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Mar 23, 2017 at 8:30 pm

South Africa: crossing the river without a bridge

US Premiere followed by conversation with Martha Rosler and Mathilde Walker-Billaud

South Africa: crossing the river without a bridge is a work-in-progress based on the tapes from Rosler’s time in South Africa a few months after Nelson Mandela’s release in 1990, in which she taught at the University and worked with community groups. She has been working with the resulting footage periodically, about once a decade, ever since. In its relentless movement through spaces and conversations, it presents a multi-dimensional portrait of housing injustice in action.


South Africa: crossing the river without a bridge

68 min., 2016

68 min

Martha Rosler’s work focuses on the public sphere and landscapes of everyday life, especially as they affect women. Her early feminist videos Semiotics of the Kitchen (1975) and Vital Statistics of a Citizen, Simpy Obtained (1977) are now considered classics. Her works addressing housing, homelessness, and urban processes, including the role of artists in gentrification, have been staged in many cities and countries since 1989, most recently in Manhattan in 2015. Rosler lives and works in Brooklyn.

Mathilde trained and worked as an editor and a cultural producer in Paris. She was a Program Officer for the Book Office at the French Embassy (www.frenchculture.org) and at Villa Gillet in the USA (www.wallsandbridges.net). She now works freelance in New York City.

What You Get Is What You See is an ongoing forum about the way we spectate.

In a world saturated with information, images and noises, where the frontiers between fact and fiction are blurring, we hope to offer a critical space where we can discuss the exhibition and hyper-dramatization of reality.

Focusing more on the process than the product, the program curated by Mathilde Walker-Billaud investigates the role of spectatorship in creative practice. UnionDocs invites filmmakers, artists and writers to share their personal observations as viewers, readers, watchers, listeners and audience members. Using their trained gaze and acute sensitivity, the guests will expose reception as an everyday dynamic act.

This presentation is made possible in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts’ 2017 Electronic Media and Film Presentation Funds Grant program, administered by The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes.

Who's Attending

22 people are attending South Africa: crossing the river without a bridge

  • Steven Thomson
  • Sarah Wesseler
  • Zoe Graham
  • amelie garin-davet
  • Adele Eisenstein
  • Syuzanna Spertsyan
  • Bernardo Garcia
  • Jim Supanick
  • Emma Macdonald
  • Rachel Buchholtzer
  • Merran Swartwood
  • Althea Wasow
  • Brian Yoshida
  • Lisa Riordan Seville
  • Karen Zasloff
  • Walis Johnson
  • Jaime Stock
  • Ernest Larsen
  • Margaret Ahwesh
  • Lukas Vrbka
  • Anthony Simon
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Mar 23, 2017
8:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Free – $10


BROOKLYN, NY 11211 United States

UnionDocs is grateful for support from:

UnionDocs Memberships 

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Collaborative Studio

An expansively designed program that offers a platform for exploring contemporary approaches to the documentary arts and a process for developing an innovative collaborative project.




An immersive performance based on an unforgettable amateur audio recording made over 60 years ago.