Curated by Faena Art
Sophia Al Maria (b. 1983, Tacoma, USA)
The Limerent Object, 2016
Video HD, sound, 5 min 11 sec. Courtesy of Ana Lena Films and Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève.
The Limerent Object 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.
Karimah Ashadu (b. 1985, London, UK)
Red Gold, 2016
Two-channel, color, sound, 18 min. Courtesy of the artist and Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève.
Red Gold 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, Karimah Ashadu reflects on sentiments of independence and value.
Pauline Boudry & Renate Lorenz (b.1972, Lausanne, CH; b.1963, Bonn, DE)
Video HD, 7 min 43 sec. Courtesy of the artists, Marcelle Alix, Paris; Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, and Ellen de Bruijne Project, Amsterdam.
Silent 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.
Brian Bress (b. 1975, Norfolk, USA)
Man with Cigarette (On White), 2016
Four channel HD video, 19 min 51 sec. Courtesy of the artist, Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, and Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles.
Brian Bress’ four-panel video wall Man with Cigarette (On White) 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.
Clara Cullen (b. 1986, Buenos Aires, AR)
Above and Below, 2016
Video, 2 min 21 sec. Courtesy of the artist.
In Above and Below, a day of filming with the aquatic dance company Aqualillies is transformed into a striking short film reminiscent of Hollywood’s golden age actress and swimming champion, Esther Williams. Nonetheless, this modern day depiction demonstrates the strange uniformity, seductive nature of perfect synchronicity, and the athletic abilities of the Aqualillies. Founded in 2008 by Mesha Kussman, the aquatic dance company is made up by actors with a background in dance and who are also ex-olympic swimmers.
Clara Cullen works between New York and Los Angeles. She studied Film at the Universidad del Cine de Buenos Aires and Documentary at Parsons University in New York. She belongs to a generation that grew up with broad range of media, including advertising, video games and the internet as their main platform.
Salomé Lamas (b. 1987, Lisbon, PT)
The Burial Of The Dead, 2016
Three-channel video installation, 90 min. Courtesy of the artist and Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève.
Attempting to reimagine ethnographic film traditions, The Burial of the Dead 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.
Wu Tsang (b. 1982, Massachussetts, USA)
Video HD, color, sound, 26 min. Courtesy of the artist, Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin and Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève.
Duilian 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.
Emily Wardill (b. 1977, Rugby, UK)
I Gave My Love A Cherry That Had No Stone, 2016
Video, 9 min. Courtesy of the artist; carlier | gebauer, Berlin; Standard, Oslo; Altman Siegel, San Francisco; and Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève.
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, 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.
Agustina Woodgate (b. 1981, Buenos Aires, AR)
in collaboration with Sebastian Bellver, Cara Despain, and Kenny Riches
Video, 9 min 39 sec. Courtesy of the artists.
Creating a conglomerate of the maniacal, insane, hilarious and awesome affects that the iconic landscapes of the North American west can impose, the characters in Cracked engage in a game of cat and mouse across and inside vast panoramas of the desert. Their witchy, Warner Bros.-esque slapstick, prospector-gone-mad hybrid personas invite both laughter and eerie discomfort as they conjure several conflicting facets of the lineage of landscape: from gendered, proprietary, resource-hungry expansion to the indisputable, almost laughable beauty and the problematic notions of the sublime.
Agustina Woodgate focuses on the politics of landscapes and infrastructures as a conceptual and public geography. In 2011 co founded radioee.net, a nomadic, multilingual, online radio station that hosts on themes of mobility.
Yuri Ancarani (b. 1972, Ravenna, IT)
The Challenge, 2016
Video, 67 min. Courtesy of the artist.
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.
Sabrina Farji (b. 1964, Buenos Aires, AR)
Desmadre, fragmentos de una relación, 2017
Video, 74 min. Courtesy of the artist.
Desmadre, fragmentos de una relación depicts the bond between mothers and daughters, threshed into intimate and personal fragments. The work is a reflection on primary love and the passing of time. A road movie as a space of ideological combat to reflect on the frontal collisions (whether it be to recklessly hug or strangle each other) between mothers and daughters. Three generations of women from a same family embark on a journey. Throughout their itinerary they untangle a complex skein of sentimental relationships, among all of their possible relationships as mothers, daughters, grandmothers, granddaughters and sisters. Raw, spontaneous, honest and uncomfortable, Desmadre is a film that embodies the idea that family is a highly flammable and complex material, whose reality truly takes place outside the realm of videos and photographs of family gatherings.
Multidisciplinary artist Sabrina Farji has developed her career in every audiovisual realm since 1990, when she debuted her first art video. Her body of work as a video artist forms part of collections such as: MoMA, New York; AsociacionVideo, Brasil; Fundación Fortabat y Fundación UNTREF, Buenos Aires.
The Uncountable Laughter of the Sea, 2016
Video, 56 min. Courtesy of the artist
The Uncountable Laughter of the Sea is a poetic mediation over certain subjects in life, peace of mind, serenity, sustainability, and loss. The film was shot in County Kerry in Ireland, and has at its centre language, landscape and light. Monsignor Padráig Ó’Fiannachta, a distinguished linguist, scholar and poet, acts as the guide. Both the English and Irish language play a prominent role in the narrative, as well as occasional quotations from Latin and Greek epic poems. The central question of the film circles around the age old philosophical question ‘what is the good life?. The film takes inspiration from Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical on the environment ‘Laudato si’ Proposing that ‘wealth’ ultimately emanates from peace of mind, sustained through a deeper connection with nature. Kain is an artist-filmmaker born and raised in New York City.
Evangelia Kranioti (b. 1979, Athens, GR)
Samba no escuro, 2016
Video, 50 min. Courtesy of the artist and galerie Sator, Paris.
Obscuro Barroco 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.
Jillian Mayer (b.1986, Miami, USA)
You’ll Be Okay, 2014
Video, 4 min 2 sec. Courtesy of the artist and David Castillo Gallery, Miami.
Jillian Mayer presents You’ll Be Okay, 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.
Boris Mitić (b. 1977, Leskovac, RS)
Once Upon a Nothing , 2016 (work-in-progress)
Video, 52 min. Courtesy of the artist.
In Once Upon a Nothing, a whistleblowing documentary parody, 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.
Kerry Tribe (b. 1973, Boston, US)
Exquisite Corpse, 2016
Video, sound, 51 min. Courtesy of the artist and 1301PE, Los Angeles.
Exquisite Corpse 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