49,000 passengers a day, longing for happiness. Down at the beach they can watch themselves flying over. An animated screenplay frames the setting for Nietzsche's thoughts out of his late work written in Nice. As if the sky embodies a dystopian image of "The eternal return of the same."

The low-tech animation contrasts the high-tech digital media through which we are viewing our world. The perception of Nietzsche and the perceptions as an artist and tourist mix together. Nietzsche's mystical affirmation under the sun turns in an observation of a post-apocalyptic scenery. The digital turn as a dead end or a decadent spectacle on a cruiser.

HERMAN(N) by Deborah S. Phillips
(2011, 16mm, color, silent, 8:00)

I see this part of Neukölln (a district in Berlin) through golden late summer light as an inviting place, which is all the more palatable as manifested on different varieties of film material. I have lived, for more than 13 years, on a side street of the Hermannstraße, first on the one side, then on the other. Gentrification has already commenced where I live, things get busier. It's as trendy as in many other parts of town now.

HERMAN(N) makes the street palatable to viewers: it's not a matter of relaying a message, but more a feeling of the place...


Guillaume Cailleau
Born in France 1978, Guillaume Cailleau is based in Berlin. His works range from 16mm film and HD video to multimedia installations and performance. He researches common everyday processes and occurrences with the intent to expose details that tend to be overlooked but can be very revealing if isolated and transposed into another context, that of a gallery, a museum or a theatre. He is a member of the collective LaborBerlin, devoted to preserving and developing the creative possibilities of the celluloid film format and DIY processing, as well as Hanna's Atelier for Sonorous Arts Ljubljana (Slovenia), an institution promoting and researching sound based art forms. He also collaborates with several choreographers and performers, creating video for the stage.

Harun Farocki
1944 born in Nový Jicin (Neutitschein), in the then German-annexed Czechoslovakia. 1966-1968 studied at the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (West). 1966 married to Ursula Lefkes. 1968 birth of daughters Annabel Lee und Larissa Lu. 1974 - 1984 author and editor of the journal Filmkritik in Munich. 1998 - 1999 Speaking about Godard / Von Godard sprechen, New York / Berlin (with Kaja Silverman). 1993-1999 visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley. 2001 married to Antje Ehmann. Since 1966 over 100 productions for television or the cinema: children's television, documentary films, film essays, story films. Since 1996 numerous group and solo exhibitions in museums and galleries. 2007 at documenta 12 with Deep Play. Since 2004 guest professor, from 2006 to 2011 full professor at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

Isabella Gresser
Isabella Gresser is a visual artist living in Berlin since 1998. In addition to studies at the University of Fine Arts in Braunschweig with Marina Abramović, she has studied at the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK) as part of the Free Class. Her multilayered videos—in which distinctions between analog and digital technologies are foregrounded—encompass found-footage, drawings and photographs combined with literature. Main subjects in recent years have been Western and Eastern cultures, as well as sociology and philosophy referring to global tiredness and "Fatigue societies". Her latest film project is a 35 min. essayistic documentary filmed in Seoul, South Korea portraying the theses of Philosopher Byung-Chul Han from Berlin. She has been awarded residencies in Asian countries and her videos have screened at many international art and film festivals.

Caroline Koebel
In addition to curating and writing about artist's film and video, Caroline Koebel makes experimental cinema clashing aesthetics and politics. Retrospectives include Festival Cine//B (Santiago), the Centre for Contemporary Art at Ujazdowski Castle (Warsaw) and Directors Lounge (Berlin). She has also presented at Scope Art Fair (NYC), Edinburgh International Film Festival, European Media Art Festival (Osnabrack), LOOP Barcelona, and most recently as part of the globally touring 100x100=900 Project sponsored by the Magmart Festival (Naples). She holds a BA in Film Studies from UC Berkeley and an MFA in Visual Arts from UC San Diego, and is on faculty at Transart Institute (New York-Berlin).

Bernd Lützeler
Born in 1967 in Düsseldorf, Bernd Lützeler studied at University of the Arts Berlin, where he completed Maria Vedder's master class in 2003. Nowadays he lives and works as an artist and filmmaker between Berlin and Düsseldorf. In his works he often focuses on the aesthetics and perception of the moving image and sound, and their interrelation with technology and society. Several of his film- and video-projects have been produced in Mumbai, India, including his last film the Voice of God and the multimedia theatre performance K⁰. He is an active member of the artist-run, analogue film-collective LaborBerlin. Currently he works on his new experimental film Camera Threat.

Anna Marziano
Anna Marziano (1982, Italy) studied filmmaking at Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia (Rome) and Political Sciences (Padova). In 2009 she moved to France supported by the Film Commission Friuli Venezia Giulia Fellowship. She attended the Ateliers Varan (Paris) and participated in Le Fresnoy – Studio National (Tourcoing). Anna's practice explores the construction of contemporary identity through a film process that questions subjectivity, social roles and multiple singularities, often involving a collaborative practice. Her films are screened internationally (Toronto International Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Torino International Film Festival, LIDF London) and are distributed by Nomadica – Circuito per il cinema autonomo. She lives in Berlin.

Deborah S. Phillips
Deborah S. Phillips makes pictures in various analog media: 2-D, 3-D & 4-D. From 1988 - 2001, DSP was an active member in the Braunschweig-based artists' collective LABORATORIUM, where she began to work with film, while continuing to paint, make artists' books, installations and more. In 1996 her film BREAD was included in the Goethe Institute's touring program German Experimental Film of the Nineties. MOSAïC, an experimental 35mm 45 min. collage in which Moslem & Jewish ornament & sounds blend into each other, was made in cooperation with UNESCO. In 2007 she co-founded the artist's space now known as Kunstverein Neukölln, where she curates film screenings, exhibitions, performances, and installations. She is currently conducting research into the color blue, which will result in a 16mm film and slide collage performance as well as a series of paintings and a blue book.

Michael Poetschko
Michael Poetschko explores narratives of living/working/traveling/resisting within post-fordist and transnational realities, working with experimental forms of filmmaking, photography and writing. Michael studied Fine Art, Film/Video, Cultural Studies and Political Philosophy in Vienna, London and Berlin. He is co-founder of the art and research platform d/v.

Ben Russell
Ben Russell (b.1976, USA) is an itinerant media artist and curator whose films, installations, and performances foster a deep engagement with the history and semiotics of the moving image. Formal investigations of the historical and conceptual relationships between early cinema, visual anthropology, and structuralist filmmaking result in immersive experiences concerned at once with ritual, communal spectatorship and the pursuit of a “psychedelic ethnography.” He has had solo screenings and exhibitions at the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Rotterdam Film Festival, the Wexner Center for the Arts, the Viennale and the Museum of Modern Art NY. A 2008 Guggenheim Fellow and 2010 FIPRESCI award recipient for his feature film Let Each One Go Where He May, Ben began the Magic Lantern screening series in Providence, Rhode Island, was co-director of the artist-run space BEN RUSSELL in Chicago, IL, toured with film/video/performance programs world-wide and performed in a double-drum trio called BEAST. 

Sylvia Schedelbauer
Born in Tokyo, Sylvia Schedelbauer first moved to Berlin in 1993, where she has been based since. She studied at the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK) with Katharina Sieverding. Her films negotiate the space between broader historical narratives and personal, psychological realms mainly through poetic manipulations of found and archival footage. Selected screenings: the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, the London Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, the Robert Flaherty International Film Seminar and the Stan Brakhage Symposium. Awards include the VG Bildkunst Award, the German Film Critics' Award and the Gus Van Sant Award for Best Experimental Film.

Daniel Steegmann Mangrané
Daniel Steegmann Mangrané (Barcelona, 1977) has had numerous solo shows including Phasmides, Mendes Wood, São Paulo; Cipó, Taioba, Yví, Casa França Brasil, Rio de Janeiro; and Duna económica / Maqueta sin calidad, Halfhouse, Barcelona. Suicide Narcissus is currently on view at the Renaissance Society, Chicago. Group shows include Out of the Blue, Centro de Arte 2 de Mayo, Madrid; Tropicalia Negra, Museo Experimental el Eco, Mexico DF; The Imminence of Poetics, 30ª São Paulo Biennial, São Paulo; Ambiguações, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro; Pindorama Suit, Rongwrong, Amsterdam; and Forgotten Bar Project / Galerie im Riegerungsviertel, Berlin. He has received grants and prizes from MUSAC, Ciutat d'Olot, CoNCA, ABC Prize, Miquel Casablancas, José García Jiménez Foundation, and Akademie der Kunste. Besides his artistic practice, Daniel Steegmann Mangrané co-organizes the experimental school Universidade de Verão at Capacete, Rio de Janeiro.

Kino B: Contemporary Cinema by Berlin-based Artists          Caroline Koebel Curating