Video in Progress
The African time machine
Video in Progress 5
Guest Selection / Gostujoča selekcija
Video in Progress 5: Reflections of the Past
Guest Selection: THE AFRICAN TIME MACHINE
Participating artists: Bofa da Cara (AO/ES), Sammy Baloji (CG), Aryan Kaganof (ZA), Theo Eshetu (ET), Kgafela oa Magogodi & Jyoti Mistry (ZA), Ezra Wube (US/ET), Julia Raynham (ZA), Neil Beloufa (DZ/FR)
Curated by: Silke Schmickl, Mickaël Robert-Gonçalves, Jeremy Chua (Lowave, FR)
Production: Lowave, Paris, 2014
Duration: 1h 2min
Venue: Kino Šiška (Komuna), Trg prekomorskih brigad 3, Ljubljana
Screening dates & times:
Thursday, 5 June 2014, at 6.10 pm
Friday, 6 June 2014, at 4.15 pm
Saturday, 7 June 2014, at 2.45 pm
About the selection
Very often, a future is decided by its owners. In The African time machine, African video artists and African diaspora examine a possible future of Africa by looking at its past and present. This selection of work from the IN/FLUX series takes the spectator on a journey through African time and space: travelling across the remnants of its post-colonial era to the staged revolutions, interventions and reform that led to its present day culture and society. The journey ends in a place of the imagination, with a kind of proposition, where destiny is dreamt and on the verge of coming to life.
Bofa da Cara: My African Mind, 2010, 6’17”
Cut-outs of pictures drawn from comic books, movie posters, advertisements and 19th century missionary accounts flash across the screen, rendered in 3D. Moving back and forth between image and text, My African Mind interrogates the violence of the colonial gaze and its present – day avatars. Even as we fly through filmic landscapes of dramatically shifting foregrounds and backgrounds, the images grip us firmly. They insist that we face head – on the (not so) past horrors of one continent’s encounter with the other and the scars this has left on the face of the present.
Sammy Baloji: Mémoire, 2007, 14′
In the town of Lubumbashi, in the Katanga province of eastern Congo, stand the ruins of what was once a thriving copper mining industrial site. Against this backdrop, Sammy Baloji’s haunting images – part documentary, part dreamscape – meet the sinuous choreography of dancer Faustin Linyekula and a soundtrack of successive leaders (Patrice Lumumba and Joseph Kasa-Vubu, Mobutu Sese Seko and Laurent‐Désiré Kabila) promising political and economic renewal. Masterfully woven together, these elements tell a history of colonial violence, followed by postcolonial hope and its gradual demise.
Aryan Kaganof: Society of the Spectacle, 2011, 3’36”
Black and white media images flash across the screen at break-neck speed to a hypnotic soundtrack. The urban narrative that results is slick, modernist, and flawless. It demands our submission. It is at once seductive and, in its ability to captivate, slightly alarming. With its hammering pace and seamless composition, there is no place for intervention or insertion of alternative pictures. To elbow our way into the storyline would entail a brawl.
Theo Eshetu: Lightning Strikes, 2009, 7’41”
In 1935, the Italian army stole a historical monument from the city of Axum: a 24-meter high granite obelisk dating from the 4th Century AD. In 1947, as part of a peace treaty, the Italian government agreed to return the obelisk. For decades, it reneged on its promise. Only in 2005, and after countless delays, was the monument returned. Theo Eshetu’s experimental documentary recounts this repatriation.
Kgafela oa Magogodi & Jyoti Mistry: Itchy City, 2006, 5’12”
Itchy City is a poem by Johannesburg-based author and spoken word artist Kgafela oa Magogodi. It is part of a larger project, titled I Mike What I like: a play adapted for the screen by Magogodi and filmmaker Jyoti Mistry. The film melds sequences from a live performance of the poem with filmed and painted images of Johannesburg, resulting in a powerful commentary on the complexities and the absurdities of everyday life in South Africa’s economic capital.
Ezra Wube: Hold de Door, 2011, 4’29”
As a person of two cultures, the artist is in a continual dialogue between here and there, past and present, tradition and modernity. The artist’s effort to construct a narrative is left ambiguous, so that the line between what is real and what is imagined, what is sensical and nonsensical becomes faint. By refusing a concrete representation, Ezra Wube has found the freedom to make art that is consistent with the flux of his life.
Julia Raynham: Ruling of the Night, 2008, 4′
Two dancers move from the heights of Table Mountain, overlooking Cape Town, to the bowels of the city: a car park and then the aisles of a supermarket lit a ghastly white. They are accompanied by a bird of prey and stalked by the ghostly presence of a mystic gorilla. Following in their wake, we question what the human race and the late capitalist system to which it is enthralled, have done to the cities they call home.
Neil Beloufa: Kempinski, 2007, 13’58”
Welcome to Kempinski. The inhabitants of this mystical/ mythical place – is it a city, a country, a planet? – are preparing to fire rockets into outer space. They will also be deploying satellites and visiting distant galaxies. So they explain to the camera, mostly by night, to the sound of buzzing electrical cables overhead. Filmed in the historic city of Mopti in Mali, this “documentary” about movement across space and time is unscripted. A single rule sustains and threads it together throughout: interviewees imagine the future and, in the act of speaking, bring it into the present.
A publishing house in the field of experimental cinema and video art since 2002, Lowave is now a platform for curatorial research principally around moving images.
Lowave’s main activities revolve around the creation of exhibitions, as was the case for Theo.do.lites (ICA Singapour, 2013), Rising Images (Centre Pompidou Paris, 2012), Human Frames (KIT Düsseldorf, 2011), Reframing Reality (Museet for Samtidskunst Roskilde, 2010) or Middle East Video Channel (Triennale de Guangzhou, 2008) and the programs and performances in multiple international insitutions such as the Collège des Bernardins in Paris, The Substation in Singapore, the Cineteca in Madrid our the Pera Museum in Istanbul. The singularity of Lowave’s work lies in our international scope, with a strong interest in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, the valuation of emerging artists and the implementation of interdisciplinary and intercultural crossings in our practice. Since its inception, Lowave has collaborated with numerous institutions such as the Centre Georges Pompidou, La Cinémathèque Française, The British Film Institute, Centre Nationale de la Cinématographie and UNESCO.
About the curators
Silke Schmickl, curator, co-founder and director of Lowave since 2007, divides her life between Paris and Singapore. She studied Art History, French Literature and International Communications in Munich and Paris and graduated from Panthéon-Sorbonne University in 2001. A specialist in contemporary photography and video art, she has been a researcher at the German Art History Center since 2000. She has published over 60 art DVDs for Lowave and directed various research projects dedicated to avant-garde films from the Middle East, Africa, India and Turkey. Since 2008, she has curated contemporary art exhibitions in partnerships with museums and biennials in Singapore, Paris, Guangzhou and Düsseldorf. In parallel to her curatorial activities, Silke Schmickl occasionally teaches in universities and art schools and writes articles on cinema and contemporary art.
Mickaël Robert-Gonçalves is a Paris-based programme and editorial contributor of Lowave since 2010. He studied Literature, History, and Cinema and graduated from Sorbonne Nouvelle University (Paris 3) in 2011 where he is preparing a PhD thesis entitled “Portuguese cinema (1974-1980): revolutionary images” with Prof. Nicole Brenez. He has led academic research and moderated programmes for international colloquiums. His extended research includes teaching at universities, writing articles on cinema, working as a member of the South Asian Alternative Film Festival in Paris as well as lecturing at La Cinémathèque française.
Jeremy Chua is a filmmaker and arts manager from Singapore who is a member of Lowave since 2011. He graduated from LASALLE College of the Arts in 2012 wtith the Academic Excellence Award. He works as a programme assistant at the Cinémathèque of the National Museum of Singapore, film producer at Akanga Film Asia and project manager at Lowave Paris for international art activities. An EAVE TTB 2013 graduate, his first feature that he wrote and co-produce is directed by Singaporean underground filmmaker K. Rajagopal, will be shot in 2014.