Video in Progress 6: We Are All People After All
14 – 15 June 2016
Opening: Tuesday, 14 June 2016 at 8 pm.
Screening hours: Wednesday, June 15 from 11 am til 8 pm.
Participating: Adel Abidin (IQ/FI), Selda Asal (TR), Zanny Begg (AU) & Oliver Ressler (AT), Jelena Ilić Todorović (BA), Maryam Kashkoolinia (IR), Toni Poljanec & Tina Glavič Novak (SI), Oliver Ressler (AT), Marko Tadić (HR), Undrawing the Line (Mona Moradveisi, Safdar Ahmed, Zanny Begg, Murtaza Ali Jafari) (AU)
Curators: Vesna Bukovec and Metka Zupanič
Maryam Kashkoolinia, That’s Mine!, 2015, 6’15”
Adel Abidin, Common Vocabulary, 2006, 4′
Toni Poljanec & Tina Glavič Novak, Hope and Despair (shorter version), 2016, 14’27”
Marko Tadić, Borne by the Birds, 2013, 13’28”
Zanny Begg & Oliver Ressler, The Right of Passage, 2013, 19′
Jelena Ilić Todorović, Imperative, 2015, 6’36”
Undrawing the Line (Mona Moradveisi, Safdar Ahmed, Zanny Begg, Murtaza Ali Jafari), The Swamp, 2016, 21’42”
Selda Asal, Next Turn & I dream, but …, 2009, 12’15”
Oliver Ressler, Emergency Turned Upside-Down, 2016, 16’12”
Total screening time is 120 minutes.
The sixth edition of the international selection Video in Progress was made under influence of large migrations which took place on our territory last year. Masses of traumatised people fleeing war, violence and poverty were crossing our national border along their Balkan route. European countries have responded with repression and closing of borders. Throughout this time, the prevailing political and media discourse was based on issues of safety for local inhabitants, whereas the safety and human rights of the incomers were being repeatedly and systematically breached. Hyped fear mongering by media and politicians is responsible for the extreme growth of xenophobia and hate speech in the local public discourse over the past year.
To confront these developments, we are presenting this selection of works with strong humanistic message by both prominent and young international artists. Their videos explore, in a subjective manner, topics such as war, refugee and migrant experience, political manipulation, violence at the hands of the national bureaucratic apparatus, and the universal search for a better future.
A visually attractive animation by Iranian artist Maryam Kashkoolinia entitled That’s Mine!, explores the threat posed by land mines left behind in many regions following wars and armed conflicts. Reaching far beyond the end of conflict, traumatic consequences are discussed in a subversive way in Common Vocabulary by the Iraqi artist Adel Abidin: A girl is learning how to pronounce new words that have become part of Iraqi day-to-day life because of war.
In August 2015, Slovenian filmmakers Toni Poljanec and Tina Glavič Novak headed to Lesbos where they made the documentary video Hope and Despair It is composed of numerous interviews with refugees who have endured the traumatic ordeal of travelling from Turkey on overcrowded inflatable boats.
In his work Borne by the Birds that combines live acting and stop-motion animation, Croatian artist Marko Tadić presents a mystical figure on his aimless journey through foreign places taken from old postcards: A symbolic representation of the universal search for paths and answers.
The Right of Passage, a work of Australian artist Zanny Begg and Austrian artist Oliver Ressler, explores the difficulties encountered in multicultural Barcelona by migrants who have failed to have their citizenship status determined. Stories of people without papers are complemented by interviews with theoreticians–including the renowned Italian philosopher Antonio Negri. The title paraphrases the phrase rite of passage, which stands for initiation–the ritual marking the transition from one social group into another. Speaking of migration, it is the passport that decides the future fate of a person.
The social and political influence of public discourse is presented in Imperativ, a work by Jelena Ilić Todorović, student of the Academy of Fine Art in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Her interesting framing and editing lays bare the absurdity of populist pre-election speeches that encourage the rise of nationalism and fear.
The Swamp is an animation made by the Australian collective Undrawing the Line. Formed during drawing workshops held at the Sydney refugee detention centre (prison), the collective combines local artists and refugees. They turned to drawing because video and photo cameras were strictly prohibited from being brought into the prison. Their joint creative activity and sharing a meal became a way of socialising and establishing solidarity. This impressive animation with documentary elements tells the stories of refugees who made it to Australia and explores the murky, and rising, waters of racism and xenophobic policies.
Turkish video artist Selda Asal and her team are developing music projects in various countries working with youth from the margins of society, descendants of immigrants, and in the past year also with refugees. In the music video Next Turn, teenagers from Lille, France share their dreams and problems with us. Despite their dire situation, their lyrics emanate optimism and a love of life.
Emergency Turned Upside-Down, an animation by Oliver Ressler, was made in direct response to the temporary closure of Schengen borders in the summer of 2015. In a complex way, the video explores the general geopolitical situation that had caused the arrival of masses of refugees as well as topics such as the nation state, nationalism, exploitation and border policies. It dares to dream of a world without borders and without nations.
The works included in our selection were created over the past ten years. They discuss the general theme of migration, focusing on current developments. During our research into video works that offer a critical view of the topic, we concluded that engaged works are mostly to be found among documentary films and animations, or even as a combination of both. From an ethical perspective, animation seems particularly appropriate, protecting the identity and dignity of the people whose anguish makes them exposed and vulnerable. Enabling us to enter into other people’s troubles and dilemmas, these video works contribute greatly to a more tolerant and solidary society. Or in the words of teenagers singing in the video by Selda Asal: We are all people after all.
(Vesna Bukovec & Metka Zupanič)