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UvA Researchlab: The Extended City Symphony

This month a new generation of curators and artists present their own programmes and remixes of material from EYE’s collection.

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Students enrolled in the Preservation and Presentation of the Moving Image master”s course and the Media Studies master”s course at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) have curated programmes featuring their own work and films from EYE”s collection (remixes).


The Research Labs in EYE on Art on 28 February and 16 May provide scope for a new generation of curators and artists to hone their skills. In these Research Labs, students from ten art academies and universities put together a programme involving their own work and films (including remixes) from EYE”s collection. The Research Labs do not follow a strict format and often result in a cultural crossover between film and other art forms. On 28 February and 16 May EYE will award a prize for the two best projects in collaboration with Heineken H41.

Jury: Mark-Paul Meyer, Eye film senior curator, Tessa Janssen, Eye producer & Edith van der Heijde, Eye experimental film distributor.

the extended city symphony

Expressing the experience of urban life, the “city symphony” of the 1920s has become emblematic for modernity. Today, with Manovich speaking of “database cinema”, it has regained currency, as it provides a symphonic model to deal with heterogeneous images. Meaning arises through syntagmatic and paradigmatic relations, while images themselves serve as meta-texts reflecting upon mediated society.

This programme extrapolates their curatorial dimensions, using the idea of database cinema to research Eye”s actual film archive. The programme presents full screenings of short films – avant-garde, amateur, fiction, advertising – across times and places. The result is a day in the life of an imaginary cinematic city existing in the archive. The symphonic and archival multitude is amplified by this programme, being an experiment in collaboration between fourteen curators.


Instead of presenting the city waking up, marking a clear beginning of the day, as in the classic city symphony, the morning is paradoxically the extension and ending of the night.


At noon, all is still possible, within an undefined catharsis, marked by aimlessness and passive abundance. Noon is a hypothetical mid-point, a moment of brightness. However, 12am is not really when the sun is at its highest. Is it the lie of symmetry and temporal order, in which cinematic noon unfolds and and equilibrium descends?


The afternoon endures. Waiting for the next thing to come, it is possible to physically break away from city life, but it is impossible psychologically to escape its restlessness. Subjectivity is heightened when time is stretched and looped.


Dissociated from work, the evening is a moment of “self-improvement ”. However, within the neoliberal economy, leisure activities serve to keep production continuing 24/7. This rationale behind this economy actually causes an acceleration of activities


While the night is a peaceful time associated with sleep and dreams, it can also be full of intensity and danger. It is a time of contrasts - light and darkness, good and bad, noise and quiet. It turns out that a city full of life, energy and people can also be the loneliest place on earth.

(Source: UvA)


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