Creative Time Summit Comes To Town

Creative Time Summit

Creative Time Summit, photo by MalinMatilda Allberg

As New York-based Creative Time held its’ annual summit in Sweden this year, our cinema was invited to speak about art and public space in a panel arranged by Edi Muka at the Museum of Modern Art in Malmoe. Other panel participants were Laura Rakovich from Creative Time, artist Myriam Lefkowitz, and producer Ann Wallberg from Inkonst.

Our part of the talk started out with a story about outdoor cinema in the Parque Rivadavia in Buenos Aires, and ended with the DIY outdoor cinema publications that we’re working on. Currently we have a simple folder (inspired by that page from the punk zine Sideburns, you know, with the three chords, “…now start a band!”), and we’re working on a more detailed description for a 16 page booklet to be released this summer. The booklet wil also be available as a PDF, but stay tuned for more info on that as the time of publication draws near.

Someone posted the Sideburns zine here

Creative Time here

Urban Gardening In Stockholm

The cinema was asked to arrange a screening as the endpoint of a bicycle tour around urban gardening sites in Stockholm. All part of the Urban Gardening Safari-program, organized by artist Malin Lobell and Gröna Linjen.

image by Malin Lobellphoto (c) by Malin Lobell

The screening was set to take place on the rooftop of a powerstation embedded into the mountainside of the park Vanadislunden. The rooftop has a large flat area, and warm exhaust from the powerstation is pumped out onto the roof through ventilation shafts. There are already a couple of old appletrees growing on the roof, forgotten and shrunken. The site is not completely overlooked though, as there were evidence of the roof being used by homeless people. The site of the powerstation was formerly used as an outdoor theatre, with the mountainside as backdrop.

The screening was impeded by torrential rains and a thunderstorm, and for the first time since  we began, one of our outdoor screenings had to move indoors. An audience member lived across the street form the park, and opened his home to the cinema.

The films we showed were

The Return of Lenin by Kolonial Odling (Lena Ignestam, Per Gustafsson, Christel Lundberg)

A short film with Lenin visiting an allotment garden during his trip through Sweden in 1917. The film is based on an unconfirmed story about how Anna Lindhagen brought Lenin to visit Barnangens allotment garden in Stockholm. Lenin is said to have become angry that workers engaged in farming rather than revolutionary work, and saw it as a sign of false class consciousness.
Anna Lindhagen, sister of the Social Democratic mayor of Stockholm, was active in introducing allotment cultivation in Sweden. During the First World War, when Sweden was isolated from the import and export of food, the gardens would help the poorer part of the population with their food supply. Hunger Riots and looting of shops were common in Sweden at this time, and may have been the breeding ground for later reforms such as the 8 hour working day.
Hjalmar Hammarskjold, Swedish Prime Minister 1914-1917, nicknamed Hungerskjold: “I do not believe in democracy’s ability to make the people happy. Repression from above is horrible, but oppression from below, from the mass, is unbearable.”
Anna Lindhagen: “A raw and selfish nature can be refined and become helpful under the influence of that which grows and is dependent on nursing care.”

Talk about Ingeborg Holm by Victor Sjöström
Excerpts from Ingeborg Holm by Stumpenensemblen

Ingeborg Holm is a play written by Nils Krok from Helsingborg in northwest Scania. Kroks play is based on a real event, a case he was involved in as part of his social work. The play was filmed by Victor Sjöström in 1913. A striving family are working in their allotment when they are told that they have received a loan to start up a grocery shop. But the man dies, and the widow Ingeborg Holm can not feed their children, nor pay off the loan. The children are placed in foster homes, while Ingeborg has to work within the social services. She is then stricken with mental illness. The impact of the film was so great that it incited Swedish lawmakers to rewrite the Poverty Law.
Stumpenensemblen is a theater group from Helsingborg, active since the year 2000. The ensemble consists of a mixture of theater professionals and amateurs both on and behind the stage; most of the amateurs come with experiences – their own or from family/friends – of mental illness, substance abuse, homelessness and exclusion. They have annually put up new shows, such as The Threepenny Opera, Ingeborg Holm, and a specially written piece by Henning Mankell, I Thought I Heard Dogs.

Urban Farming In Kvillebäcken by Newsreels From The Gothenburg Commune

Kvillebäcken, an area of Hisingen in Gothenburg, was previously characterized by rental housing and small-scale businesses in temporary premises. When the city wished to extend its center with a showcase for sustainable urban development, the houses in Kvillebäcken were bought and the tenants were evicted. Local media and local politicians justified the demolitions with a vilification of the area, which was renamed the “Gaza Strip”.
In a film, made as a brief news report for Newsreels From The Gothenburg Commune, urban farmers who have temporarily been working on a demolition site talk about their work and their role in the area. The film was first shown in connection with Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art in 2013.

CASESTORY_Komettorgets allotments by Maria Draghici and Anders T Carlsson

At Komettorget in the Gothenburg suburb Bergsjön a group of farmers have created a green oasis. During four months in 2011, Maria Draghici and Anders T Carlsson have talked with the farmers and documented what the place means to them and others in their vicinity. Gazebos built by farmers in 2009-2010 were photographed and presented as examples of architecture, in the context of the Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art 2011. A Dialogue Table was set up to present and discuss the Komettorget allotments, together with the farmers, some representatives from City Planning and Parks and Landscape Management, and researchers working on urban planning issues. The discussion began with a screening of this film.

 

On Rich And Poor Alike

The sun shines down On Rich And Poor Alike between May and September, as we engage in a longterm discussion on forms of commons together with  groups and projects like Trampolinhuset, Kuratorisk Aktion, Ensayos, Mustarinda Association, Sorfinnset Skole/The Nord Land and SIFAV. It’s all part of the exhibition project Communities in Conversation, at Konsthall C in Hokarangen (Stockholm). Our contribution has so far consisted in two parts, a slideshow and filmscreening on smallscale coalmining in Sweden during WWII, and a draft of a future exhibition contract between the Sunshine Socialist Cinema and hosting institutions.

The Sunshine Socialist Cinema is located in the countryside of Scania, an area which served as the Swedish coalmining district for several centuries. Originally, the coal was mined by only one corporation, Hoganasbolaget, but during WWII when Swedish imports were blocked, coal became scarce, and an exception was made: private persons were temporarily allowed to mine coal on land that they owned, in gardens and on farmland. These years, when 140 new shafts were dug, became known as the Klondyke period in Scania.

The Sunshine Socialist Cinema has started collecting photographs for a slideshow of images from the Klondyke period, and has also screened a section of the film Billesholm i helg och socken (1946), which shows some of the mines being worked by local farmers. We’ve received kind assistance from Billesholms Hembygdsforening.

In tandem with collecting material on the smallscale coalmines, we are also following the current process and debate around smallscale private production of solar energy, something which we ourselves are involved in. Together with Konsthall C, we’ve begun working out an approach to regulating our future involvement with art institutions who would wish to include the Sunshine Socialist Cinema in their programming. This involves mounting solar panels which could turn institutions into microproducers of their own electricity.

 

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Two-part poster outlining an approach to exhibiting the Cinema in art institutions

(printed in soy based ink on a Riso)

Protests And Mines

ojnare-Lisa-av Joel Nilsson

Lisa Berlin photographed in Ojnare forrest, Gotland, by Joel Nilsson

We’ve compiled a video program for the Gotland Art Museum in Visby. The program will run from February 8 to March 5 2014. Art videos will be shown parallell to a compilation of videos we’ve received after an open call, in which we asked for films made by anyone involved with the protests against prospected slake mining in the forrest of Ojnare in northern Gotland. Among the Ojnare videos we have for example information films made by local environmentalists, a video shot on a mobile by a woman sitting in a tree on the day the forrest was to be cut down, and five short clips shot by the police to be used as evidence against the protesters in upcoming trials.

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Faire Le Mur by Bertille Bak

When it is announced that the mining area in northern France is due for renovation, which will lead to drastic increases in rent and effectively force people to move out, inhabitants of Barlin city n°5 in Pas-de-Calais organize the last revolt of  the mining territory. Artist Bertille Bak is the granddaughter of a coalminer from Barlin. Her film Faire Le Mur shows the people of the town involved in surreal and playful acts of resistance: banners passed from house to house so that everyone can contribute with their sewing; communication lines drawn with cans and string; bumper cars borrowed from the fun fair and driven through the streets. All the while the town is under siege by construction machinery, come to tear the old houses down. The compositions in the film are based on paintings by Poussin, Goya and Girodet, classical images of revolution and lost paradises.

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Faire Le Mur by Bertille Bak

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The world’s smallest bible thrown in the biggest man-made hole by Cecilia Parsberg

The film documents an action from the year 2000, when Cecilia Parsberg met bookbinder and rastafari Jabulani Dube from Kimberley in South Africa. In the film we see Jabulani Dube make a copy of the world’s smallest bible, the original of which is found in Stensele church in Luleå, Sweden. Cecilia Parsberg and Jabulani Dube meet in a discussion about life in two very different parts of the world, and they decide to try to make these parts meet up also in action. Jabulani, his daughter and Cecilia travel to his hometown, where the Big Hole is located. This is one of the holes resulting from diamond mining run by the De Beers company. All of Jabulanis relatives, as well as all black people from the area, have worked in the mines and dug these holes. Cecilia and Jabulani meet some people who have a small airplane, and who are open to the idea of helping them get the bible thrown in the hole. In the film we see what happens next.

The Big Hole has a circumference of 1,7 km, a diameter of 460 m. The mine was active between the years 1717-1914, and 14,5 million carats of diamonds were produced.

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The world’s smallest bible thrown in the biggest man-made hole by Cecilia Parsberg

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The Weavers by Anna Molska

The Weavers by Anna Molska is a short film based on a play by Nobel Prize Laureate Gerhart Hauptmann written in 1892. Hauptmanns’ play portrays a revolt by weavers working in textile mills, which occurred in Silesia 50 years earlier. The film by Anna Molska is also recorded in the Silesian mountains, nowadays a region in Poland. Here, coalminers await notice of redundancies and the closing down of the mining industry. When the coalmine in Bobrek Centrum was closed, there were no protests from the miners, rather a sense of resignation. Anna Molska has used coalminers as actors, with the coalmines and the surrounding landscape as scenography. In her shortened version of the play, the revolt itself has been cut out. What is left is a dialogue amongst three men, and a doleful chorus singing at the end: ‘Oh, you villains, Satan’s spawn, you eat the bread but send hunger down’.

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The Weavers by Anna Molska

In the Gothenburg Art Biennale

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Kuxa Kanema by Margarida Cardoso, 2003

During the opening weekend of the Gothenburg International Biennial of Contemporary Art, the Sunshine Socialist Cinema will present screenings of films on the deck of a boat by the Quay of Dreams in Gullbergsvass. The screenings are part of the section Art & Crime (curated by Joanna Warsza). On Saturday September 7th at 18.00 we’re showing Kuxa Kanema (Margarida Cardoso), and on Sunday September 8th at 19.00 we’re showing Handsworth Songs (Black Audio Film Collective). The screenings are parts one and two in a thematic series of four; the subsequent parts are shown in October.

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Kuxa Kanema by Margarida Cardoso, 2003

Kuxa Kanema is a documentary about how the People’s Republic of Mozambique, after declaring independence in 1975, started up a National Film Institute and began producing newsreels. The aim was to spread images and stories of how a Socialist nation was built by a unified people. Mobile outdoor cinemas would drive between towns and villages screening a new ten minute newsreel each week, the Kuxa Kanema. Kuxa Kanema means ‘birth of cinema’.

In 1991 Margarida Cardoso visits the ruin of the National Film Institute, a building partially destroyed by fire, where a few remaining employees are waiting for retirement. She starts copying what’s left of the newsreels onto videotape. She calls them “…visual documents that bear witness to the first eleven years of independence – the years of the socialist revolution”. Excerpts from the newsreels are mixed with interviews with former employees at the National Film Institute, who speak of the importance of cinema in giving form to their dreams and ideals.

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Handsworth Songs by Black Audio Film Collective, 1986

(Courtesy of Black Audio Film Collective and LUX, London)

On Sunday September 8th at 19.00 we’re screening Handsworth Songs, a film by Black Audio Film Collective. The film takes as its’ starting point the riots which occurred in Birmingham and London in 1985, and the way these events were portrayed in British media. In daily newspapers and TV the people involved in the riots can only be demonised or rationalised, not understood.

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Handsworth Songs by Black Audio Film Collective, 1986

(Courtesy of Black Audio Film Collective and LUX, London)

In Handsworth Songs the filmmakers explore a number of questions dealing with race, longing and belonging, going through decades worth of images. The format of the film attempts to mirror a multiplicity of black voices and positions in Britain, to show a heterogeneous black presence within the nation. The inclusion of older newsclips in the film builds up what the filmmakers have called “…an archive of black (un)belonging,  in the expression of hopes of belonging brutally deferred”.

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Newsreels from the Gothenburg Commune, 2013

In the mobile screening unit of our cinema, we will present newly produced ten minute Newsreels from the Gothenburg Commune each week throughout the fall. The films have been recorded by a group of artists, filmmakers, and media activists, some of whom have a background in Indymedia Gothenburg. More info about these films will follow shortly!

This Month and Next

This April, we’re doing a couple of talks and presentations in the south of Sweden, a public screening, a workshop, and a rave cinema (which equals a secret outdoor screening).

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Extremely lightweight portable cinema screen

On April 4, Kalle Brolin will present the Sunshine Socialist Cinema at the public library in Bromolla. The talk starts at 19.30 and is free of charge. There will be trailers for the films of the upcoming season, among other things. On the day before the talk, Paula Von Seth will hold a workshop for local youth, on the theme of images of the future. These videos may become part of our screenings further down the road.

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Screen snaps on

On April 17, we’re doing a screening of the Enthusiasts Archive, a collection of amateur films made by Polish workers within the context of the film clubs under socialism. The archive has been compiled and the films restored by artists Marysia Lewandowska and Neil Cummings.

From the website Chanceprojects:

“With 16mm film stock, cameras and editing tables supplied by the factory/state, a large number of clubs were created throughout Poland from 1950’s onwards. The films made, range from 2-minute animations, short experimental films, documentaries on family, village, city or factory life; to historical dramas, features and ambitious mini epics.

We are aware of around 300 clubs registered since 1960 in a number of different industrial zones e.g. Nowa Huta, Biesko Biala, Poznan, Oswiecim, Bialystok, Warszawa, Katowice, Szczecin and Gdansk.”

The screening is arranged in cooperation with the International Cafe of Angelholm.

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Widescreen format

Throughout April and May we’re doing a workshop with the artstudents of Nordvastra Skane Folk High School. The students will work on art videos imagining The Future, and these videos will be screened to the public by the end of May. The outdoor screening takes place on the evening of May 25, on the lawn in front of the folk high school, and will celebrate the 100 year jubilee of the school. A folk high school is a form of popular adult education, and originated as part of the peoples movements of 19th and 20th century Sweden. The screening will start with a slideshow of old glass print photographs of the school from when it was newly built. As part of the screening, we will also show the film We Have No Art by Baylis Glascock, a documentary made in 1967 about Sister Corita Kent. Sister Corita was a Roman Catholic nun who taught at an art school in Los Angeles.

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Fits in a coffin-sized box on wheels

On April 25th, Kalle Brolin will present the Sunshine Socialist Cinema at the Glimakra Folk High School. There will be trailers for the films of the upcoming season, among other things.

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Screen measures 4 meters wide and 1,80 meters high

As we’ve received a large sum of money to produce a portable version of our solar powered cinema and take the show on the road, we will begin in mid-April with a secret outdoor screening, part of our Rave Cinema series. More info on this momentarily.

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Portable screen in full glory obscures house

Our program this summer is starting to take shape, and we’ve got confirmed screenings of Centaur by Tamás St. Auby, Tomorrow by Andrey Gyazev, and Todos Vos Sodes Capitans by Oliver Laxe. More to come as summer approaches.