Urban Research

urban research on film - directors lounge 2009
film / video / installation

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urban research
program A:
the future is elsewhere (did it already happen?)

Sunday 8 February 09

program 18:00

Directors Lounge, Scala Friedrichstr. 112A, Berlin-Mitte

Urban Studies often concentrate on cities in other countries than the speaker's own. Like with Ethnography, the testimony of experiences and studies in foreign countries mostly are driven by the ultimate need to understand the realm of the self. In the mirror of the other, the structure of the place that is called home might become more comprehensible. However, since ancient times and, more so, since colonialism, the foreign places, the foreign societies and lives have been seen with spyglasses toned with the colours of projection and imaginations. Claude Levi-Strauss, in his late work, shifted the paradigm of ethnography when including the observer as subject into the studies of "primitive" cultures. And Walter Benjamin disclosed the visionary potential of dreams and artefacts of popular culture for a better society. Since then, especially artists working in foreign countries have become aware of their own projections and include their own subjectivity and the awareness of being a stranger into their research of visited places.


Jeffrey Skoller
The Promise of Happiness, Pt#1 Vietnam, USA, 2008, 0:32:00

Jeremy Beaudry
Market Walk, USA, 2008, 0:05:35

Christophe Lepretre
Haji Ali's Tomb, France, 2007, 0:10:00

Daniela Kostova & Olivia Robinson
Negotiations, Bulgaria/USA, 2006-2007, 0:05:00

Mick Skolnick
Urban Noctune, Thailand, 2008, 0:09:30

Samantha Crui
Quadrafónica Urbana, Brazil, 2008, 0:12:00

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Filmstill - The Promise of Happiness Filmstill - Market Walk
Filmstill - Haji Ali's Tomb Filmstill - Negotiations
Filmstill - Urban Nocturne Filmstill - Quadrofonica Urbana

In this program, the viewer will be taken to several cities in different countries. First, filmmaker Jeffrey Skoller takes us to Vietnam, the place of projections of a (lost) US American dream of revolution. Next, we will follow the urban trail of contemporary pilgrimage to an Islamic memorial in Mumbay/ India (Christophe Lepretre). Jeremy Beaudry then, reflects on his own status as foreigner in Alexandria/Egypt. Mick Skolnick photographs the glow of the night in Bangkok/ Thailand, and Daniela Kostova and Olivia Robinson "negotiate" with the public in the streets of Nuoro, Italy, using their body as digital screen.
We open the screening with a collaborative project of simultaneous walks in 5 Latin-American cities (Samantha Crui).

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Urban Research
urban research
program B:
community and the street

Tuesday, 10 February 09   18:00

program starts in time

Directors Lounge, Scala Friedrichstr. 112A, Berlin-Mitte

Ongoing with globalization and the international doxa of market liberalism, there are local developments which cannot be explained with the term "modern development". From the point of view of "enlightenment", it is hard to say if these local developments point "backwards" or towards the "future". Vilem Flusser and other writers called this contemporary confusion of perspectives "the end of history".


Jeremy Xido,
Macondo, USA, 2007, 0:10:00

Pilar Ortiz and Paola Velásquez,
Mutación Block, Chile, 2004, 0:25:01

Simon Tarr,
Matrix, USA, 2002, 0:04:00

Aline Helmcke,
pavement, Germany, 2007, 0:01:27

Cordula Gdaniec and Julia Ovchinnikova,
Megapolis Moskau, Germany, 2006, 0:33:00

Paul Lloyd Sargent,
Random Sampling #1, USA, 2006, 0:22:00

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Filmstill - Macondo Filmstill - Mutacion Block
Filmstill - Matrix Filmstill - Pavement
Filmstill - Megapolis Moskau Filmstill - Random Sampling 1

Showing in this program: Cordula Gdaniec and Julia Ovchinnikova have studied the wave of Russification on the presently multi-ethnic city, Moskow. The voices of four Moskow artists from divers ethnic backgrounds become representatives of these precarious developments. Jeremy Xido asks if there might be banana plantations between the airport, the freeway and the imagination, on the outskirts of Vienna, Austria, looking at a place called Macondo. And, Pilar Ortiz and Paola Velasquez describe the rhizomatic developments of annex buildings in a modern residential project built by the City of Santiago de Chile, and how community fluctuates in this state of improvisation.

We start the screening with an acoustic walk of found tape in Humboldt Park, Chicago by Paul Lloyd Sargent, and a London pavement study by Aline Helmcke.

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Urban Research
urban research
program C:
cinema returns the gaze

Wednesday, 11 February 09   20:00

20:00 Special program at Galerie M in Berlin-Marzahn, Marzahner Promenade 13, Berlin-Marzahn

Perceptions and ideals of city life long have been influenced by the point-of-view of cinematography, and the popular mythologies of cinema and media. Hollywood realism and the naturalism of soap operas have shaped the way we look at our surroundings and at ourselves.

Carlo Ghioni,
Transport - 2 ZIPZOPZAP, Canada/Italy, 2008, 0:13:00

Alexander Markov,
Cities in the Cities, Russia, 2003, 0:20:00

Christopher Ernst,
Boxing the Compass, USA, 2008, 0:45:00

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Filmstill - Boxing the Compass Filmstill - Transport ZipZapZop
Filmstill - Cities in the Cities

Carlo Ghioni takes the space inside a public bus as a place of communication and interaction between protagonists. In the dramaturgy of small characters (similar to soaps), the travellers interact deliberately in this space, which both provides intimacy and anonymity. Christopher Ernst, on the other hand, puts the intense gaze of experimental filmmaking like a spell on his female protagonist. The altered visual experience results in a breakdown of the ability to handle reality. Alexander Markov reflects on city developments of big cities, especially Saint Petersburg, along the lines of archival and original footage, which follow the tradition of Russian avant-garde and documentary filmmaking.

The presentation is intended to resonate with the work of Klaus W. Eisenlohr and Johann Zeitler, "Landvermesser K. and Humboldt Landvermesser", showing at Gallery M, the place of the screening.

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Urban Research
urban research
program D:
detroit special
Brent Coughenour in person

Wednesday, 11 February 09

program 23:00

Directors Lounge, Scala Friedrichstr. 112A, Berlin-Mitte

The artist will be present for Q&A.

Brent Coughenour
I Pity the Fool, USA, 2007, 1:23:00

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Filmstill - I Pity the Fool Filmstill - I Pity the Fool

"In 2005, in an effort to improve its image for the nationwide attention brought to the city by the hosting of the American sporting event, the 2006 Super Bowl, the city of Detroit began demolishing long-vacant buildings, hastening the natural slow decay caused by decades of industrial collapse. As the city dismantles itself, clues to its past resurface. Collections of scraps sifted from rubble‹an archeology of unanswered questions‹combine to tell a surrogate narrative filled with missing pieces and forgotten motives, old letters, photographs, and home movies. Fractured moments occurring on one summer day, maybe two, echo events from thirty years earlier. The day is sunny, but it is humid, and clouds are gathering. It is going to rain."

I pity the Fool is at the same time a poetic film and an essay questioning why for most city administrations urban development seems only to be possible in brutal change erasing everything existing and memorable or, not at all.

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Urban Research

urban research
program E:
heterotopias, places, and the psychology of construction
Thursday, 12 February 09


Directors Lounge, Scala, Friedrichstr. 112A, Berlin-Mitte

If looked at close-up, contemporary (modern) urban place seems both all too familiar and yet alienating. Introducing the human body into the film set may dismantle the spectacle of representational space, its gloss and power; it may even more than scratch the surface. Another theme of this program may be the artists' opposition to "immersive" qualities, the cinematic illusion of mainstream cinema and popular visual games.

Barbara Rosenthal,
I Have A New York Accent, USA, 1988, 0:01:23

Ross Lipman,
Clean MRF / Dirty MRF, USA, 2008, 0:06:00

Barbara Rosenthal,
Society, USA, 1990; remastered 2009, 0:05:37

Charlotte Ginsborg,
The Mirroring Cure, UK, 2006, 0:27:00

Oliver Whitehead,
H2O, Finland, 2008, 0:04:00

Adam Kossoff,
Goldfinger's Playground, UK, 2008, 0:04:45

Claire Hope,
Your task will fail to be realised (I'll do what I can), UK, 2005, 0:08:35

Henry Gwiazda,
on the roof, USA, 2008, 0:04:16

Julie Meyer,
Ricochet, France, 2008, 0:01:36

Andrew Eyman,
Streetymades — La Vie En Rose, USA, 2001, 0:03:27

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Filmstill - I Have A New York Accent Filmstill - Clean MRF
Filmstill - Society Filmstill - H2O
Filmstill - Your Task Will Fail... Filmstill - On the Roof
Filmstill - Ricochet

In this film program, Charlotte Ginsborg gives her protagonist, a developer of urban office buildings a professionally problematic flaw: large spaces make him dizzy. The cure for his disease he finds in an interesting interaction with people in his surroundings, which the author depicts in documentary cinema style. Barbara Rosenthal surpasses the discussion about society by reading the listings beginning with "society ofŠ" from the NYC phonebook. Claire Hope enacts corporate social measurements conflicting with playful human interactions in a representational corporate lobby. Oliver Whitehead, Ross Lipman, Adam Kosoff and Julie Meyer observe a graveyard, a recycling facility, a "brutalist" residential project and light-filled office hallways respectively, as spaces that indicate some kind of surplus, may it be water, awe or undeciphered meaning; while Henry Gwiazda and Andrew Eyman take on a more artificial, art related, stance on humane aspects of space in their films.

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Urban Research

urban research
program F:
Loop and Installations

during urban research nights

doors open 18:00

Directors Lounge, Scala Friedrichstr. 112A, Berlin-Mitte

Brook Hinton,
A Trip Down Third Street Before The Unknown, USA, 2007, 0:08:00

Caroline Koebel,
Grand Central/Central Terminal, USA, 2008, 0:05:50

David Brown,
New Bike, USA, 2008, 0:04:17

Elle Burchill,
In Black & White, USA, 2008, 0:07:44

Henry Gwiazda,
i'm sitting, watching......, USA, 2005, 0:22:45

Jeremy Beaudry,
A Berlin Chronicle, USA, 2009, 0:02:18

Michael Gumnor,
Super Normal, Germany, 2008, 0:04:25

Study on landscape and time: The Korsakoff's Syndrome, Italy, 2008, 0:04:20

Neil Ira Needleman,
Postcard from Harbin, USA, 2008, 0:06:00

Pilar Ortiz,
Watching Time Go By My Bedroom Window, Chile, 2008, 0:05:10

Richard Bahto,
Passeggiata, USA, 2004, 0:07:03

Sylvia Winkler / Stephan Köperl,
Make No $mall Plans, Germany, 2008, 0:06:00

Clemens Fürtler,
Bildermaschine 3, Austria, 2008, 0:04:21

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Videostill - A Trip Down Third Street
Videostill - No Small Plans
Videostill - Bildermaschine 3Videostill - Bildermaschine 3

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