Series See Here is Sunday night screening of films that engage the eyes and ears. The films in the series are mostly documentaries that link audiences to the sensuality and politics in the sprit of cinema’s ability to explore the world. Three of the films bring the sea here to Athens (THE FORGOTTEN SPACE, AT SEA, and SHIP OF THESUS). Two filmmakers, Jennifer Reeder and Sarah Kanouse will visit us here, show us their work and discuss it with us. In addition there will be 2 films on Chile one the Sunday before spring break. Louis-Georges Schwartz of the Ohio University Film Division will briefly introduce each film and facilitate a discussion following.
All Screenings take place at 7:00 p.m. and offer free admission, thanks to Arts for Ohio.
January 26th: The Forgotten Space
The Forgotten Space follows container cargo aboard ships, barges, trains and trucks, listening to workers, engineers, planners, politicians, and those marginalized by the global transport system. We visit displaced farmers and villagers in Holland and Belgium, underpaid truck drivers in Los Angeles, seafarers aboard mega-ships shuttling between Asia and Europe, and factory workers in China, whose low wages are the fragile key to the whole puzzle. And in Bilbao, we discover the most sophisticated expression of the belief that the maritime economy, and the sea itself, is somehow obsolete.
A range of materials is used: descriptive documentary, interviews, archive stills and footage, clips from old movies. The result is an essayistic, visual documentary about one of the most important processes that affects us today. The Forgotten Space is based on Sekula’s Fish Story, seeking to understand and describe the contemporary maritime world in relation to the complex symbolic legacy of the sea.
February 9th: Flaherty Program 2
POLITICAL MEMORY (82 min.)
An oral history from another time and place. Centered on the account of a Palestinian woman’s exodus from Jerusalem in 1948, Alsharif uses language not as a direct address, but rather as aural and visual material through which to explore personal and political memory and a landscape that no longer exists. TRAIILER
Printed Matter unpacks an archive of photographs left behind by André Brutmann, who was a freelance photographer for the international press in the Middle East. His collection includes both a familiar visual history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (funerals, speeches, armed violence in the streets during both the First and Second Intifadas) and, after the birth of his daughter, Sirah Foighel Brutmann, in 1983, a record of his family life. The archive is presented on a light table by the artist’s mother, Hanne Foighel. As she leafs through the repeating grids of captured moments, both intimate and banal, Foighel reflects on the images, sometimes struggling to recall the exact scenarios, delivering a narrative commentary that layers personal and political histories.
A filmed encounter between two women in an unfinished building in Rio de Janeiro. Exchanging stories about their life and work, Bete Mendes and Deise Tigrona engage in a biographical dialogue about the personal voice in the public sphere. As in much of her previous work, van Oldeborgh casts specific individuals, in lieu of actors, to speak as themselves in her films. Bete Mendes (b. 1949) has been an actress in Brazilian telenovelas since the late 1960s. Alongside this history as a very public figure on television, Mendes maintained a position in political activism and resistance: from being a part of the resistance against the military dictatorship to her involvement in the labor movement, during which time she co-founded the working party Partido dos Trabalhadores. Deise Tigrona (b. 1979) is one of the most powerful voices in the Funk Carioca movement today. Growing up and performing as a singer in the impoverished community of Cidade de Deus, she rose to great international popularity with her music in 2005. The public life that came with fame made it difficult to concentrate on family life, which led to the decision to take a step back from her music career and return to a job closer to home. She has recently started performing again. Though separated by more than a generation, these paired autobiographical monologues come together in conversation, highlighting both the similarities and the differences they encountered in their lives. Wendelien van Oldenborgh weaves together these stories to speak to politics within cultural production and the manifestation of these ideas in the public and the personal lives of these women.
February 16th: Visiting Artist Sarah Kanouse
Crab Orchard calls itself “a unique place to experience nature.” As the only wildlife refuge in the United States whose mission includes industry and agriculture alongside conservation and recreation, Crab Orchard claims a harmonious balance between uses and users that strike many as incompatible. This story of harmony is maintained through the production and enforcement of physical, visual, and political boundaries — boundaries that, once crossed, quickly dissolve. This essayistic documentary maps the filmmaker’s discovery of Crab Orchard’s complex and hybrid nature. When a request by a security guard to put away the camera leads to a surprise visit by the FBI, the filmmaker begins a journey to uncover the refuge’s history and understand its contradictory present. Crab Orchard’s status as a contaminated refuge emerges less as an exception and more an example of the power and perils of “nature” as we understand it today. From its use by historic Native Americans as a source of food, its continued role in an economically vulnerable region, and the use of its polluted lake as a water source, the film explores themes of invisibility, loss, and shared but profoundly unequal risk. Assembled from documents, found footage, and conversations with activists, writers, and local residents, the film meditates on the persistence of history, the creation of knowledge, the limits of representation, and the commonplace of environmental hazard. “Around Crab Orchard” ultimately argues for forms of storytelling, image-making, and activism that cross existing conceptual boundaries to respond to the full complexity of the social and ecological landscape.
Sarah Kanouse’s Artist Statement:
As a research-based artist, I use a range of media – particularly video, audio, photography, text, and public events – to give form to long-term explorations of the politics of space. I have paid particularly close attention to landscapes of public memory and, increasingly, sites where ecological, cultural, and military forces are intertwined.
As art historian W.J.T. Mitchell influentially observed, “landscape” should be understood less as a noun than a verb—not merely a visual genre but a cultural practice through which the historical, material, and social processes that have shaped space are naturalized and rendered opaque. The visual dimension of landscape has been widely theorized as concealing more than revealing, presenting a methodological challenge for the visual artist. By themselves, images may monumentalize their subjects, and artists have long used strategies like distortion, sequencing, captioning, collage, and montage to disrupt the power of the single image. While concerns with landscape have animated my most significant work over the past seven years, I have consistently sought to shift, undermine, or supplement the visual dimension of space through textual and experiential means. Rather than offer fixed, masterful works that might present alternative content but address the audience or spectator in familiar ways, I seek to share my research process as one possible model for critical engagement with space. My goal is to offer accounts of landscape that allow them to be read as complex but contingent material and cultural assemblages.
February 23rd: At Sea
At Sea (2004–07) by Peter Hutton, 60 min, United States
“”The momentum of more than forty thousand tons is as absolute as the darkness” (John McPhee, Looking for a Ship). Hutton’s most recent film—a riveting and revelatory chronicle of the birth, life, and death of a colossal container ship—is unquestionably one of his most ambitious and profound. A haunting meditation on human progress, both physical and metaphorical, At Sea charts a three-year passage from twenty-first-century ship building in South Korea to primitive and dangerous ship breaking in Bangladesh, with an epic journey across the North Atlantic in between.” – MoMA
March 16th: Viva Chile Mierda
Chile, 1974. Under the cloak of darkness Pinochet’s military intelligence service raid the home of the filmmaker’s aunt Gaby. She, together with her husband and brother, were blindfolded and taken to a secret military prison to be interrogated. For three weeks they were tortured and terrorized. No one knew where they were. Their children were kept under armed guard. Were it not for the help given to them by one young prison guard, they would not have coped. That guard was Andres ‘Papudo’ Valenzuela, who several years later would be the first military intelligence officer to admit to the crimes committed by the dictatorship. Through intimate interviews, illustrations, animations and first person voice over, this film traces the lives of both prisoners and guard in order to reflect on the enduring effects of this traumatic history. Their stories shine light on larger issues of exile, national identity, truth and reconciliation.
March 23rd: Nostalgia for the Light
March 30th: Ship of Theseus
If the parts of a ship are replaced,bit-by-bit, is it still the same ship? An unusual photographer grapples with the loss of her intuitive brilliance as an aftermath of a clinical procedure; an erudite monk confronting an ethical dilemma with a long held ideology, has to choose between principle and death; and a young stockbroker, following the trail of a stolen kidney, learns how intricate morality could be. Following the separate strands of their philosophical journeys, and their eventual convergence, this film explores questions of identity, justice, beauty, meaning and death.
April 6th: Visiting Artist Jennifer Reeder
More info TBA.