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Sep 19, 2010 at 8:30 pm

WHAT WAS HERE BEFORE? Arsenal shorts with Stefanie Schulte Strathaus

With Stefanie Schulte Strathaus, Shelly Silver and Paul Rowley

The program collects films that are asking the same questions: What was here before? And how can you show it if it’s not there anymore? When and how did absence turn into presence? Does it always do that?

It also connects places in East and West, New York, Berlin and Warsaw. Shanghai and Venice. Not only through images, but also through the people who made the films (and are in them): For them, 1984 had been fiction and 1989 a reality. They are from a generation that has been producing images and sounds before and after the Berlin Wall, in East and West, until today.

Program runtime is 62 minutes.

a-b-city by Dieter Hormel and Brigitte Bühler BRD 1985, 8 minutes, digital projection

Accompanied by a score using music of Pere Ubu and Einstürzende Neubauten, a-b-city revolves around West-Berlin’s psychodelic atmosphere. Brigitte Bühler and Dieter Hormel, who were renown for their fast paced and skillfully edited Super-8 clips, mix TV images and time-lapse shots of nightly streets, drifting clouds, and a men continuously jumping in front of the Berlin Wall, bringing about an impression of the enclosed city that constantly shifts between ecstasis and depression. (Text: Florian Wüst)

Haunt No. 1-3 by Niklas Goldbach 2007, 2 minutes, digital projection

Haunt No. 1, Video Loop, 35 sec., Stereo

Assistance: Daniel Reuter

Haunt No. 2, Video Loop, 28 sec., Stereo

Assistance: Viktor Neumann

Haunt No. 3, Video Loop, 36 sec., Stereo

Assistance: Viktor Neumann

The video triptych focuses on the historical background and the future of up to now abandoned places in Berlin’s former working-class district Prenzlauer Berg where the gentrification process is almost accomplished.

5 lessons and 9 questions about Chinatown by Shelly Silver USA, 2009, 10 minutes, digital projection

You live somewhere, walk down the same street 50, 100, 10,000 times, each time taking in fragments, but never fully registering THE PLACE. Years, decades go by and you continue,unseeing, possibly unseen. A building comes down, and before the next one is up you ask yourself ‘what used to be there?’ You are only vaguely aware of the district’s shifting patterns and the sense that, since the 19th century, wave after wave of inhabitants have moved through and transformed these alleyways, tenements, stoops and shops.

10 square blocks, past, present, future, time, light, movement, immigration, exclusion, gentrification, racism, history, China, America, 3 languages, 13 voices, 152 years, 17,820 frames, 9 minutes, 54 seconds, 9 questions, 5 lessons, Chinatown.

View Excerpt

Former East/Former West by Shelly Silver USA, 1994, excerpt 10-15 minutes digital projection

Made up of hundreds of street interviews done in Berlin two years after the Reunification, FORMER EAST/FORMER WEST is a vital, surprisingly closed, and at times disturbing documentary. Silver questions the very notion of a shared language, focusing on changing definitions of words for political and economic systems – democracy, freedom, capitalism, socialism, nationality and history.

Magnetic [eye] Berlin by Gunter Krüger Germany, 2007 / 08, excerpt 10 minutes, digital projection

Since 1997, Gunter Krüger has been archiving media fragments which he finds on the street – broken audiotapes, scraps of VHS and discarded compact discs. At the location he records additional filmic notes.

In the second part of the “Magnetic [eye]” series, “Magnetic [eye] Berlin”, a selection of media fragments forms a portrait of his living space. The film is designed as a generative structure, i.e. there is no final version.

In 2007 and 2008, three different playlists were made, each varying in both the selection of the media fragments as well as their compilation. By integrating new modules, new playlists with predefined running times can be created for each screening.

Nullpanorama by Martin Ebner

Germany, 2003, 1 minute, digital projection

The ascent and decent of an advertiser’s captive balloon over the roofs of the capital.

Proprio Aperto by Judith Hopf, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Florian Zeyfang

Germany / USA, 2005, 6 minutes, digital projection

The single channel video and installation work PROPRIO APERTO, which was first presented in February 2005 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago in the exhibition, “Universal Experience: Art, Life and the Tourist’s Eye,” shows a walk taken through the giardini, the grounds of the Venice Biennale, in winter.

The conversations that took place there among Judith Hopf, Natascha Sadr-Hadhighian and Florian Zeyfang result in a text that circles around landscapes of ruin, ghosts and the Dasein in cultural hegemony. The images — actually photographs — are presented in slow pans, and the various levels of destruction of the pavilion come more and more into the center.

The tone of voice and language congenially conveys the suitably contemplative mood during the walk, which carries over to the spectator.

The Rooms (excerpt) by Tim Blue and Paul Rowley

USA 2010, 5 minutes, digital projection

With rich sound design and diverse formats, THE ROOMS is an experimental study of an abandoned world that somehow continues to operate. This excerpt feautures the HAU 1 / Hebbel am Ufer, a historical theater in Berlin, that turned into a cultural space for contemporary experimental and innovative theater and performance art (HAU 1).

We will be strong in our weakness. Notes from the first congress of the Jewish Renaissance in Poland.Performance by Yael Bartana with Susanne Sachsse and Slawomir Sierakowski Israel/Netherlands/Poland, 2010, 15 minutes, digital video projection

Jewish Renaissance movement in Poland, Tel-Aviv/Amsterdam/Warsaw

Stefanie Schulte Strathaus is a film and video curator who lives and works in Berlin. She 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 and founding director of Forum Expanded, a new section of the Berlin International Film Festival which negotiates the boundaries of cinema. Her curatorial work comprises numerous film programs, retrospectives and exhibitions, among them Michael Snow, Guy Maddin, Heinz Emigholz, Birgit Hein, Ulrike Ottinger, Stephen Dwoskin and many others. She recently co-curated (with Susanne Sachsse and Marc Siegel) LIVE FILM! JACK SMITH! Five Flaming Days in A Rented World (October 2009).

Her texts have been published in Frauen und Film, The Moving ImageTexte zur Kunst, Ästhetik & Kommunikation, Schriftenreihe Kinemathek as well as in various festival and exhibition catalogues. She is the editor of: Kinemathekheft Nr. 93: Germaine Dulac (with Sabine Nessel and Heide Schlüpmann), Berlin 2002; “The Memo Book. Films, Videos and Installations by Matthias Müller”, Berlin: Vorwerk 8, 2005; “The Primal Scene: Christine Noll Brinckmann. Films and Texts”, Berlin: arsenal edition, 2008; “Who says concrete doesn’t burn, have you tried? West Berlin Film in the ’80s” (with Florian Wüst), Berlin: arsenal edition, 2008. www.arsenal-berlin.de

Paul Rowley was born 1971 in Dublin. He has worked for more than ten years as a filmmaker and visual artist.

His critically acclaimed feature documentary Seaview, which he co-directed with Nicky Gogan, premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and has toured festivals internationally since.

Together with David Phillips, Paul completed a collection of films to accompany a live performance of John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes, premiered at The Stone in New York in collaboration with pianist Emily Manzo. They recently completed a 60 screen permanent video installation in the international terminal at LAX airport.

Paul was artist in residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida with Gillian Wearing, and has received many awards from the Irish Arts Council for his work since 1997. He was a fellow at the Macdowell Artist Colony in New Hampshire, and the Bogliasco Foundation, Italy. He was awarded a residency at the Experimental Television Center in New York, which led to a grant from NYCSA, the New York State Council for the Arts. He lives in Dublin and Brooklyn.

See also www.condensate.net and http://www.stillfilms.org

Shelly Silver is a New York based artist utilizing video, film and photography. Her work, which spans a wide range of subject matter and genres, explores the personal and societal relations that connect and restrict us; the indirect routes of pleasure and desire; the stories that are told about us and the stories we construct about ourselves.

Silver’s work has been exhibited and broadcast widely throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia. Screenings and installations have been mounted by venues such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the International Center of Photography in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Yokohama Museum, the Pompidou Center, the Kyoto Museum, the London Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Museo Reina Sofia, and the London, Singapore, New York, Moscow, and Berlin film festivals. Her work has been broadcast on BBC/England, PBS/USA, Arte, Planete/Europe, RTE/Ireland, SWR/Germany, and Atenor/Spain. Silver’s numerous fellowships and grants include awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the NEA, NYSCA, NYFA, the DAAD, the Jerome Foundation, the Japan Foundation and Anonymous was a Woman. She is based in New York where she is an Associate Professor of Visual Arts in the School of the Arts, Columbia University.

Presented in collaboration with Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art (Berlin)


the Goethe-Institut New York.




Sep 19, 2010
8:30 pm – 12:30 am

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