The Best of 2017 European Media Arts Festival

Nov 28


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Tue, Nov 28

Selections by Randall Halle, Director, University of Pittsburgh Film Studies Program. Three films plus a post-screening discussion. Films: Conversation with a Cactus (Elise Florenty & Marcel Türkowsky), Rubber Coated Steel (Lawrence Abu Hamdan), Das Gestell (Philip Widmann).

EMAF is one of the most influential forums of international Media Art. Each year the festival offers its visitors a current overview of experimental films, installations, performances, digital formats and hybrid forms, ranging from personal and political subjects or formal experiments to provocative statements from the pulsating area of "Media Art – Society".

Conversation with a Cactus (Elise Florenty & Marcel Türkowsky)

In the suburbs of Tokyo, Mei, a 30-year-old woman, has just sent a message to her friend Toshi who lives in Hamburg. She speaks of haikus, strange memories of their adolescence and the recent stifling summer night where dengue fever threatens. Elise Florenty & Marcel Türkowsky are a Franco- German artist/filmmaker duo. Combining the fields of cinema, installation, publication and curation, they have been exploring the multiplicity of the self through a spiral of metamorphoses that interrogate our power relation – always shifting – to the Other (“the enemy, the plant, the animal, the spirit, the dead“).

Rubber Coated Steel (Lawrence Abu Hamdan)

May 2014: CNN captured the shooting of two unarmed teenagers during protests outside of a prison on the occupied West Bank by an Israeli soldier, who claimed “only” to be using rubber bullets instead of live ammunition. To prove him wrong, the human rights organisation Defence for Children International contacted Forensic Architecture, an agency that undertakes advanced architectural and media research, which, in turn, worked with sound artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan to investigate the incident. His audio-ballistic analysis of the recorded gunshots provided pivotal evidence. Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s work takes the form of audiovisual installations, performances, graphic works, photography, Islamic sermons, cassette tape compositions, potato chip packets, essays, and lectures.

Das Gestell (Philip Widmann)

It is hard to grasp how humans and technology continue to coexist. Resorting to biographical trivia, mythological histories and the recounting of dreams is not helping them to see these issues any clearer. In the grainy images of the film, landscapes from an uncertain time appear, occasionally flooded by water and a cacophony of brass players. The uncontrollable finds its way into a world that tries to minimise risks and thus creates new dangers. West-Berlin artist Philip Widmann graduated in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Hamburg and in Visual Communications from the University of Fine Arts Hamburg. His work has been shown in art spaces and film festivals around the world, such as the Wexner Center for the Arts, WRO Biennale Wroclaw, Berlin Film Festival, and, New York Film Festival.