commune-tv-12Video program. Part 1
This program is made in conjunction and in dialogue with the exhibition “The Closer I Get to the End the More I Re-write the Beginning” curated by Suzy Halajian and that opens on November 21 at Human Resources Los Angeles.
Part 1 is a 2 day video program curated by Clara López Menéndez and Suzy Halajian.

Location: 1009 N. Madison Ave. LA, 90029
Due to the nature of the program please RSVP to invitation.of.sorts@gmail.com

Saturday, November 14, 2-9pm
Screening La Commune (Paris, 1871), 2000, 345 min / A film by Peter Watkins / Courtesy Icarus Films

Sunday, November 15, 5:30-9pm
Screening of Jasmina Metwaly and Philip Rizk’s Out on the Street, 2015, 71 min, followed by a discussion on both films.

“The Closer I Get to the End the More I Re-write the Beginning” wants to interrogate the state of exhaustion as a contemporary condition, through the time and space that make it possible. The project questions the appearance and contours of social spaces that enable exhaustion, and locates instances within these sites that allow for new forms of sociability. By considering both individual and collective states of being together situated within a neoliberal and mutating model of capitalism, the exhibition asks how these spaces may be realized in a state of nonstop action and renewal and how their potentials may unfold over time.

What is the social space created by a screening? And a film production? How the conditions of production transform the material outcome independently of the medium’s qualities? What happens when exhausted political moments are mobilized by the desires behind filmmaking, bringing into life a functional “lie” that helps understand the present? Is this re-iteration of the past a legitimate tool or just a foolish operation?

This screening is exhausting and it’s set up as a social task. We wanted to gather a group in front of these films to outlive their lenght and engage in the complexity of the propositions they convey, entangled in their attention to detail and aversion to synthesis.

La Commune

For the film LA COMMUNE we travel back in time to 1871 to the Paris Commune, the French revolutionary government established by the people of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War (1871-1871). A journalist for Versailles Television broadcasts a soothing and official view of events while a Commune television is set up to provide the perspectives of the Paris rebels. On a stage-like set, more than 200 actors interpret characters of the Commune, especially the Popincourt neighborhood in the XIth arrondissement. They voice their own thoughts and feelings concerning the social and political reforms. The telling of this story rests primarily on depicting the people of the Commune, and those who suppressed them.

Deliberately, this film is an attempt to challenge existing notions of documentary film, as well as the notions of ‘neutrality’ and ‘objectivity’ so beloved by the mass media today. The film is not intended as an apologia on behalf of the Paris Commune. But at the same time, it attempts to show that the Paris Commune, for all its human frailty, its internal conflicts and its blundering, was an event of major importance, not least because of the way in which its leading reformers tried to work with social process, by a direct involvement with the community and its needs.

Out on the Street

Out on the Street is a film about a group of workers from one of Egypt’s working class neighborhoods, Helwan. In the film ten working-class men participate in an acting workshop. Through the rehearsals, stories emerge of factory injustice, police brutality, courts that fabricate criminal charges, and countless tales of corruption and exploitation by their capitalist employers. On a rooftop studio overlooking the heart of Cairo – presented as a space between fact and fiction – the participants move in and out of character as they shape the performance that engages their daily realities. Out in the Street interweaves scenes from the workshop, fictional performances, and mobile phone footage shot by a worker intended as evidence for the courts to stop the destruction of his workplace. This hybrid approach aims to engage a collective imaginary, situating the participants and spectators within a broader social struggle.

La Commune (Paris, 1871) courtesy of Icarus Films
Out on the Street courtesy of the artists, Jasmina Metwaly and Philip Rizk

Last Sunday, a week ago, on October 25 I organized a screening in Human Resources Los Angeles to commemorate the work of Chantal Akerman and mourn her loss.

I decided to show Saute Ma Ville (1968), Je Tu Il Elle (1976) and Toute une Nuit (1982).

Berenice Reynaud, who is the experience of film made flesh and was close to Chantal, made a beautiful and important introduction.

This the program text that I wrote:

“On Sunday October 25 we want to pay tribute to Chantal Akerman, a filmmaker that has changed our lives and our eyes to see cinema, to be cinema. We can’t believe and don’t want to accept her disappearance. We felt the need to mourn and homage her with a screening, in the silent social created before her images. We chose these three titles because they broke our hearts and shattered our gazes to what cinema had the power to do, a tool in the right hands. It also will give us a way into her many paces, rejoicing in her surgical cinematography.

Join us to say good bye to Chantal and long live her memory, her legacy made celluloid, taken by the hand of her strong, quiet heroines.”

This is one of the best things I’ve organized in my life. It is heartbreaking that the circumstances for an homage to her work had to be the ones that were, but people’s response in LA demonstrated that her legacy is alive, crisp and relevant as ever.

Being able to see Je Tu Ill Elle with over a hundred people in a room is an experience hard to describe.

Thank you to everyone that came that night out to be together in front of her cinema. Thanks Human Resources for being absolute game and allowing me to put the screening together so quickly in the best space possible for something like this. Thank you Berenice for your words and everything else.

One of those nights that helps you remember why we do what we do, even if the circumstances had to be so tragic.

 

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I’ll try. It’s that I’m Perceiving a Crooked Reality is a video I’ve done as my participation in the panel discussion “Theory Beyond the Regime of the Theoretical: Fun With Race, Sex, Dis/ability, and Performance” organized by Katherine Brewer Ball and Leon Hilton and presented at the American Studies Association Annual Meeting 2014 in Los Angeles on November 9th.

 

Today I’m starting a social-listening project that Maya Dikstein and I came up with as part of our different residencies here in São Paulo. I’m at the FAAP and she’s having one at Casa Juisi/Phosphorus. In an instinct to activate the space and open it up with a gathering that wasn’t a conversation or any very productive format, and focusing our her current interest in listening as an action, ontologically and epistemologically speaking, we started a series of Escutas or Listen-ins, weekly evening meetings where to gather in silence or noise to listen to something yet undetermined and enjoy them as a social act, disregarding the noisy, active part of communication.

We encourage all people coming, listeners, to bring ideas and objects or situations to listen to in the next sessions. We are going to do it once a week, listening to other things, but the first is Galaxias, a poem by Haroldo de Campos written between 1963 and 1976. The recording is the poet reading Galaxias in 1992. The whole duration of the tape is 1h 09′ 26″

If you are around this evening and wanna come to listen to some pre-recorded poetry, lay down and enjoy the sound in common, join us!

Today at Phosphorus close to Praça da Sé, Centro, São Paulo, at 20h

Here more info in Portuguese and the address etc

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In my attempt to dig into the unacknowledged realms of political action that lay between the poles of ideological declamation and everyday experience, I ended up thinking about the economy of ambition that operates in our process of subjectivization as socialized individuals.

Ambition is an ambiguous term, a substantive that does not always enjoy a positive interpretation. It is good to be ambitious in the right amount, but an excess of ambition can become a social problem, prompting a punitive exclusion of the ambitious subject. At the same time, there are ambitious communities, perhaps not necessarily identified as such (meaning that those communities don’t particularly perceive the term as characteristic of their identity), but where the absence of this emotion/affect is understood as an absolute handicap. In the arduous terrain of generalization, ambition is usually understood as a dubious characteristic within leftist political groupings, usually connected with greed, the desire for accumulation, and the will to power necessary to achieve it. Therefore, the space in which those desires for power-filled recognition get structured and choreographed tend to be an opaque dimension of the individual’s subjectivity––usually not fully disclosed in the social realm. The “outing” of professional/career/political ambitions is usually balanced with altruistic justifications tied to their ends that signify the transitory means as mere steps towards a larger good for a wider community. However, the power, potential and political weight of these fantasies that strive to become realities is certainly crucial.

The political signification of our ambitions opens up the dense political space of nuanced negotiation that occurs when a recognizable ideology has to confront the particularities of contingent existence, where the compromises of political claims take place in response to the incidences of a context. I am not sure yet where this is leading to; the only thing I know is that I have exhausted the available language to talk about my political feelings, and that my struggle veers towards the compilation of a vocabulary, spoken or performed, that allows me to articulate my desires and experiences. In this attempt at a more honest approach to the gap between our ideals and our actions, I recall Lee Lozano’s concept of “new honesty” as the ethos of a new era. In this era, we will finally speak honestly about how our desire for work trumps our political commitments––at the most intimate level. We will speak honestly about the conditions we are willing to perpetuate and the kind of labor relations we would willfully endure.

I’m in Brazil. I’m in São Paulo. Until the end of November. If nothing happens. If I don’t leave. If I don’t stay longer. If I don’t die first.

All that can be.

Yesterday I already cried.

I went to Pivõ, an art space in the ground floor of the Copan building. There was a talk between Cildo Meireles and Guilherme Wisnik. I couldn’t really hear the talk, it was so far and the acoustics of the space didn’t help the distance between the speakers and me. Anyways I found this piece by Mario Garcia Torres. And it made me cry.

IMG_3613

This is page 3 of Mario Garcia Torres Like You, I Dig…(n/d), the notes of a lecture he wrote I don’t know when or for whom. But in the moment it just reverberated in the right spot, and it brought it all through my eyes.

So here I am. Let’s see what happens.

Later yesterday my friend MPA, who is here too to do a performance at Paço das Artes, was saying:

“To show your notes is just not enough. We are passed that.

Art, an artist, YOU are making the “visible”, demarcating the limit of what is worth to be seen, thought of, considerable.

Of importance.”

How do we signify that? How do we inscribe the urgency of the issue in the formal consideration is a responsibility.

I added. Maybe only in my head.

and Mario Garcia Torre’s notes on a conference were in my head, irremediably.

I made a pdf with pictures I took of the whole lecture, if someone cares to read it. I recommend.

São Paulo feels is an ocean.

MarioGarciaTorres

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