Curated by Faena Art
Sophia Al Maria
b. 1983, Tacoma, USA. Lives and works in London, UK.
The Limerent Object (2016) is a call-and-response across deep time between the last living earthling and their extra-terrestrial antecedent. Mixing myths of a panspermic genesis and a Holocene apocalypse, The Limerent Object juxtaposes petroglyphs and porn, an alien queen and a dying human, a voice and the silence to evoke a love story that transcends the desert of millennia. This new work stems from the artist’s anxiety and fear for the future and the result is a poetic panegyric to the planet earth and we who people it. Of Qatari-American origins, Al-Maria works with the concept of “Gulf Futurism,” whose themes include the isolation of individuals via technology and reactionary Islam, the corrosive elements of consumerism and the erasure of history in the service of fossil fuel. She is inspired by imagery from Islamic eschatology, post humanism and science fiction.
b. 1985, London, UK. Lives and works in Amsterdam, NL, London, UK and Lagos, NI.
Red Gold (2016) is an experimental short film touching on the socio-economic context of Nigeria. Before Nigeria’s independence in the 1960s, it stood as one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of palm oil, but since the discovery of crude oil, agriculture has become a neglected industry. With no help from the government, farmers with skills and land passed down through the generations have struggled to sustain their families and keep their craft alive. Focusing on a group of hardy palm oil farmers in Ekiti State, Western Nigeria, Ashadu reflects on sentiments of independence and value.
Pauline Boudry & Renate Lorenz
b.1972, Lausanne, CH
b.1963, Bonn, DE
Silent (2016) starts with an interpretation of John Cage‘s score 4’33” from 1952. The score is conceived for any instrument and instructs its performer(s) not to play their instrument(s) during the entire duration of the three parts of 30”, 2’23” and 1’40”. As such, the sounds of the ‘silent’ space become the symphony itself. The musician Aérea Negrot performs the score on a rotating stage, placed on Oranienplatz, a public square in Berlin where a refugee protest camp took place between 2012 and 2014. In a second part of the film, she performs an overt song directed at “Mr. President”, which has been composed for the movie, addressing issues of masculinity, femininity, and freedom. Working as a duo since 2007, Pauline Boudry & Renate Lorenz propose films and performances that revisit films and audio material from the past, excavating unrepresented or illegible moments of queer history. These works present a corpus capable not only of traveling across epochs but also of imagining links between those epochs, so foreshadowing the possibility of a queer future.
b. 1975, Norfolk, USA. Lives and works in Los Angeles, USA
Brian Bress’ four-panel video wall Man with Cigarette (On White) (2016) presents a life-size full figure portrait that replicates in three dimensions a found pen-and-ink drawing of a man in a full dress suit smoking a cigarette. The style of the drawing being replicated is full of awkward details, bad perspective, and impossible forms. As in past works, Bress draws on two-dimensional sources, such as Sol Lewitt’s Dazzle Camouflage, and sets out on the impossible task of bringing what can only existin two dimensions into three dimensions and then compressing it back down to two dimensions using the video screen. Bress’ time-based media works have been described as inventive, humorous, and “discomfortingly complex.” As an inventive form of portraiture, they employ flat-screen monitors, which make his works appear to be conventional photographs or even paintings, each depicting one or more figures rendered abstract through the use of masks and costumes.
b. 1987, Lisbon, PT. Lives and works in Lisbon, PT
Attempting to reimagine ethnographic film traditions, The Burial of the Dead (2016) is a video installation set in the Peruvian town of La Rinconada at an altitude of 5,200 meters on the edge of a gold mine; it captures a dystopian world that scarcely seems possible in the 21st century. Lamas has constructed a cinematic triptych to convey the extremity of this situation and the dimensions of its misery without having to resort to graphic images—indeed a Dantesque Escherscape of haunting beauty. In a fertile occupation of no man’s land, Lamas attempts to dissolve the apparent border between documentary and fiction. With interest in the natural relationship between storytelling, memory, and history, while using the moving image to explore the traumatically repressed, seemingly unrepresentable, or historically invisible, Lamas showcases a wide range of subjects, from the horrors of colonial violence to the landscapes of global capital.
b. 1982, Massachussetts, USA. Lives and works in New York and Los Angeles, USA
Duilian (2016) is a short experimental film that takes the narrative form of an illegitimate “wild history” ( 野史 “yěshǐ”). While set in the present, the film explores the intimate relationship between Chinese revolutionary poet Qiu Jin (秋瑾, 1875-1907) and calligrapher Wu Zhiying (吳芝瑛, 1868-1934). Qiu Jin was executed as a traitor during the Qing dynasty and has been alternately heralded as a nationalist martyr, a communist hero, and feminist icon. The film combines magical realism, documentary, and the kung fu genre to question how history is constructed, by “reading between the lines” of official narratives. Wu Tsang’s films, installations, performances, and sculptures move fluidly among documentary, activism, and fiction. Her works interweave emotion with conceptual questions of voice and translation in relation to difference. Her projects have been presented at museums and film festivals internationally.
b. 1977, Rugby, UK. Lives and works in Lisbon, PT
Taking as a point of departure Dorothea Tanning’s painting Some Roses and their Phantoms (1952) and its sickening presentation of objects as between states of being, Wardill made a film I gave my love a cherry that had no stone (2016), that also hovers between definitions. The architecture of the Gulbenkian auditorium in Lisbon, its colors and sense of being lost in time accompany us through a loop where a man wanders the building at night, followed by something that is not human. Through the care and paranoia with which she approaches the digital image, the artist investigates the past’s haunting of the present and the remnants of textures longing to be touched. Wardill’s work takes an interest in the appropriation of models to express ideas and the way in which fixed scenarios become exemplary. Wardill explores the opacity of communication to deconstruct the way in which materials or the implication of the material are used to elucidate ideas.
b. 1972, Ravenna, IT. Lives and works in Milan, IT
The Challenge (2016) follows the journey of an an artist who becomes a playful anthropologist, exploring the leisurely activities of the Qataris, the inhabitants of a small country who have gained remarkable media attention in the last few years through their unconventional lifestyle and their exuberant wealth. It is a look at an advanced techno-capitalistic world where the ancient symbols of wealth and power (gold, rifles, sports cars, etc.) are ubiquitous. The hunt reveals the role of rare and expensive falcons which are employed in ritualized forms of hunting. Ancarani’s works significantly transform the codes of documentary filmmaking. The man in action, the protagonist of his artworks, becomes transfigured through a rigorous construction of image and sound.
b. 1983, Arras, FR. Lives and works in Paris, FR
Usine À Divertissement (2016) is a three-channel video installation and single-channel screening that focuses on the flourishing and threatening growth of the tourism industry close to traditional indigenous populations. Bak investigates three minor communities from Thailand, Morocco, and Camargue, exposed, or about to be exposed, to tourism. Through this socially engaged and slyly ironic piece, Bak implicitly criticizes occidental capitalism’s stranglehold on mass tourism, akin to human safaris trampling local communities’ interests and integrity. Through video installations, sculptures, and drawings, the artist questions the notions of identity, community, territory and memory. Her stories attempt to define the present living conditions of a group with a constant concern for maintaining social bonds.
Massimo D’Anolfi & Martina Parenti
b. 1974, Pescara, IT. Lives and works in Milan, IT
b. 1972, Milan, IT. Lives and works in Milan, IT
Massimo d’Anolfi and Martina Parenti present L’Infinita Fabbrica del Duomo (2016), a poetic documentary taking the permanent activity of the preservation and restoration of Milan’s Duomo to explore notions of the infinite and create a sense of vertigo related to time. This film is one of the chapters of their latest production, Spira Mirabilis, which deals with immortality in science, art, faith and emotions. Close to a visual symphony, the work recounts four “histories of immortality”: deathless jellyfishes in Japan, musical instrument inventors in Bern, intimate experiences with the Indian population of contemporary America and the restoration of the Duomo in Milan. D’Andolfi and Parenti work in a pair with one objective: to humorously show the transformation of human society. The two filmmakers portray these changes with humor and creativity, through the daily course of individual people. The duo sealed their passion for documentary filmmaking by creating a production company: Montmorency Film in Milan, Italy.
Alessio Di Zio
b. 1992, IT. Lives and works between London, UK and Los Angeles, USA
Alessio Di Zio presents Genesee (2016) and Sioux Rapids (2016), two highly improvised fantasy short films set in artificial environments and featuring moments of strange magic, fictional dimensions, iconic imageries, impressions and glimpses of his own fantasies and dreams. Working impulsively, musician and film director Alessio Di Zio immerses himself in chosen environments to create very personal films. Initially shot for personal use, his films gained notoriety for their artistic touch and their particular image treatments.
b. 1976, Askim, NO. Lives and works in Oslo, NO
Bodil Furu presents Mangeurs de Cuivre (2016), a film portraying the actors of the Katanga copper mining industry in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Following a local chief, a businessman, and a development worker, the film offers contrasting views on how copper mining influences the villages and the country as a whole. As silent witnesses, the landscape is introduced with its vast alterations and the disenfranchised people of the region. This film aims to give analytic tableaux of the neo-colonial world order, discussed controversially and with an open end. An artist working with documentary filmmaking where abiding humanistic questions meet current concerns of globalization and the mediation of reality, her visual language often examines landscapes that do not appear untouched or neutral, but rather shaped by territorial behavior and social conflicts.
b. 1989, Lisbon, PT. Lives and works between Lausanne, CH and Paris, FR
Jenna Hasse directs Soltar (2016), a story about two characters, Margaux (played by the artist) and Bruno, who embark on their holidays to Portugal. Throughout the film, we discover an increasing anxiety, caused by Bruno’s paranoia. The artist places the two characters in the middle of a duality, two entities impossible to reconcile for Bruno. This feeling is accentuated by the environment: an electronic music festival. Its crowd, wild dancing and community life contrasting with the natural way of life, the immensity of the beaches and the adjacent ocean. Both actress and director, Hasse explores the duality of her condition through her films and stages the intimate through the life of her protagonists. She is inspired among others by her own history, humankind’s relationship with nature, sensations, and the resulting emotions.
b. 1976, Paris, FR. Lives and works in Paris, FR
Emilie Jouvet presents Aria (2016), a film about queer parents, identity and family constructions. It is through a series of portraits, of people leaning their faces over her belly that the artist proposes a diversity of stories and reflections on motherhood, parenthood, the desire or not to have a child, descent, and childhood. Entirely shot using smartphones, the film proposes an intimate journey, told via sensitive, fun or moving words, a contemporary family album. Having explored the queer, feminist and post- porn movements for 15 years—through intimate portraits and other subversive mise-en- scènes—Emilie Jouvet’s films and videos question and disrupt the social standards affecting the norms and representations of desire. This project was coproduced with Everybody’s Perfect.
Artist and filmmaker Paris Kain reacts and responds to the overwhelming number of cases that have recently come to light of the continuing injustice faced by our brothers and sisters of color in the United States at the hands of law enforcement, the criminal justice system, and armed civilians. Love. Serve. Remember (2016) is created in collaboration with musical artist and poet John Forte, and along fellow artists Ruy Sanchez Blanco, Manuel Barenboim, and choreographer Maleek Washington. Utilizing dancers known for their skill in the Flexing movement, video acts as a commemoration or memorial. Kain is an artist-filmmaker born and raised in New York City.
b. 1979, Athens, GR. Lives and works in Paris, FR
Obscuro Barroco (2016) is a tale about illusion and transformation set in Rio de Janeiro a few months ahead of the Olympic Games. A documentary fiction, it explores gender and urban rituals in the hedonist realm of the Cidade Maravilhosa. The problematics of spiritualism and transsexuality, from the Sambodromo bacchanal to the favela carnaval, two creatures—a wandering clown and the Carioca transvestites’ queen—tell the story of bodies in endless metamorphosis. An artist working in cinema, photography, text and video installation, Kranioti’s practice involves immersion in different social contexts and culminates in the creation of both documentary and fiction works. Kranioti’s artistic and anthropological research explore the themes of exile, origins, wandering and desire.
b.1986, Miami, USA. Lives and works in Miami, USA.
Jillian Mayer presents You’ll Be Okay (2014), a tongue-in-cheek video that utilizes the very Miami trope of sky-writing to address contemporary anxiety. For centuries, people have turned their gaze towards the sky or the stars for messages from a higher source or the universe. Are they looking for reassurance or a sign of some sort? If the clouds formed into a message of a positive, yet mediocre (“okay”) phrase, would we feel better? Is that what we are looking for? Mayer’s video works and performances have been premiered at international galleries and museums such as the Guggenheim Museum, MoMA, MoCA:NoMi, BAM, Bass Museum, the Contemporary Museum of Montreal with the Montreal Biennial (2014) and film festivals such as Sundance, SXSW, and the New York Film Festival.
b. 1977, Leskovac, RS. Lives and works in Belgrade, RS
In Once Upon a Nothing (work-in-progress) (2016), Nothing, tired of being misunderstood, runs away from home and comes to address us for the first and last time. Nothing’s narration, distilled from the most eclectic bibliography ever used in a documentary film, is metaphorically illustrated by a unique ‘documentary footage of Nothing’ filmed by dozens of complementary cinematographers from students to Academy Award winners from around the world. In an anonymous online brainstorming process, the footage was shared and commented upon as Mitić created the final product. Mitić’s script for the film was written following extensive research into the philosophical concept of Nothing. Iggy Pop narrates. A former journalist, Mitic thrives on finding creative solutions to boring or cinematically impossible themes. He plays blitz chess, writes satirical columns, makes populist elitist films and lectures in offbeat ways at academic and industry events worldwide.
b. 1973, Boston, US. Lives and works in Los Angeles, US
Exquisite Corpse (2016) is a 51-minute installation and single-channel film that follows the 51-mile Los Angeles River from its origins in the San Fernando Valley northeast of the city to its terminus at the Pacific Ocean. Using a detailed map as a script, Tribe’s camera captures the river’s varied landscapes, neighborhoods, inhabitants, and communities through a string of meditative encounters that collectively describe the site, and the city, at this juncture in its history. Tribe’s rigorously- crafted, research-based projects use the structure, language, and materials of the moving image to explore topics ranging from butterfly wings to space travel. Much of her work explores consciousness, perception and the critical potential of representational technologies