directors lounge monthly screening
phlipp hartmann | f.k.flumen
von der notwendigkeit dessen
Thursday, 27 September 2012
with guest jan eichberg
Philipp Hartmann, whose short film comedies about Karlsruhe called "Der Anner" ("the other, there" in Southern Dialect) have been audience favorites on festivals, also works in very different styles with film, preferably with Super-8, and with much more subtle humor. In addition, Philipp Hartmann will present Jan Eichberg as guest artist in the program, who creates short narratives in similar aesthetic ways. Both artists with be present and available for Q&A.
Philipp Hartmann seeks for poetic, telling images. On special occasions or vacation trips, he carries his camera together with a number of Super-8 rolls. Sometimes during a shooting, he already imagines the music going with it. Even though not a musician, his films have a musical structure and sometimes the local sounds are being used like musical material. (Blep) However, this is not what is "satisfying" him. The artist aims for more, he must bring the images together on a higher, on a surplus level, and this happens last during the video editing part. Here, he conceives of the ideas for smaller and bigger stories. Stories that are often been narrated out from off-screen, and which allow the poetic power of his images to blossom. During the editing process he also gets back to his personal archive retrieving matching images like some artists using found footage that is unrelated to time or place but matches on a metaphorical level. A highway bridge shot in Hamburg then looks believably like set in Buenos Aires. In his dense language of film montage, images, sounds and text never illustrate each other one to one. Changing speakers quote the yet undetermined protagonist in reported speech, or the speaker uses subjunctive. Even though almost every film evokes a story around one or more main characters, their existence stays ambivalent. They may have appeared in that shot, or possibly even have hold the camera in the other, however it may also be that it has only been an array of (un)related metaphors.
The filmmaker anyway does not try to make the audience suspicious, this would stand against the clear structure, rhythm and esthetic of each work. He rather tries to create riddles, or hints to stories, which possibly contradict each other. The viewer shall be immersed in mysteries on one hand, on the other he is set free to follow the imaginative travel in his own head, triggered by his own associations.
With his filmmaking practice the artists surely finds himself in a more European tradition. Names such as Werner Herzog, Alexander Kluge and Chris Marker emerge as references, even though their experiments often seem to be effected by their want for the big cinema format, the feature. Chris Marker may be the one whose experiments were least constricted by the necessities of the big picture. The small, more free experimental form that Philipp uses has rather been explored as a tradition in USA and UK, but here, minimalism took a stronger influence demanding more simple structures. In certain ways "even abstract film tells a story", if we like to quote Stan Brakhage here, however meaning a less complex narrative than what Philipp Hartman strives for. Hartmann is not fully satisfied with filming an extraordinary cloud formation, or with a man running into the open infinity of a salt lake. He has a need for the story of B., who travelled Latin America possibly with Alexander Humboldt's traces in mind, who at least built his only church in a village named Humboldt, trying to solve the quests of the world in his own ways, or just the one of time. (Von der Notwendigkeit die Meere zu befahren, of the necessity to travel the seas) Or, he has a need for the unnamed scientist exploring the crystallization of water in the upper atmosphere in order to create a link from images of his friend Meiko with his childlike, scientific joy when igniting fireworks on a clear blue-sky day, with the black and white images of contrails dividing the sky. (Für Meiko) Images that move Philipp maybe out of autobiographic reasons, transform into poetry by these associative bindings and Philipp Hartmann is thus able to alter those into images of universal human experiences. This may happen if it concerns the depictions of the last traces of an old lady in an apartment under renovation, or with the images of a natural creek back home. Even he sometimes makes it possible without spoken text.
However, the artist does not like restrictions being put on him, neither connected with a certain style, nor in relation to lyrics or music (Kastraten und Männer). Also, he does not like to be seen as addressing only one type of audience. For example, after winning the audience award "Flotter Dreier" in Hamburg with a rather spontaneous film, he developed a hole series of films called "Der Anner" (The other, there), humoresque examinations of relations with his background and hometown Karlsruhe in the South of Germany. Or, he creates a film with a mobile phone camera showing the obtrusive sellers at Copacabana beach, converted in a rhythmical composition.