Over the course of three programs comprising short films, feature-length films and video art, we will look into manufactured virtual dimensions, parallel realities used to escape, reflect, critique or control the physical realm. The first episode consists of four video works that each propose a virtual, immersive landscape – simulations that still very much deal with our physical realities. The second episode proposes different ways of looking at the city; through live webcams, maps and virtual re-fabrication. In the third and last program we will focus on the use of surveillance technologies used in warfare.
How To Disappear | Total Refusal |
“How to Disappear” is an anti-war movie in the true sense of the word, searching for possibilities for peace in the most unlikely place of an online war game. It’s a tribute to disobedience and desertion – in both digital and physical-real warfare.
Shot in the picturesque war landscapes of “Battlefield V”, the hyperreal graphics become the backdrop for an essay-like narrative. The film revolves around the history of deserters – a part of human history, which has hardly been illuminated. Performances and creative interventions explore the scopes and limits of the audiovisual entertainment machine.
Information Skies | Metahaven
Information Skies takes place in a forest somewhere in the not-too-distant future. The film, with an otherworldly soundscape, fuses three genres – live action, anime-like animation and digital abstraction – creating fragmented territories, attractive and terrifying at the same time. It questions how deep immersion in digital augmentation, combined with our persisting emotional limits as humans, is altering our capacity to decide on what constitutes ‘reality’.
Bodyless | Hsin-Chien Huang
Taiwan was under martial law from 1949 to 1987, and throughout this period the secret police and the army kept a close watch on the population—they saw citizens as no more than numbers and functions. Director and artist Hsin-Chien Huang, who experienced the end of this period as a child, sees parallels with the modern-day use of big data, artificial intelligence and digital surveillance to monitor and manipulate the masses. In Bodyless, he interweaves childhood memories and ultramodern technology to create a surreal fairy tale environment through which we literally fly using VR technology.
Transformation Scenario | Clemens von Wedemeyer
Simulated life began in the movies and computer games, but is influencing many fields today. In architecture, city planning, traffic navigation, and market and trade predictions, virtual scenarios of human behavior change the way we live. Transformation Scenario creates a speculative narration on the impact of emulated group behaviour in society.
So Settler, Are You A Pioneer? | Wouter Stroet
In the spring of 2017 there was a gas explosion in the Schaafstraat, a street in the Hamerkwartier in Amsterdam Noord. Back then Wouter Stroet used to live in that same street. After the fire two contemporary art galleries opened together with a warehouse for a craft beer brewery. The area that got completely destroyed by the fire now functions as a parking lot. Through documenting the material remains of the site he aims to investigate and digitally preserve the cracks, the spill-overs and the grow-overs to capture what was once a building in a neighborhood that is now rapidly changing.
Unrendered Road | Tali Liberman
Today we encounter the world through the prism of seemingly neutral, digital apps owned by tech giants. Unrendered Road traces the road between two ancient cities: Jerusalem and Jericho. A journey that Google Maps will not show you. By assembling conflicting perceptual readings, the reliability of existing knowledge systems is questioned.
Live Streaming US | Paula Albuquerque
Live Streaming US is a visual essay using footage exclusively generated by publicly accessible webcams. The cinematic potential of the seemingly random surveillance visuality being archived for future access and categorization is here used for adding another layer of interpretation to both the works of Leo Gabin and Harmony Korine, themselves interpretations of the contemporary visual output of American culture. This film builds a construct of available live representations that are edited as a triptych. The only text available is the title cards that divide the three sections of the film that seemingly catalogue the imagery.
A Crackup At The Race Riots | Leo Gabin
A Crackup at the Race Riots by Belgian artist trio Leo Gabin is inspired by Harmony Korine’s book of the same name. Taking Florida as their location of choice, the directors have put together a collage of images found on YouTube, consisting mainly of home movies that depict the internalization of MTV culture, for instance, or drug abuse and natural disasters. By appropriating such material, Leo Gabin offer us imagery associated with negative yet realistic depictions of the so-called American Dream, an interpretation of a social and political reality built along the lines of Korine’s novel, which in turn is seemingly at random collects story snippets with alleged documentary value. When asked about the implications of using footage produced by others, Leo Gabin reply: “That’s the beauty of appropriation art, using elements normally not considered art or having a non-art function to create a new work.” In other words: borrowing from culture produces culture, despite claims of authorship.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat. | Paula Albuquerque
“Wash. Rinse. Repeat. gives us a glimpse of the psychology of a sensor operator. The work incorporates a letter which a whistleblower – traumatised by the consequences of killing people from a distance – wrote to MIT professor Lisa Parks, and is included in her book Life in the Age of Drone Warfare. The letter is taken out of its academic context and put in a public space, with an American voice-over reading fragments from it. It is accompanied by Paula’s own footage, combined with stock images from the internet made with different types of infrared cameras and drones – glitches of mountain imagery, of somebody walking through forests. Without illustrating the spoken words, the images leave space for the imagination to roam in these undefined spaces. Close by one can see a space blanket similar to those used by people who have undergone trauma.”
There Will Be No More Night | Éléonore Weber IDFA x Kriterion
An intense documentary about the tremendous tension between observation and interpretation. The pilots and gunners of attack helicopters who carry out nighttime missions in war zones make decisions with far-reaching consequences, not only for their targets, but for themselves as well; the fear of making a mistake is ever-present.
During their flights, the soldiers use thermal cameras to observe movement on the ground: anything that gives off heat lights up. From a distance, landscapes, villages, people, and animals become abstract patches of light and dark, lines, surfaces, and contours. Is the figure among them a Taliban fighter with a Kalashnikov or a shepherd with a stick?
Filmmaker Éléonore Weber had access to video recordings of French and American missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. A French helicopter pilot related his often-shocking experiences to her. What begins as a monotone video essay gradually develops a powerful tension, because as viewers we find ourselves in the pilot’s seat. We catch fragments of conversations between crew members; we look, zoom in, interpret, hesitate—and then comes the explosion.