Films Of 2019 (VI): Triple Chaser, By Forensic Architecture

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“Rendering images of our model against bold, generic patterns, known as ‘decontextualised images’, improves the classifier’s ability to identify the grenade.” Image: Forensic Architecture/Praxis Films, 2019

In Triple Chaser (2019) film director Laura Poitras and the research group Forensic Architecture document the development of a machine learning system. They use this technology, computer vision classifiers, to search through a multitude of filmclips from various sources online in order to identify teargas grenades manufactured by Safariland, a company owned by billionaire philanthropist Warren Kanders. The teargas grenade is called Triple Chaser. In the film, Forensic Architecture documents and provides evidence for the use of this grenade by police against protesters and by military against civilians.

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“During the process of training a ‘computer vision’ classifier, bounding boxes and ‘masks’ tell the classifier where in the image the Triple-Chaser grenade exists.” Image: Forensic Architecture/Praxis Films, 2019

The film Triple Chaser was made to be included in the now ongoing Whitney Biennial, an exhibition at the Whitney Museum. Warren Kanders served as vice chaiman on the board of the museum, but has recently resigned after the biennial was boycotted by several of the included artists.

“The film at the Biennial is split into chapters that trace the history of Safariland, as well as the effects of tear gas on the human body, and known instances when it has been used to suppress dissent, including the use of tear gas in the 2013 Gezi Park protests in Turkey. It also lays out the role that Kanders plays in Sierra Bullets, a company that produces ammunition that has been used by Israeli Defense Forces, and details the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights’s use of the Forensic Architecture’s research to put pressure on Kanders’s company.” – Quoted from Artnet.com, May 13 2019.

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“We asked activists around the world to find, and film, examples of the Triple Chaser grenade. We used photogrammetry to turn those images into a precise 3D model.” Image: Forensic Architecture/Praxis Films, 2019

Forensic Architecture (FA) is a research agency based at Goldsmiths, University of London, consisting of architects, artists, filmmakers, journalist, software developers, scientists, lawyers, and an extended network of collaborators from a wide variety of fields and disciplines. Founded in 2010 by Prof. Eyal Weizman, FA is committed to the development and dissemination of new evidentiary techniques and undertakes advanced architectural and media investigations on behalf of international prosecutors, human rights and civil society groups, as well as political and environmental justice organisations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, B’tselem, Bureau of Investigative Journalism, and the UN, among others.

More info at

https://forensic-architecture.org/

Screening With Pennybridge Poetry

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On June 15th we arranged a screening on Järntorget in Örebro, on the invitation of OpenART and in collaboration with Pennybridge Poetry. We screened a program of four films, with poetry readings inbetween each film.

Videos included in the screening: Procrastination by Björn Perborg; The Big Store by Lars Arrhenius and Johannes Müntzing; Grosse Fatigue by Camille Henrot; Where The Border Runs by Knutte Wester.

Big, big thank you’s go out to: all the people at OpenART that we met and/or communicated with; all the poets, filmmakers and other participants from Pennybridge; Knutte, Lasse, Johannes, Björn, and Camille for the videos; all the engaged audience members and all the randos passing by!

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Pennybridge Poetry is a youth organization dedicated to the writing and performance of poetry, sometimes working in cooperation with campaigns such as Raise Your Voice. After this first date which we arranged together, Pennybridge Poetry will take over the cinema equipment and run their own screenings in Örebro for the rest of the season. Their next date will be on June 24.

Check out XOLA for previous collaborations somewhat along these lines.

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Films Of 2019 (V): The Woolworths Choir Of 1979, By Elizabeth Price

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Still from The Woolworths Choir Of 1979 by Elizabeth Price (c)

My work is about people and histories, but not individuals – it’s about people as collective forces or voices and how we emerge as such through material culture.’ – Quote by Elizabeth Price from HERE, a Baltic Centre of Contemporary Art exhibition guide 2012).

 

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Still from The Woolworths Choir Of 1979 by Elizabeth Price (c)

The Woolworths Choir Of 1979 by Elizabeth Price is an associative exploration of the stories of a fire in the department store Woolworths in Manchester, in which ten people died. The video is set up as a stream of visuals and ideas, flowing through three parts which in turn (1) sets up the stage or the auditorium for a drama, then (2) introduces a choir to narrate the drama, and finally (3) presents the tragic event which the drama is based on.

 

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Still from The Woolworths Choir Of 1979 by Elizabeth Price (c)

Elizabeth Price won the Turner Prize in 2012. Quoting the website of the Tate Museum: “The three sections are linked by recurring images of hand gestures. It begins with a photographic montage of ecclesiastical architecture and digitally animated plans describing an archetypal choir area in a church. Arcane words and definitions, particular to the institution and extracted from essays on churches, narrate the images like a PowerPoint lecture. This bulleted and didactic tone is punctuated by loud rhythmic claps, finger clicks and sung chords. An animated posture and twist of a wrist of a church floor effigy takes the film into the second part which expands on the meaning of a choir as a group of multiple voices. Internet clips of female pop performances, including 1960s American group Shangri-Las and their song Out in the Streets, focus on gestural arm movements and synchronised dances of singers and backing vocalists, layering and assembling them into a unified cacophonic dance and chorus prophetically insisting ‘WE KNOW’. In the final episode the sinuous gestures of the dancers cut to flames, billows of smoke and images of a trapped woman waving for help through a barred window. A range of footage drawn from public archives of the devastating fire that killed ten people at the Woolworths department store in Manchester in 1979 fluctuates between eye witness and survivor accounts, news reports (the first narratives of the event) and material relating to the public inquest that effected change in fire laws in Britain, interjected with text from the chorus. A reconstruction plan of the source of the fire – a storeroom stacked with flammable soft furnishings – brings the work full circle by recalling the rectangular enclosure of the church choir lined with pews.”

 

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Still from The Woolworths Choir Of 1979 by Elizabeth Price (c)

 

Films Of 2019 (IV): Grosse Fatigue, By Camille Henrot

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Still fom Grosse Fatigue, by Camille Henrot

Quoting from the Guggenheim website:

“Over the course of thirteen minutes, the video tells the story of the creation of the universe through a cascade of images that pop up, collide, and implode across a computer screen. Set to a soundtrack of a rapid-fire spoken-word poem, written in collaboration with poet Jacob Bromberg, the narrative blends scientific histories with creation stories from a variety of major religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism), faiths (Freemasonry, Kabbalah), and indigenous traditions (Dogon, Inuit, Navajo). Highly subjective and intuitive, the work relates the vastness of the universe to the expansive arena of the Internet and points to the impossibility of a unifying system of knowledge.”

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Still fom Grosse Fatigue, by Camille Henrot

Quoting from the König Galerie website and Lousie Simard:

“This video installation unfolds to the rhythm of fluid superimpositions, juxtapositions and associations of images and words in a series of pop-ups and open windows on a screen. The thirteen-minute piece is accompanied by a narration written in collaboration with the poet Jacob Bromberg and spoken by Akwetey Orraca-Tetteh. Like all of Henrot’s works—films, drawings, sculptures, collections of images and objects—Grosse Fatigue speaks of her interest in anthropology, philosophy, literature, music and metonymical relationships. Henrot produced Grosse Fatigue during a residency at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.”

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Still fom Grosse Fatigue, by Camille Henrot

All images are © 2019 ADAGP Camille Henrot. Courtesy the artist, Silex Films, and Kamel Mennour, Paris.

 

 

Films Of 2019 (III): The Big Store, By Lars Arrhenius And Johannes Müntzing

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Videostill from The Big Store, by Lars Arrhenius and Johannes Müntzing

The Big Store is an animated film which takes place at the department store NK in Stockholm, during the minutes surrounding the murder of the Foreign Minister Anna Lindh in 2003.

The murder was filmed by surveillance cameras, but in the animation produced by Lars Arrhenius and Johannes Müntzing, shoppers and flaneurs in the department store appear as skeletons on an X-ray screen, and no consumer objects are visible.

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Videostill from The Big Store, by Lars Arrhenius and Johannes Müntzing

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Poster for The Big Store, by Lars Arrhenius and Johannes Müntzing

 

 

Films Of 2019 (II): Where The Border Runs, By Knutte Wester

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Installation view from Moderna Museet: Where the Border Runs, by Knutte Wester

An undocumented refugee limps about in a muddy field somewhere in Sweden and shows us a border. The border appears real, almost like a national border, and crossing it might have disastrous consequences. He tells us that he has lived inside the border for four years. There is something incomprehensible about the border, it seems taken out of nothing.

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Videostill from Where the Border Runs, by Knutte Wester

“You see over there? Back there’s where the border is.” A child moves around in the Swedish countryside and points out an invisible border. It frames the safe areas in the vicinity of a place where he lives with other undocumented immigrants. The film’s aesthetics are pared-down and unsentimental. The boy talks about his situation without a trace of bitterness. “Sure, it would be great to go in to town and eat a hamburger, but you have to wait your turn”, he says. – Quoted from the website of Moderna Museet.

Where the Border Runs is a film with direction, camera, sound, editing and music by Knutte Wester.
Grading was done by Simon Tingell.
Sound was mixed by Boris Laible.
The film was produced with support from Film i Västerbotten.

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Videostill from Where the Border Runs, by Knutte Wester

 

 

 

Films Of 2019 (I): Procrastination, by Björn Perborg

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Videostill from Procrastination,  by Björn Perborg

Procrastination is a pretty universal phenomenon. The possibility of instant satisfaction often appears far more attractive than some vague reward in the future. That is why many of us suddenly start to do the dishes, vacuum clean or tidy up the flat when we really should be preparing for an approaching deadline.

In this film the artist Björn Perborg reveals how his plans for a two month residency in Copenhagen turned into something else and how he, in the end, had produced nothing but a short film about procrastination.

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Videostill from Procrastination,  by Björn Perborg

Narration performed by Andrew Mottershead

Featured music is Nightclub 1960 by Astor Piazzolla, performed and recorded by Björn Perborg

Theatrical mix / Mastering by Niklas Skarp

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Videostill from Procrastination,  by Björn Perborg

Björn Perborg is a Swedish contemporary artist and filmmaker, best known for his playful sculptures and animations, lined with humour and astonishment before what is taken for granted or considered normality.

Björn Perborg was born in Västerås, Sweden. He currently lives and works on the island of Orust. After music studies in Örebro and Moscow, he switched to fine art and graduated from the Valand art academy in Gothenburg in 2003. Björn has also studied filmmaking at EICTV on Cuba and at Wits School of Art in Johannesburg.

Björn’s short films and video installations departs either from his own experiences, observations or from found stories. Larger solo shows include »Geschichten aus dem Koffer« at Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, 2009, and the retrospective »Being Björn Perborg« at Konstnärshuset in Stockholm, 2014.

 

The What And The How: Fellow Travellers

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Curating a book/exhibition/screening with the Sunshine Socialist Cinema, at FOCO in Lisbon, are: Aude Vignac, Jule Kurbjeweit, Luísa Santos, Federico Rudari, Juliana Orrego Trujillo. Here they all are, next to some randos.One of the many excellent things they are producing is a questionnaire, in which we ask our audience for thoughts on the What and the How of a utopian cinema. The answers are published continuously here on the blog, and in a book which you can find online (link coming up shortly).

Now. We would like to direct all of our readers to the questionnaire, because it is still open. Your answers will not only be published, more importantly they will provide fuel and direction for the re-structuring of our cinema. Doesn’t that sound like something you’d want to be a part of?

Go to the questionnaire, have a look, yeah?

 

“When you dream of a utopian cinema, what do you envision? What would your ideal Sunshine Socialist Cinema be like?”

– Documentary mix with fiction on possible economic and social schemes everywhere in the world and debates afterwards of what was real or what was fiction to show that some equal system can happen for real and see how we can progress

– It will provide a lot of space and acceptance for the choice of what film to screen, what audience to come and what opinions are to be raised. It will also aim for building a bridge between the artist, the audience, the industry and the society. There is always a discussion session led by different interested parties with different pov.

– It would bring different views of socialism to the screen and debates, from Stalin to Mao, and viewers as well as employees would have to cope with the natural arguments that would break up in every session, delaying people and even bringing physical fights to the outside (it sounds funny and scary, but that’s how it works)

– A place that enables watching and debating cinema with no hierarchies through panel structures or other models of power.

– This example seems already quite interesting. Maybe add a bar for those discussions ; a space for movie to be displayed in an open air environment during summer, a place to receive food/clothes to be given to charity, and tolerance/openness for everyone (which i’m sure is quite obvious).

– An open space where after a film screening we would be able to discuss, with a panel of moderators the issues we believe the film brought up

– A cinema that would create the space for reflection and action at individual and collective levels

– A socialist movie followed by a Q&A with an expert on the topic, then some alcohol to cheer everyone.

– The utopian cinema is an informal activity where everyone is welcome, is a place of debate and inclusion, a place to talk and discover other ideas.

– The utopian cinema would show films you could not see elsewhere. The watching experience itself should be special. There would be a pre-film introduction and a post-film conversation/discussion.

– Utopian cinema would allow political and social critical discussion, therefore addressing the main problems of society, and searching for possible solutions for them even if on an esthetic and symbolic level.

– It would be a place for discussing progressive ideas and learning from different perspectives after watching interesting films

– Monjas ayudando en ecología profunda, y transformando la comunidad con seguridad alimentaria

– A warm welcome, an introduction that might raise questions to consider, diverse screenings, an opportunity for a q&a after the screening, and then an informal drink with everyone who felt like staying. Maybe a local cafe that we could go to afterwards. You could intersperse screenings with talks, where the speaker showed clips, and were in conversation with one of the organisers.

– I would love it to change location, to be dynamic and use it as another lair of agenda setting.

– The ideal SSC in my opinion would raise relevant questions of society, such as poverty, income inequality and multiculturalism, and offer a socialist perspective and how to address them for the benefit of all. This however should not come in the form of a one-size-fits-all prescription, but by inspiring a discussion among the viewers and producers aswell. This is why the SSC would have to be very inclusive, also inviting people who do not identify as socialists to join in as a one-sided discussion in a bubble does traditionally not change much.

– A cinema close to the beach, with nice cold drinks, cozy chaoirs and a provacative discussion after the movie

– A cinema room were u choose a topic every month. And each week, 2 or 3 diferent movies screened (in a loop like 3 or 4 times a weeks) preceded by a little introduction and followed by a debate to understand how the movie treat the topic of the month. In order to be able to compare the diferent points of view and technicles of each movie maker.

– First of all it would show all movies in the respective original language they were recorded in. Preferably before and after the movie there would be a little art gallery/ discussion round/ some food and drinks, so that watching movies would become a social event again rather than an occasion for individual consumption.

– It should be a place to share ideas, visions, views and criticism on any kind of current past or future topic!

– A place to see a film and before the flim a context explaination with some documentations and divers opinion / see the film / and after debate aboute the topic around a drink / have some different views in the debate / there is a book music film and documentary shop / there os a bar and snack around a cheminée with a lot of sofa like a lounge

– The utopian cinema could bring up different topics (fair fashion, sustainable lifestyle, social projects, etc). It would be nice to first get an overview of the topic and then discuss it to have different point of views.

– My dream cinema would have movies in good quality sound/image that I can not find online.

– The cinema would give room for discussion and exchange in relation to the films and also the general topics the films would depict.

– It would provide information in an interesting and accessible way so that people without a lot of prior knowledge would understand and become interested

– A utopian cinema would provide a platform for watching and discussing films with socio-political themes, which would start conversations around these topics. It would also have a community-building function in the neighbourhood in which it is organised, bringing neighbours together and helping them build a sense of community spirit, although it would not be exclusively a community project and would be open to anyone from anywhere in the world. As well as this it would have an educational function, introducing people of all ages to topics and films they hadn’t previously been exposed to.

– It could mix environment problems who concern the World today

– It would be a space for community building, where cinema could bring together people from different backgrounds and talk about the movies shown.

– Utopian Cinema would show alternative ways of living in order to criticize the way we’re currently living

 

 

 

Couldn’t Be Happier In 2019

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Couldn’t be happier!

And we’re back, again, pushing outdoor solar powered socialist cinema in 2019.  Exciting  times up ahead, unless time turns out to be a  spiral in which case excitement will be found all around. This year, the year of the Pig, there will be film festivals, informative collaborations, cinema in weird locations, and opportunities for audience interactions. Might be another ‘Election Special’ too. Come over, come over!

The What And The How, our speculative investigation into utopian future formats continues. We have been collaborating with an international team of curators, who produced a questionnaire, a book, and a screening program, among other things. The report begins in the very next blogpost, coming up shortly.

 

 

Press On, Comrades

There’s been a bit of press this season. Leftwing daily Dagens ETC ran an interview with us in anticipation of our summer screening in Höja. Then they also ran a promo/ad for our screening in Katrineholm in August. The magazine published by the national artists’ union, Konstnären, had a piece about us in their latest issue, on the theme of politics&art.

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Waiting around the corner is the latest issue of Fält Magazine, soon to be published by Art Lab Gnesta. It includes a lengthy interview with us, and as a special treat the poster that Sara Granér did for us will be included, with important info printed on the back. The poster has been very popular and we ran out of free give-aways almost immediately last summer, so this will be a new chance for those who missed out the first time around. Get a copy of Fält #9 and you get a riso-printed Sunshine Socialist poster for your fridge door as a fine bonus!

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The back of the poster is designed and illustrated by Emanuel Hallklint. It’s a variation on or manual, really. Here’s an excerpt of the text…

Manual - Sunshine Socialist Cinema - V3.pdf