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IDFA - Amsterdam Art Weekend at IDFA: Set in Motion

Compilation of video art in collaboration with Amsterdam Art Weekend: Tashlikh (Cast Off)Monument of Arrival and ReturnExplosion Ma BabyTo Move Mountains.

Tashlikh (Cast Off)

Tashlikh is the name of a Jewish atonement ritual, in which bread or other objects are thrown into the river to symbolize the casting off of sins. Yael Bartana’s film takes a fresh look at this ritual. In slow motion, accompanied by a hypnotic soundscape, a diverse collection of objects tumble down across the screen. They are the photos, keys, guns and countless other personal possessions of both the victims and the perpetrators of genocide.

Not only is the Holocaust represented, but also the Armenian genocide of 1915, and more recent "ethnic cleansing" in Sudan and Eritrea. It's as if we're looking from above at the flow of a virtual river. They tell personal stories, and at the same time they speak for a larger, shared history. They are the silent witnesses of past suffering. Their rehabilitation opens the way for admissions of guilt, recovery from trauma, forgiveness and liberation.

Yael Bartana, Israël/Nederland, 2017, 12'

Monument of Arrival and Return

Technological innovation often leads to social change, sometimes with existential implications. The construction of the railway network on the Indian subcontinent created a new class of workers the porters and luggage carriers (locally referred to as "coolies" in keeping with the British colonial expression), identifiable by their orange uniforms with number sewn on their backs. They carry baggage and help travelers on their way, but never go anywhere themselves. They are neither the initiators of the journey, nor its final purpose, but the ultimate intermediary.

In making Monument of Arrival and Return, director Basir Mahmood attempted to withdraw from actual directing, instead positioning himself as a dramaturge setting up a scene in which coolies from the railway station in Lahore, Pakistan engage and improvise with a set of his own personal belongings. He remotely produced the film with a local crew, who received a series of sketches and narrative instructions while he himself remained far away from the actual shoot. Afterwards Mahmood received the footage as a "delivery package" to carry out the editing process.

Basir Mahmood, Pakistan, 2016, 10'

Explosion Ma Baby

Catholic festivals are often on the extravagant side, but the annual procession in honor of Saint Sebastian, captured by Pauline Curnier Jardin in a place she keeps a secret, is at the extreme end of the spectrum. When the statue of the saint is carried out of the church, the crowd bursts into song, fireworks erupt and confetti cannons color the sky red, yellow and green. Strong men hold up naked babies to Saint Sebastian, clad in his loincloth. The babies wear strings of banknotes around their necks as an offering to the saint.

Artist Pauline Curnier Jardin became fascinated by the pagan and queer mood of this event. Over several years, she filmed with a simple super 8 camera, and the digital enlargement and low angle create a dreamlike, almost trancelike atmosphere. A specially-composed drum solo combines with ambient sound. The result is a condensed yet magnified account of a ritual in which a boisterous present connects with ancient belief.

Pauline Curnier Jardin, The Netherlands/Italy/France, 2016. 9'

To Move Mountains

After apartheid is abolished and the ANC takes power, South Africa enters a new era. But for large parts of the population very little has changed: poverty and violence still reign. The relationship between the small elite on one side and the masses on the other is as unbalanced as it was 25 years previous. The legacy of colonialism continues to echo into the present.

The Soweto-born Mohau Modisakeng shows in a poetic and symbolic manner how South Africa’s dominant raw material industry helps to maintain the status quo. He walks over mountains of coal and pours oil over his hands. His eclectic outfit mirrors the various parts of South African society: from the dust masks used by miners to the trilby hat traditionally worn by bosses. Eye patches, a leather apron and white-painted feet complete the whole. This hallucinatory self-portrait transforms into a political vision.

Mohau Modisakeng, South Africa, 2015, 11'


The film you are looking for was shown in EYE in a past programme.
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Program a-z