University of Amsterdam: Ways of Seeing
Eye on Art's Research Labs provide scope for a new generation of curators and artists to hone their skills. Students from different art academies and universities are asked to put together a programme featuring their own work and films (including remixes) from Eye’s collection. Research Labs do not follow a strict format and often result in a cultural crossover between film and other art forms. Today: Ways of Seeing by University of Amsterdam.
Ways of Seeing is an installation and short film program that explores the broad theme of voyeurism. Moving-images can both reveal and hide and as students considering the archive both metaphorically and literally, we draw connections between the filmmaker’s initial looking, the object’s fetishized potential in the archivist’s care, and now again the audience’s looking. The program title borrows directly from John Berger’s text of the same name, in which he states, “[w]e only see what we look at. To look is an act of choice.” And to continue by way of Susan Sontag, this choice “is a way of at least tacitly, often explicitly, encouraging whatever is going on to keep on happening.”
The selected shorts span from early cinema fragments like L’indiscret mystifié demonstrating how to outwit the voyeur and Barbara Hanlo’s 2009 An Honest Man Has Nothing to Hide in which the camera peers into the open windows of Amsterdam homes on winter evenings. In addition are Barbara Meter’s interior counterpoint in Convalescing (2000), Siegfried Fruhauf’s 16mm black-and-white palimpsest film Exposed (2001), and a performative assimilation into the screen with Anke Schäfer’s Undercover (2003).
As a symmetry, we also ask our audience to consider their own position as object through the site-specific installation of filmmaker Claudia Kölgen’s Show Me (1994) in which a larger-than-life eyeball will look back at passers-by. In their own ways, each film takes on tacit, complicit, or subconscious choices in order to question these ways of seeing as we experience them in both public and private spaces.
The best curated programme and the best work will be awarded by a student jury and an Eye jury.