Past Imperfect / Program


An evening on… Memory

Thursday 23 April 2009, 20:00 (installations & performance Aki Onda start at 18:30), Vooruit Domzaal, Gent.

Program produced by Courtisane as part of the Courtisane Festival 2009 (Gent, 23 – 26 April 2009)

“One need not be a chamber to be haunted;
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
Material place.”
— Emily Dickinson

Aki Onda
Cassette Memories


Musician, composer and visual artist Aki Onda (JP) is always on the lookout, camera and sound recorder at hand, ready to document his travels and encounters. He looks for meaning in the accumulation of those memories, when the specific experiences fade out and the architecture and essence of the memory reveals itself. His ongoing project Cassette Memories consists of a series of performances, or rituals, where he lets memories, recorded on soundtape, wander and collide with the sounds of the site-specific memory.

“For the past two decades, I have been using the cassette Walkman for making field recordings which I keep as a sound diary. I consider these recordings to be personal memories, and not just sounds. I compose my music by physically manipulating Walkmans by hand, re-collecting and re-constructing concrete sounds. What emerges from my sound memories is a sonic collage of ritualistic tape music. I call this project “Cassette Memories.” By documenting fragments of sound from my personal life, something is revealed in the accumulation. The meanings of the original events are stripped of their significance, exposing the architecture of memory. There is a strong reference in my work to French electro-acoustic music that originated with Pierre Schaeffer, one of the pioneers of electro-acoustic music. There is further reference to filmmaking, as evidenced by the integral role that editing plays in my composing. My high regard for avant-garde films of the 20th century can be felt here. With ‘Cassette Memories,’ I create a sonic landscape where music exists in the relationship between sound and visual art.”

Gill Arnò


mpld is Gill Arnò’s mixed media performance project. Its focus is on the relationships that can be established between sound, image, light and space, considered in their phenomenological and conceptual dimensions. Memory, territory, identity and the sense of belonging are recurring themes, approached trough the use of various found materials that are assembled combining analog empiricism with the abstraction of digital hyperreality. The photoacoustic continuum of mpld’s amplified slide projection slowly flows into the performance space carrying fragments from unidentified places and times. Fades and cuts play with memory’s subjective persistence, as light and darkness keep carving out each one from the other. The mechanical sounds of this projection are tapped and processed to become its own soundtrack. Color, density, texture, frequency become simultaneous qualities of the light and the sound, as they are explored in a way somewhat analogue to the distorted enlargement of a magnifying glass.

Gill Arnò (US/IT) was born in Italy, where he studied art and typography before moving to New York in 1997. His current work includes video, photography, print, sound recording and composition, installations and live performance. Arnò often collaborates on- and off-stage with other artists. He publishes books, recordings and other multiples via his own imprint, unframed, and runs Fotofono, a small studio in Brooklyn where sometimes public events are held.

Associazione Home Movies – La camera ottica
Circo Togni

With Andrea Belfi, Stefano Pilia, Benjamin Francart, Xavier Garcia Bardon.


A series of 8mm films shot by the Togni family, the famous dynasty of circus artists, between the 1940s and the 1970s. Darix, a legend, and his family: the men, the women, the children, the animals. Always on the move, because the circus never stops. And when it isn’t in the foreground, it’s in the background. But the movie camera struggles to focus on special moments of a family that should be like so many others: the children growing up, the parties, the games, the seaside.

“The films were found inside a circus wagon in horrible shape. Time and poor conservation had had their effects on them, making it impossible to project them. We found them stuck together, encrusted by humidity, mold, dust, horribly dirty. Thanks to new cleaning techniques we experimented with, we were able to recuperate almost all of them. The images reappeared. This is a first selection we have put to live music. Like Rossellini’s works, they are intimate and, naturally, in progress.”

Associazione Home Movies – Archivio filmico della memoria familiare (IT) is an emerging and innovative organization devoted to collecting and preserving Italian home movies.
Andrea Belfi (IT) and Stefano Pilia (IT) are among the vanguard of a new generation of Italian sound pioneers, exploring the outer limits of the electro-acoustic domain in a wide variety of configurations, moving freely between improvisation and composition. They play solo, together with Giuseppe Ielasi, Dean Roberts or David Grubbs or in bands like 3/4HadBeenEliminated, Black Forest Black Sea, Christa Pfangen, and Rosolina Mar. Their albums have appeared on labels like Time-Lag, Last Visible Dog, Häpna and Die Schachtel.
Xavier Garcia Bardon (BE) and Benjamin Francart (BE) are both members of the Brussels based improv collective Buffle, who have described their music as “Like monkeys trying to play tennis? An experimental playground for snails? Psychedelic pop played by children? We like to play every kind of music: popsy, punki’s, m’n’m’s, bluesy style, reggaes, funx, techno, country & western and typical walloonisch ritornels… but we’re basically just trying to be a rock band.” They released work on labels such as Lal Lal Lal, Ultra Eczema and Breaking World Records. Also check out their solo stuff as Saule and Benjamin Franklin.

Alvin Lucier

(Ghent) Memory Space (1970)
For any number of singers and players of acoustic instruments


“Go to outside environments (urban, rural, hostilc, bcnign) and record by any means (memory, written notations, tape recordings) the sound situations of those environments. Returning to an inside performance space at any later time, re-create, solely bv means of your voices and instruments and with the aid of your memory devices (without additions, deletions, improvisation, interpretation) those outside sound situations. When using tape recorders as memory devices, wear headphones to avoid an audible mix of the recorded sounds with the re-created ones.”

Performed by Thomas Smetryns, Heleen Van Haegenborgh, Kristof Roseeuw & Michael Weilacher

Alvin Lucier

Nothing is real (Strawberry Fields Forever) (1990)
for piano & teapot with miniature sound system


“During this work, fragments of the melody are played and sustained as clusters. The performance is recorded on a cassette tape recorder. After the last fragment has been played, the tape is rewound and played back through a small loudspeaker hidden inside a teapot. During the playback, the lid of the pot is raised and lowered, changing the resonance characteristics of the pot. Twice during the performance the pot itself is lifted off the lid of the piano, causing the resonances to disappear completely.”

Performed by Heleen Van Haegenborgh

Alvin Lucier (VS) is an American composer of experimental music and sound installations that explore acoustic phenomena and auditory perception. Lucier was a member of the influential Sonic Arts Union, which included Robert Ashley, David Behrman, and Gordon Mumma. Much of his work is influenced by science and explores the physical properties of sound itself: resonance of spaces, phase interference between closely-tuned pitches, and the transmission of sound through physical media. He has pioneered in many areas of music composition and performance, including the notation of performers’ physical gestures, the use of brain waves in live performance, the generation of visual imagery by sound in vibrating media, and the evocation of room acoustics for musical purposes.

Jasper Rigole
Paradise Recollected

2008, video, colour, sound, English spoken, 33′


Paradise Recollected is compiled out of archive material from The International Institute for the Conservation, Archiving and Distribution of Other people’s Memories (IICADOM, a fictive institute founded by the artist Jasper Rigole (BE)). This archive consists mainly of found 8mm films, sourced from flea markets and garage sales. These are amateur films, travelogues and family documents whose main purpose is to remember certain occasions. Paradise Recollected takes a Medieval description of ‘the land of Cockaigne’ as a starting point. This anonymous, Middle Dutch text describes a dreamland which is the basis for later descriptions of ‘the land of plenty’. In the film, the internal logic of this fictive country is linked to the typical elements which give the family home movie its own language.

Somewhere in Time / Program


Explorations in Memory and History

Courtisane Festival 2009. Gent, 23 – 26 April 2009.
Curated by Stoffel Debuysere and María Palacios Cruz, in cooperation with Courtisane.

“As we know, there are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.”
Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, February 12, 2002.

These were Rumsfeld’s flamboyant words to refer to the unstable situation in Afghanistan following the American intervention in 2001, but they could also be used to situate the relationship between memory and history. One category is lacking : “the things we don’t know we know”, a past that is forgotten, oppressed, silenced, disavowed; a knowledge which has found shelter in the deepest regions of our personal or cultural conscience, hard to be accessed by language and memory. It is there that the polarity between history and memory is most sharply expressed; where fact and fiction, imagination and document, flow into each other; where different possibilities and temporalities coexist and the distinction between the true, the actual and the potential is blurred. It’s an idea of “History” in contradiction with traditional linear narratives, obsessively-driven by an idea of constant progress. Instead it evokes the crisis of the modern historical referent, more fragile and unstable than ever before. In this era of media saturation, in which spatial and temporal distances have been erased and a growing memory industry has made the most distant places and times available for instant replay, the call to rethink the relationships between past, present and future resonates louder and louder. The film and video artists in this programme search for the actual and virtual tensions and interactions between knowing and not knowing, between the public and the private, between history and memory, there where they meet : in the terrain of media.*


Program 1
Saturday 25.04.2009, 13:00, Cinema Sphinx

Leslie Thornton
Let Me Count the Ways : Minus 10, 9, 8, 7

US, 2004, video, colour, English and Japanese spoken, 22’

Let Me Count the Ways is a series of meditations on violence and fear, and their reverberations on cultural history. The episodes have been built out of a mixture of personal reflections and diverse image material which present the phenomenology of fear with an intensity that breaks abruptly the border between past and present. Just as in earlier work, Thornton explores the social effects of new technologies and media, but here she goes deeper into autobiographical territory, suggesting we are all involved in these developments.

Soon-Mi Yoo
Dangerous Supplement

SKR/US, 2006, video, colour, sound, 14’

In her work, Soon-Mi Yoo investigates the peripheral histories of Korea, as a personal exploration of alienation, loss and the atrocities of war. This video is a compilation of landscape images, filmed by the American troops during the Korea war. These damaged places are flawed and incomplete, many are being lost just as they are seen. She asks herself : “is it possible to see the landscape of the past even though it was first seen by the other’s murderous gaze?”. By juxtaposing these images, Yoo creates a space where connections can be made between personal experience and public memory, historical perspective and private suffering.

Rea Tajiri
History and Memory: For Akiko and Takeshige

US, 1991, video, colour and b&w, English spoken, 30′

“A search for a non-existent image, a desire to create an image where there is none,” culminates in a critical reflection on the relationship between documented history and non-registered memories. Through interviews and diverse archive material, Tajiri goes in search of her family’s story during WWII, as thousands of Japanese Americans were taken to internment camps. She explores the influence of images in the construction of memory and identity, asking herself why certain images grow into historical symbols, whereas others are obstinately suppressed.


Program 2
Saturday 25.04.2009 14:30, Film-Plateau

Matthew Buckingham
Situation Leading to a Story

US, 1999, 16 mm, b/w, English spoken, 21′

“The past is never dead. It’s not even the past”. This quote by American writer William Faulkner could situate quite accurately the work of Matthew Buckingham. In his installations, he assembles and reinterprets historical documents and representations as a way to question the relationship between past and present. Situation Leading to a Story is based on four amateur films from the 1920’s that Buckingham found on the streets of New York. The search for the origin and context of these private images leads to a criticism on the ways in which images of the past are used as a fantasy of history.

Philip Hoffman
On the Pond

CA, 1978, 16mm, b/w, English spoken, 9’

Hoffman’s first film already presents all the characteristics of his later diary filmmaking: a fascination for family history and the reconstruction of memory, but also a complex temporal structure that dismantles the conventions of documentary filmmaking. A series of photo portraits is the basis for an intimate investigation on the way identity relies on the familiar system of role play, projection and fantasy. Hoffman breaks the thin ice between document and fiction, fact and imagination, past and present, revealing the fissures and rip tides that hide beneath the misleading calm surface.

Rebecca Baron
The Idea of North

US, 1995, 16mm, b/w, sound, English spoken, 14′

In the guise of a historiographical study on an failed expedition to the Arctic in 1897, Baron investigates the limitations of images and other forms of documentation as a historical reference, and the paradoxical relationship between the temporality of the moving image and the stillness of photography, between historical time and “real time”. Or how the image, regarded as a necessary condition for both memory and history, says everything and nothing at the same time .

Hollis Frampton

US, 1971, 16mm, b/w, sound, English spoken, 36’

A series of pictures burn one after the other, while a voice comments on the content of the photos. What begins as an ironic look upon a personal past evolves into a Borgesian game with cinematographic time, in which past and future are based on the disjunction between sound and image. Smoke and ashes get in our eyes while we are trying to make sense of the image and the narration, in an attempt to remember the story that fits the image, or the image that fits the story. In Frampton’s words : “(nostalgia) is mostly about words and the kind of relationship words can have to images. I began probably as a kind of non-poet, as a kid, and my first interest in images probably had something to do with what clouds of words could rise out of them…I think there is kind of a shift between what is now memory and what was once conjecture and prophecy and so forth.”


Program 3
Saturday 25.04.2009, 16:00, Film-Plateau

James Benning
American Dreams (lost and found)

US, 1983, 16mm, colour, sound, English spoken, 56′

In the 1980’s James Benning – a key figure of American avant-garde cinema – made a series of films in which his rigorously structured explorations of time and space were injected with a fascination for aspects of American memory. American Dreams is constructed as a simultaneous, chronological presentation of the filmmaker’s collection of Hank Aaron memorabilia (who was an idol of the young Benning, a good pitcher himself), written excerpts from the diary of Arthur Bremer (Benning’s neighbour in Milwaukee, who would attempt to assassinate Alabama governor and presidential candidate George Wallace in 1972) and a compilation of radio fragments. The result is muti-layered constellation of image, text and sound, which develops into a personal meditation on growing old, race, masculinity, popular culture and political transformations during one of the most turbulent periods of recent American history.


Program 4
Saturday 25.04.2009, 17:30, Cinema Sphinx

Nora Martirosyan

FR/AM, 2007, video, colour and b&w, English version, 44′

1937 : the year that Nora Dagabian’s father was arrested in Yerevan the capital of Armenia, during the Stalinist ethnic cleansing operations by the Soviet Army. Martirosyan combines interviews with Nora, now 70 years old, with archive images and re-enactments. The different temporalities overlap; stories and words become mixed up; images pass from one to the other; voices are superimposed, dubbed, transferred from one body to the other. A reflection on the process of remembering and the relationship between individual and collective memory.

The Otolith Group

UK, 2003, video, colour, English spoken, 22’20

This video essay suggests a post-nuclear future in which humankind has been confined to outer space. The narrator is a fictional descendant of Anjalika Sagar, one of The Otolith Group members. She looks back at several generations of women from her family, linking her own experiences with those of Sagar’s grandmother, an Indian feminist in the 1960’s. Her attempt to understand the multiple dimensions of the historical and the evolutionary generates a number of images, which include the fragmented histories and utopian aspirations of the 20th century. Otolith presents a “past-potential-future”, making possible an alternative perspective on the present.


Program 5
Sunday 26.04.2009, 14:30, Film-Plateau

Black Audio Film Collective
Handsworth Songs

UK, 1986, 16mm, colour and b&w, English spoken, 61′

BAFC was a British collective of filmmakers active in the 1980’s and 1990’s who expressed their radical views on the post-colonial decline of the imperialistic world order, the disastrous socio-economic effects of Thatcher’s doctrine and the meaning of the diasporic condition in an evenly radical way. Handsworth Songs explores the origins of the riots in the Birmingham district of Handsworth, where the local black community rose against a political policy that they considered as a return to colonialism. In contrast with the didactic panoptic impulse of the documentary film tradition, filmmaker John Akomfrah chose an open, polytonic structure where eye-witness accounts, mediated voice-overs and a mosaic of sound, intersperse with a poetic montage of archive footage. The inherent historical discourses are dismantled, and in result the impressions of the past gain a new place in the constellation of the present, as a promise to the future. “There are no stories in the riots, only the ghosts of other stories”.


Program 6
Sunday 26.04.2009, 23:00, Cinema Sphinx

Kevin Jerome Everson
According to…

US, 2007, 16mm on video, b/w, English spoken, 9’

In his films, sculptures, photographies, artist books and paintings, Kevin Jerome Everson responds to daily materials, conditions, tasks and gestures of people of African descent in North America, illuminating, as he puts it, the “the relentlessness of everyday life”. In According to…, stories of interracial murders in southern rural America are told twice, offering different versions of the tragic events. Everson combines found footage and newly shot material to reflect on the experience of African-Americans before the rise of the Civil Rights movement.

Walid Ra’ad & The Atlas Group
The Dead Weight of a Quarrel Hangs

LB/US, 1996-1999, video, colour, English and Arabic spoken, 17’

A videotape in three parts exploring the possibilities and limits of writing a history of the Lebanese civil wars (1975-1991). Constructed out of innocent and everyday material, the tapes do not intend to document what really happened, but instead choose to explore what could be imagined. In his works, Walid Ra’ad analyses mass media images and narratives on war, and more precisely the Lebanese civil wars, in order to re-write a history in which notions like ‘experience’, ‘time’, ‘evidence’, ‘testimony’ all intermingle.

Julia Meltzer & David Thorne
It’s not my memory of it: three recollected documents

US, 2003, video, colour, English spoken, 25’

The document – its production, collection, circulation, reception and sociological effects – is at the centre of the work of Julia Metzer and David Thorne (aka The Speculative Archive). In It’s not my memory of it, three recollected documents – the account of a former CIA source in Iran in 1979, the burial at sea of six Soviet sailors conducted in a U.S. Navy ship during the Cold War, and a publicly acknowledged but top-secret U.S. missile strike in Yemen in 2002 – provoke a reflection on the dynamic of a knowing and not knowing, addressing the question of the expansion and intensification of secrecy practices in the current climate of heightened security.

Vision Machine
Show of Force

UK, 2004-2007, video, colour, sound, 20’

Vision Machine is a collective based in East London that works with communities to recover – and recover from – historic trauma. Show of Force is part of a three-year project with palm-plantation workers in North Sumatra investigating the campaign of anti-Communist terror instigated by British and American intelligence services that waged in the Indonesian archipelago after October 1965, causing the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people. As Vision Machine members Michael Uwemedimo and Joshua Oppenheimer explain “To excavate the history of the massacres, Vision Machine has developed a method that is best thought of as an archaeological performance. Between a buried historical event, and its re-staging with historical actors, this method opens a process of simultaneous historical excavation and
histrionic reconstruction”.

1. sponsored by suppressed policy sportsmanship – something about the war, 4′
2. DATE: no date, 6′
3. William Egan Colby – 64 days ago, 10′

In 1965, Indonesia president Sukarno was overthrown by military general Suharto. The CIA provided equipment. The MI6 provided black propaganda. The US military provided training. The US State Department provided death lists. Between 500,000 and 2 million people were massacred in less than six months.10,500 people died at Sumatra’s Snake River.

In sponsored by suppressed policy sportsmanship – something about the war, footage of William Colby giving a speech on the progress of the Phoenix Program is taken from the National Archive in Washington, D.C. The Phoenix Program was a civilian extermination programme modelled, in part, after the ‘successful’ massacre of communists in 1965 Indonesia. The sound remains classified, and so Vision Machine employs a lip reader (who is deaf) to read Colby’s lips. It is not easy, because the footage is blurry, and the lip reader requires eight passes to produce even a fragmented sense of what Colby is saying. With each pass, the lip reader picks out more and more phrases – ‘from time to time’, ‘different religions’, ‘sportsmanship’ and ‘64 days ago’. The words from each pass are layered over the others, each at the same moment of utterance. This results in a thick and strangely contoured voice track – some moments become dense with the same words or phrases, a crowd of echoes seeming to issue from Colby’s mouth; at other moments different words are read from the same mouthing, the syllables of each interfering with those of the others to produce a perverse double (or triple) speak; some words are picked up on one pass and not another; different words are picked up on different passes.

As he mimes, he is mimicked – both mocked and mined for what he withholds. Some historical knowledge is yielded, something more is made known of the regional policy that he was instrumental in shaping and administering. But in place of an account of the murders, in place of the murderous directives, and in place of the voices of the murdered, we have footage of a small, bespectacled man in a suit, mouthing banalities in silence. This silence is telling, it speaks at once of the uncertainty of historical knowledge, and of the deliberate attempt to erase it.

In DATE: no date, two former death squad members re-visit the execution site on the banks of the Snake River. Each takes it in turn to play victim and executioner. Though they met for the first time only hours before the re-enactment, they keep up a perpetual banter, inspired at moments, and there’s a macabre hilarity to their madcap double act at others. One searches in vain for signs of authentic and difficult remembrance among the profusion of graphic detail. Instead, one finds a chilling pantomime, a performance that follows a seemingly shared script. This local scene is a perverse rehearsal of the massacre’s official history – a terrifying show of force.

In William Egan Colby (64 days ago), Samsuri, a local woodcutter, Ludruk opera performer and survivor of the massacres, is possessed by the spirit of William Colby during an improvised midnight performance. Here, the piece is also possessed by the sudden spectral intervention, because to accommodate this remarkable and unexpected cameo, the camera keeps filming, recording in real time Samsuri’s crisis, which halts the Ludruk performance, causing its scenery to be deconstructed around him as he lets out sibylline whispers and growls, as the rain falls and falls, as the audience disperses, as the spirit departs and Samsuri looks around bewildered at the now bare stage he is sitting on – the whole process in a single ten-minute take.

* inspired by Thomas Elsaesser, ‘History, Media, and memory – Three Discourses in Dispute?’, in Ulrik Ekman & Frederik Tygstrup (eds.), Witness : Memory, Representation, and the Media in Question, Museum Tusculanum, 2008.



Film Feedback
Screening/Talk by Guy Sherwin

Saturday 25 April 2009, 20:00, Cinema Sphinx
Program produced by Courtisane as part of the Courtisane Festival 2009 (Gent, 23 – 26 April 2009)

A key figure in British avant-garde cinema for already more than four decades, Guy Sherwin pushes the limits of cinema with his films, installation works and performances, in which he explores film’s fundamental properties : light and time. After studying painting at the Chelsea School of Art in the late 1960’s, Sherwin taught printing and processing at the London Film-Makers’ Co-op during the mid-70s, at the heyday of the British Structural Film Movement. He now teaches at Middlesex University and University of Wolverhampton, and collaborates on expanded cinema performances with his partner, Singaporean film and sound artist Lynn Loo. Concerned with seriality and live intervention, his work investigates questions such as the physical relationships between sound and image, the digital re-working of film, the mechanisms of projection, the methods of printing and the live interaction between performer and film.

In the course of his screening / talk at Courtisane, Sherwin will discuss ideas about time-looping and feedback that have influenced his film practice and show a series of films that were abandoned in the making, then resumed after a time lapse. As part of ‘An evening on…landscapes‘ (Friday 24.04), Guy Sherwin will present his live film-performance Paper Landscape for the first time in Belgium.

“There are 2 connected themes:
A. Ideas about time-looping and feedback that have influenced my film practice.
B. Films of mine that were abandoned in the making, then resumed after a time lapse.”

Part A

Paper Landscape
short clip from les Voutes Paris 2006 for those who missed the performance the previous evening, miniDV.

“Paper Landscape deals with the illusory space within the screen by referring to the material of the screen itself. It makes use of live performance played off against a film record of a past event.”

Man with Mirror
short clip. miniDV.

The filmmaker’s live interaction with his on-screen image which is projected onto a hand-held mirrored screen.

Refer to influences: still images from Annabel Nicholson’s Reel Time, William Raban 2’45”, and others such as Alvin Lucier, Steina Vasulka. miniDV

Tony Conrad, Film Feedback
1974, 16mm, colour, silent ,14′

Film Feedback was produced in ‘real time’ by processing and projecting the film while it was being shot. A negative image is shot from a small rear-projection screen, the film comes out of the camera continuously (in the dark room) and is immediately processed, dried, and projected on the screen.

Part B

Camden Road Station
1973/2003, for 3x 16mm projectors, colour, silent, 9′

Stationary shots of a station platform repeated across three screens. Trains and people waiting and departing, arriving and leaving.

Da Capo: Variations on a Train with Anna
1975/2000, 16mm, b/w, opt. sound, 9′

Several interpretations of a prelude by J.S.Bach accompany a repeated shot taken from a train leaving a station.

Views From Home
1987/2005, super 8 on miniDV colour, sound, 10′
(followed by a clip from live performance at Leeds Evolution 2006 miniDV)

Light and shadow in (Sherwin’s) East London apartment perform a gloriously elegant ballet.

Cycles #3
1972/77/2003, 2x 16mm projectors, colour, opt. sound, 9′

A twin-projector version of a film made in 1972 without using a camera: holes were punched into a length of clear film and paper dots stuck onto it…

Without A Trace / Program


Erasing Inscription, Inscripting Erasure

Thursday 29 January 2009, Art Centre Vooruit, Gent (BE), 20:00.
Program produced by Courtisane, in collaboration with Atelier Graphoui.

To erase, remove, rub out or conceal signs and images has never been as easy as it is in today’s era of digital hybridization. The immense possibilities in image processing, compositing and trimming have led to the development of a “Photoshop Reality”, a corrected reality which has penetrated unnoticed the heart of our visual culture. However, the act of erasing is never without trace: there always remains a residue, a print upon the surface, a ghost where once was an image. Whether we are speaking of bare scratching or of calculated digital layering, each erasure leaves a trace behind, each absence suggests a (missed) presence. This ambiguity is even stronger in the context of the moving image, which only exists itself thanks to a sort of progressive “erasure”, each image canceling the previous one. Elimination and inscription come together. The act of erasing, “of” and “in” the image, unavoidably leaves the trace of an event underway. It makes the new visible to itself as it redefines what is visible in the old. The film, video and media works in this programme use the idea and the gesture of removing as the basis for an exploration of the tension between presence and absence, appearing and disappearing.

Pierre Hébert
Enkel de Hand (Only the Hand)

CA, performance, 30′

In 2007 the attention of the Canadian animation artist Pierre Hébert was brought to the sentence “Only the hand that erases can write the truth”, generally attributed to the German mystic Master Eckhart. Hébert was not only interested by its inherent paradox, but also by the fact that that it centered on the gesture of erasing – a central element of his live animation performances. In fact, the “animated” movement can only exist thanks to the act of erasure. The sentence would be come the base for a new performance, which will be carried out in Dutch for the first time in Ghent. “The objective of associating the austere theme of erasing carried by the sentence to the burgeoning abundance of virtually all the languages add another layer of paradox and gives a less unilateral value to the whole enterprise : to advent truth must not only face the exercise of taking away all superfluities, but also engage itself in the infinite repetition of all the idioms of mankind.”

Martin Arnold

AU, 2002, video, b/w, sound, 60’

In this installation, filmmaker Martin Arnold deconstructs an old American horror film. Thanks to digital technology, he removes all the actors one by one, leaving the deserted cinematic space to become the film’s actual leading actor. Arnold turns The Invisible Ghost (from 1941) – a rather atmospheric murder tale in which invisibility and ghosts play no role – into a literally inanimate film. The camera’s eye wanders around aimlessly through sets devoid of human life, unable to find a face in which to read fear or desire, in which to embody the point of view of the murderer or of the vitctim. Disappearance, a classical motif in crime and horror films, is intensified and escalated in Deanimated, up to evacuation. The dramatic soundtrack accompanies the visible traces of events which seem to come out of nowhere before dissapearing into the void again. A voice speaks. A revolver is shot. A cloud of dust rises and dissipates again.

Untitled Game (‘Arena’ version)

NL/BE, 1996-2001, game mod

Quake undressed by the gamers themselves”. Untitled Game is a set of modifications, or ‘mods,’ of the video game Quake 1. There are 13 versions of the piece for PC and 12 for Mac. Untitled Game was made just as game modifications began to gain widespread recognition as an art form unto itself. JODI (Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans) made the piece by altering the graphics of Quake as well as the software code that makes it work. Their mods reduced the complex graphics of Quake 1 (intro Level 1) to the bare minimum, aiming for maximum contrast between the complex soundscapes and the minimal visual environment. For the mod ‘Arena,’ JODI took this principle to the extreme: they completely erased (actually rendering) every graphical element of the game, turning monsters, characters and backgrounds all to white.

Naomi Uman

US, 1999, 16mm, colour, sound, 6’

Using nail polish remover and household bleach, Uman erased the female figures from an old and forgotten porn film. The wriggling holes in the film become erotic zones, blanks on which a fantasy body is projected, creating a new pornography.

Tammuz Binshtock

IL/NL, 2001, video, color, sound, 1’

“No Ball, No Glory. Highlights of the ‘Match of the Day’. It’s a strange football game, with both teams missing plenty of good opportunities. Expect to see excellent teamwork, real effort & motivation combined with high-quality soccer moves. One of the best no-ball games ever! “

Stephen Gray
Beep prepared

UK, 2002, video, color, sound, 5’

“What is Road Runner without Willie E. Coyote, what is a cartoon without protagonists? What remains of the longest running and most existential series of sketches, once the actors have left the stage? Part one of a deconstructivist trilogy.”

Natalie Frigo
November 22, 1963

US, 2004, video, color, sound, 1’

“November 22, 1963 presents the Zapruder footage of the Kennedy assassination with JFK removed from each frame. Experience of this event was/is almost exclusively through television; interestingly, the original footage was corrupted before it was released to the public. Manipulation of the footage changes not only our experience, but the assassination-in-itself is forever altered. If this version were shown in place of the “original” footage, our memory of this date would be tied to Jacqueline’s ride in Dallas, not JFK’s assassination.” (Natalie Frigo)

Spike Jonze & Ty Evans
Invisible Boards

US, 2003, video, color, sound, 2’

A short fragment from the film “Yeah Right !”, a cinematographic ode to skateboarding. Filmmaker Spike Jonze, internationally acclaimed for his music videos and the long feature film “Being John Malkovich” and a long time skateboard fanatic, enhances the elegance and agility of the skaters with the help of digital technology. In this clip, a bunch of skaters seem to be jumping and sliding on thin air, an effect obtained using “Green Screen” technology.

Marcel Broodthaers
La pluie (Projet pour un texte)

BE, 1969, 16 mm, b/w, sound, 3’

Broodthaers is filmed in his back garden, while absorded in the process of writing. Equipped with paper, ink and a feather pen he begins to scribble when it starts to rain. The text is constantly erased, but the artist doesn’t seem to mind. A melancholic and allegoric reflection on artistic production, authorship and cinema, that particular medium which constantly doubts between stasis and movement, between writing and erasing.

Denis Savary
Le Bourdon

CH, 2004-2007, color, 15’30, sound

In Denis Savary’s animated drawings the act of erasure holds a central place. He draws, erases and draws again successive images on a single sheet of paper, photographing each phase of the process. His little figures come to life in a fog of stains and traces, as if each movement brought carried along the ghosts from the past.

Matt McCormick
The Subconscious Art of Graffiti Removal

US, 2001, 16mm, color, sound, 16’

“It is no coincidence that funding for “anti-graffiti” campaigns often outweighs funding for the arts. Graffiti removal has subverted the common obstacles blocking creative expression and become one of the more intriguing and important art movements of our time. Emerging from the human psyche and showing characteristics of abstract expressionism, minimalism and Russian constructivism, graffiti removal has secured its place in the history of modern art while being created by artists who are unconscious of their artistic achievements.”

Martijn Hendriks
the Birds without the birds (excerpt)

NL, 2007-ongoing, video, color, sound, 3’

Martijn Hendriks is fascinated by the potential of negation and the condititions under which a non-productive gestures becomes productive. By drawing the attention to what remains after the objects of our attention have been erased, sabotaged of shown to contradict themselves, he questions our relation to images and the expectations of visibility and availability. In recent video work such as This is where we’ll do it, a series of manipulated You Tube clips, or The Birds without the birds, in which he uses fragments from Hitchcock’s The Birds, the absence of essential elements from well known images brings unexpected notions to the foreground.


Thanks to Martin Arnold, Tammuz Binshtock, Marie-Puck Broodthaers & Maria Gilissen, Natalie Frigo, Stephen Gray, Pierre Hébert, Martijn Hendriks, Jodi, Cindy Banach (Palm Pictures), Natalie Farrey (MJZ), Dominic Angerame (Canyon), Denis Savary, Elodie Buisson & Frances Perkins (Galerie Xippas), Christophe Bichon & Emmanuel Lefrant (Lightcone), Marie Logie (Auguste Orts), Pieter-Paul Mortier (STUK), Vooruit, Bozar, Atelier Graphoui

Drawn to Life / Program


reanimating the animate

Maison des Cultures Saint-Gilles, Belgradostraat 120, Brussels. 25 & 27 November 2008
Film and video program in the context of ‘SE JETER À L’EAU’, an event organised by Atelier Graphoui.
Curated by Stoffel Debuysere and María Palacios Cruz, in cooperation with Courtisane.

“animate … v.t…. [< L. animatus, pp. of animare, to make alive, fill with breath < anima, air, soul]. l. to give life to; bring to life. 2. to make gay, energetic, or spirited. 3. to inspire. 4. to give motion to; put into action: as, the breeze animated the leaves." We all know: animation is a form of cinema. And yet, one could argue that all cinema is in fact animation, and furthermore that life itself – anima – can be understood as cinema. Our existence, inscribed in perception, imagination and memory, is constantly animated, deformed, edited. The question is whether and how we can ourselves give form to our own experiences. Certainly, the incessant flow of images in which our daily lives are submerged seems to leave little room for analysis and intervention. Its intention is that of synthesis, of a continuous illusion of life. The world is thus objectivized, but inevitably doubled, devoid of its soul, “deanimated”. The artists and filmmakers in this program attempt to revitalize perception, offering an alternative or counterweight to the ways in which technological interfaces determine our relation to the world. At the crossroads between cinematographic codes and genres, these films and videos seek to dismantle the common a priori assumptions on animation film and its limitations. Fragments of collective and individual memories are redrawn, with pencils and pixels, light, movement and (algo)rhythms, in search of new possible relations between world and representation, image and subject, dream and data, the aesthetical and the political. Animation as re-animation.


Tuesday 25.11.2008 20:00

“We know that behind every image revealed there is another image more faithful to reality, and in the back of that image there is another, and yet another behind the last one, and so on, up to the true image of that absolute, mysterious reality that no one will ever see.”
— Michelangelo Antonioni

Robert Breer

US, 1974, 16mm, colour, sound, 10′
US, 1986, 16mm, color, sound, 10′
Robert Breer has been at the forefront of experimental animation filmmaking for over half a century. His work, in which he explores the role that movement plays in understanding form and space, represents an important link between the abstract films of Hans Richter and Viking Eggeling and the avant-garde cinema tradition. “Once I avoided conventional narration and replaced it with real time”, he writes, “I could put the images together in non sequitur impositions. This might be what you call ‘daily seeing’. It might be similar to the visual and aural experience of ordinary daily life – collision of experiences”. Fuji is one of Breer’s experiences in the early 1970’s with primitive forms of rotoscoping, in which live action is redrawn image by image. Fragments of footage of a journey in Japan are transformed into a lyrical exploration of colour and form, constantly swayed between representation and abstraction, between images that refer to precise objects and alternative spaces, offering a new look at the everyday. Bang! is Breer’s most autobiographical work : an associative collage of nostalgic childhood memories and bitter-sweet contemplations.

Dirk de Bruyn
Rote Movie

AUS, 1994, 16mm, colour, sound, 12′

A road movie across the emotional landscapes of the filmmaker, whose inner monologue shares his reflections on his feelings of exile, trauma, loneliness and alienation. His state of mind is evoked by increasingly fragmented images – direct-on-film animation collage, rotoscoped animation and reworked photographic images. The material aspect of film becomes a metaphor for the devastating effect that mental stress has on the body.

Frank & Caroline Mouris
Frank Film

US, 1973, 16mm, colour, sound, 9′

“I treat objects in a very subjective way, and I treat subjects by themselves in a very objective way”, affirms Frank Mouris. He describes Frank Film as “that one personal film that you do to get the artistic inclinations out of your system before going commercial”. This animated autobiography is composed of more than 11.000 images collected from magazines and catalogues, which shift and mutate across the screen as Mouris recites a list of words beginning with the letter ‘f’. The words bounce off the images and generate an associative flow of memories, which Mouris recounts on a second track, interwoven with the recitation. The result is an obsessive and mesmerizing collage, which film critic Andrew Sarris described as “a nine-minute evocation or America’s exhilarating everythingness”.

Stuart Hilton
Six weeks in June

UK, 1998, video, b/w, sound, 6′

“11,000 miles across the USA and back in a transit van with a rock and roll band, a pencil, a stack of A6 paper and 6 weeks in June to do it”. Stuart Hilton scribbles his films in a seemingly careless way, almost as if the doodles from his notebook jumped off the pages and started to move spontaneously. The simplicity of his technique seems to rightly feed the imagination. The traces of landscapes, human figures and objects that unfold in Six weeks in June, capture perfectly the feeling of restlessness and detachment that comes with living “on the road”. The “musique concrète” collage of found sounds and conversation fragments adds an extra dimension to the impression of “daily seeing”, as Robert Breer calls it. Image and sound sway from one to the other, separated and asynchronous but nevertheless inevitably linked in a continuous game of attracting and rejecting.

Bob Sabiston
Snack and Drink

US, 1999, video, colour, sound, 3’40

Bob Sabiston invented the Rotoshop software in the 1990’s to make rotoscoping– manually tracing and redrawing existing images – possible for artists working on video. In the current image culture it is no longer possible to determine what is “animated” and what isn’t, this technology being a good example of how digital video and computer animation have the same potential when it comes to representation. Snack and Drink is one of the early experiments with the software, based on a short documentary about an autistic teenager. The image material was coloured and stylized by a dozen of animators, giving it a dreamlike quality. A few years later, Sabiston would use the same technique in films like Richard Linklater’s Waking Life (2001) and A Scanner Darkly (2004), as well as The Five Obstructions (2003) by Lars Von Trier en Jørgen Leth .

Josh Raskin
I met the Walrus

CA, 2007, video, colour, sound, 5’15

“In 1969, a 14-year-old Beatle fanatic named Jerry Levitan, armed with a reel-to-reel tape deck, snuck into John Lennon’s hotel room in Toronto and convinced John to do an interview about peace. 38 years later, Jerry has produced a film about it. Using the original interview recording as the soundtrack, director Josh Raskin has woven a visual narrative which tenderly romances Lennon’s every word in a cascading flood of multipronged animation. Raskin marries the terrifyingly genius pen work of James Braithwaite with masterful digital illustration by Alex Kurina, resulting in a spell-binding vessel for Lennon’s boundless wit, and timeless message.” Josh Raskin: “I just wanted to literally animate the words, unfurling in the way I imagined they would appear inside the head of a baffled 14-year-old boy interviewing his idol.”

LEV (Levni R. Yilmaz Esq)
Tales Of Mere Existence (selection)

US, video, b/w, sound, 5′

Tales Of Mere Existence is not necessarily about interesting stories, It is what it’s title indicates, anecdotes about the gloriously mundane. Everyday stories told not by the Devil on your right shoulder or the Angel on your left, but the voice in the middle of your head that doubts himself, questions everything, and sometimes doesn’t let you get out of bed. An unseen narrator tells the stories in a monotone voice, while his doodled illustrations come together on the screen. The stories deal with issues such as Sex, identity, and social confusion and just about anything else you would have written in your journal in High School. Tales Of Mere Existence goes for laughs in fearless ways that shock you even as you nod your head in recognition” Taylor Jessen, Animation World Network

Jonathan Hodgson
Night Club

UK, 1983, 16mm, colour, sound, 6′

Jonathan Hodgson, one of the most celebrated filmmakers in the rich British animation film scene, made this film when he was still a student at the Royal College of Art. We can already find here what would later become the main characteristics of his work, which sets its basis on the observation of the everyday and a preference for the spontaneous and the associative, in order to explore the tension between stasis and movement. “Nothing I’ve ever done has really been based on escapism”, he explained in an interview, “It’s always been about life”. Night Club is based on a series of sketches that Hodgson did in Liverpool drinking pubs. An observation of human behaviour in a social situation, hinting at the loneliness felt by the individual lost in the crowd.

Sky David
Field of Green: A Soldier’s Animated Sketchbook

US, 2007, 35mm to video, colour & b/w, sound, 8′

Like all “good Texan boys”, Sky David enlisted in the U. S. army at the end of the 1960’s. He documented his experiences of the Vietnam war in a sketchbook. These drawings remained untouched for over 30 years until he decided to make an animation film based on them. In the words of Cathy Caruth: “Trauma is not locatable on the simple violent or original event in an individual’s past, but rather in the way that its very unassimilated nature – the way that it is precisely not known in the first instance – return to haunt the survivor later on”. The film carries the scarred memory of a North Vietnamese soldier in whose rucksack David found delicate watercolours and pencil drawings. This film, according to David “happens when the “enemy” becomes a human being identical as myself. It is the film that this unknown would have made had he survived”.


Thursday 27.11.2008 20:00

“The worship of pattern, the one and only, at the expense of the subject matter from which it comes. How do we rediscover it, and how do we impart or describe it? The ultimate challenge of the future – to see without looking: to defocus! In a world where the media kneel before the altar of sharpness, draining life out of life in the process, the DEFOCUSIST will be the communicators of our era – nothing more, nothing less!”
— Lars von Trier

Kota Ezawa
The Simpson Verdict

GE/US, 2002, video, colour, sound, 3′

In his videos, slide projections and photo prints, Kota Ezawa re-animates iconic moments from his personal and cultural history. He describes this practice as a form of “video archeology”. Using primitive graphic software, he manages to extract, from the many layers of mediation, the essence of the original material – very often images that have been so frequently repeated that we seem to think we know all about them. As he says, “Stylization can transform an image from a means of representation to a direct solicitation of viewer’s emotion”. The Simpson Verdict is 3 minute video-animation of the final moments of O.J. Simpson’s trial in 1995 for the murder of his wife and her friend, as the verdict is being read out. (Note : to the surprise and dispair of many, Simpson was declared innocent, partly because many of the evidence photographs weren’t judged “truthful” enough by the jury. “Photography is no longer evidence for anything”, as read a 1982 announcement from Lucasfilm)

Jenny Perlin
Box Office

US, 2007, 16mm, b/w, silent, 2’25

Jenny Perlin: “In each aspect of my practice I take a close look at the ways in which social machinations are reflected in the smallest aspects of daily life. Whether it is copying a receipt from Wal-Mart, a headline from Reuters, or filming documentary-style interviews at the corner store, my interest is in the ways in which the sweeping statements of “History” affect specific details of human experience”. This short, hand-drawn animated film begins with a quote by Ryan C. Crocker, the current U.S. Ambassador to Iraq. In July, 2007, the New York Times quoted Crocker as comparing the current war in Iraq to a three or five-reel movie, depending on where one is living. In contrast to this quote, a list of the top-ten grossing films at the U.S. box office from the same day presents itself onscreen, along with other animated panels of related drawings that function as an associative commentary.

Ken Jacobs
Capitalism : slavery

US, 2007, video, b/w, silent, 3′

In the words of Ken Jacobs : “An antique stereograph image of cotton-pickers, computer-animated to present the scene in an active depth even to single-eyed viewers. Silent, mournful, brief.” The work of Ken Jacobs, a key figure in the post-war experimental film world, is often concerned with the cinematographical reanimation of historical image material. In many of his films and performances he dissects and manipulates existing film material, deconstructs each sequence and gesture, applies himself to texture and space and choreographs as a self-appointed “cine-puppeteer” a secondary discourse of forgotten and explored time. In his Nervous System performances he creates, with the help of two modified film projectors, so-called “eternalims” : “unfrozen slices of time, sustained movements going nowhere and unlike anything in life.” Using external shutters, which interrupt the light of both projectors alternately, a new cinematographic space is created, somewhere between 2D and 3D. This effect, similar to parallax in binocular vision – in which objects and figures appear to be at the same time in a state of suspenstion and caught in a continuous movement – has been successfully transposed to the digital domain in his recent video work. “3-D without spectacles (as if people would watch flat movies). Pummeling exercises in cinematic insistence: Let the image prevail! “.

Cathy Joritz
Negative Man

GE/US, 1985, 16 mm, b&w, sound, 2′ 30″
Give AIDS the Freeze
GE/US, 1991, 16mm, b/w, sound, 2′

Rosalind Krauss wrote in reference to the work of Cy Twombly : “the formal character of the graffito is that of a violation, the trespass onto a space that is not the graffitist’s own, the desecration of a field originally consecrated to another purpose, the effacement of that purpose through the act of dirtying, smearing, scarring, jabbing”. This could also be said of the films of Cathy Joritz, who uses various direct-on-film animation techniques to penetrate and appropiate the existing images on the celluloid. In Negative Man and Give Aids the Freeze, Joritz uses this technique to comment sarcastically on two television speeches, of a TV presenter and a psychologue respectively. In a time span of a few minutes they become the objects of a continuous transformation that is draped on them like a second, celluloid skin. Joritz’s drawings not only serve to adjust the image but also as a way to unmask the representation of authority.

Paul Glabicki
Diagram Film

US,1978, 16mm, colour, sound, 14′

“Perception is a tool” explains Paul Glabicki. His work is driven by an obsessive inclination towards analyzing his own experiences, combined with a personal research on form, time and space. His drawings, paintings, films and computer animations reflect a personal perpective that filters and processes information, encodes layers of meaning and representation, and dissects relationships of parts to the whole. For Glabicki, one single image or object can generate an endless chain of new images, relationships, memories, experiences, and associations. In Diagram Film live-action and still images of objects and places are presented and then followed by animated diagrams that explain, transform or re-interpret what has just been seen. The result is a playful exploration of the borders between the abstract and the figurative, the rational and the irrational.

Jonathon Kirk
I’ve got a guy running

US, 2006, video, b/w, sound, 7’12”

When the images from the first Gulf War appeared in the international media, it became extremely difficult to make a distinction between “real” images and computer-generated ones. Since then, this development has had an enormous impact on the way we (de)code visual information. In this video, Jonathon Kirk explores the relation between cognition and recognition of war images, a relation that has been severely affected by the influence of simulation, surveillance and real-time media coverage. Images of a precision bombing, released by the U.S. Department of Defense to the glory of the American army and its weapon suppliers, are subject to algorithms, which gradually reveal the reality that lies beneath them.

Dietmar Offenhuber
paths of g

AU, 2006, video, colour, sound, 1′

The long backwards tracking shot through a trench in Stanley Kubrick’s WWI drama Paths of Glory (1957) is reduced to pure geometry. Nothing is visible other than a matrix of rectangular figures and a line which follows the movement of the camera and counts off the spent frames. The soldiers’ corporality and the trench’s materiality are reduced to an abstract configuration of digital forms and values, surveyed by the camera’s mechanism – the single-frame transport, used for the first time during WWI, changing for once and for all the perception of war. In a certain way, this reduction gives a more accurate image of the first industrialized war in history than Kubrick’s original version. As Paul Virilio wrote in Guerre et cinéma: “as sight lost its direct quality and reeled out of phase, the soldier had the feeling of being not so musch destroyed as derealized and dematerializes, any sensory point of reference suddenly vanishing in a surfeit of optical targets”. It is precisely the conscious reduction within the film, the purely mechanical, geometric values which are able to reveal the true violence of this war. The fictionalized fact is not necessary, removing the sense from existing images suffices to return to the historically factual qua ‘techno-imagination’ (Vilém Flusser). The viewer sees less but learns more.

Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukács
Prime Time Paradise

NL, 2004, video, colour, silent, 11′

“We consume images at an ever faster rate and images consume reality”, wrote Susan Sontag in On Photography. While in that book she pled passionately for an “economy of images”, she would later admit that it could no longer be spoken of . “In our digital hall of mirrors, the pictures aren’t going to go away”, she wrote when the images of Abu Ghraib were published. “Yes, it seems that one picture is worth a thousand words. And there will be thousands more snapshots and videos. Unstoppable.” However, the potential force of images can be diminished by their overproduction and by the incessant search of dramatic impact, in a culture in which the shock effect appears as an stimulus for consumption. “How do you deal with the constant flow of information : do you turn yourself away or do you try to create a new, meaningful structure ?” Margit Lukács asks herself. In Prime Time Paradise Broersen and Lukács have frozen a number of images from the daily flow of news reports in a spatial collage, an infernal media landscape of conflict, death and depravation.The impact is postponed, the gaze renewed.

Karl Tebbe
Infinite Justice

GE, 2006, video, colour, sound, 2′

“La Guerre du Golfe n’a jamais eu lieu” (The Gulf War did not take place), affirmed Jean Baudrillard at the beginning of the 1990’s. The war he was referring to was a television war, produced as a soap series in which news announcements became trailers, content was delivered in daily episodes, and the show was perpetuated by a number of film sequels and video games. Nothing has changed much since then. Whoever controls the images, controls the war. “War-making and picture-taking are congruent activities”, wrote Susan Sontag about the current war in Iraq. “Television, whose access to the scene is limited by government controls and by self-censorship, serves up the war as images.” With Infinite Justice, Karl Tebbe deconstructs and interrogates the public image (and image experience) of war, embedded in the omnipresent television reality. Fragments from war reports shown on German television were re-animated frame by frame with “action figures” sold in the USA. “This isn’t Disney. Not Team America. This is war”.

Stephen Andrews
The Quick and the Dead

CA, 2004, video, color, sound, 1’30”

According to Stephen Andrews, “the cracks sometimes mean more than the picture”. The Canadian artist is aware of the erosion of the image as a form of testimony. With his drawings and videos, he seeks to “slow down the gaze”, through a process of reanimation. Existing images and sequences are reconstructed by hand and meticuously recreated as pencil drawings, underlining the tension between the subjectivity of the drawer and the objectivizing role that digital visual technology plays. “I have always been fascinated by technology because it can never do what the hand can do, which is to fail miserably. The machine can draw a perfectly straight line – the hand refuses. Technology thus becomes a prosthesis for our shortcomings. When I in turn render by hand what the machine has wrought, my intention is to decipher the medium’s message”. The Quick and the Dead is based on a short clip that Andrews found on the Internet – one of the many dehumanized images of “collateral damage” that have reached us from Iraq these past years. “A moment of random death is given consideration through the human act of retouching” (Atom Egoyan).

Carolee Schneemann
Viet Flakes

US, 1965, 16 mm film to video, bIw, sound, 7′

Viet Flakes was conceived as the central part of Snows, a Carolee Schneemann performance in reaction to the war in Vietnam. A shocking reflection on the violence and representation of war, the film is built as an obsessive collage of photographic images taken from magazines and newspapers, “animated” by Schneemann’s Super 8 camera’s travelling “within” the images. The visual fragmentation is heightened by a sound collage by James Tenney. “Schneemann constructs a sense of the violent dimensions of the war at a time when the true impact of the Vietnam War was scarcely understood. Using film as a plastic medium to create a metadocument, Schneemann gives the viewer a sense of the dimension of these atrocities, puts the war in a human perspective and goes directly to the source of the catastrophe, much in the way that the great Greek dramatists were able to situate tragedy so convincingly” (Robert C. Morgan).


Thanks to Sky David, Dirk de Bruyn, Kota Ezawa, Jonathan Hodgson, Ken Jacobs, Jonathon Kirk, LEV, Frank & Caroline Mouris, Jenny Perlin, Bob Sabiston, Karl Tebbe, Mike Sperlinger (LUX), Christophe Bichon & Emmanuel Lefrant (Lightcone), Dominic Angerame (Canyon), Michaela Grill (Sixpack), Wanda vanderStoop (Vtape), Theus Zwakhals (Montevideo), Rebecca Cleman (EAI), Jeff Crawford (CFMDC), : jerry levitan, chris kennedy (vtape), Edwin Carels, Pieter-Paul Mortier (STUK), Dirk Deblauwe (Courtisane), Brett Kashmere, Jacques Faton (ERG / Atelier Graphoui)