All entries for 2012 Weekend

Experimenta Weekend 2012


This year’s BFI London Film Festival presents its largest ever series of artists moving image programmes, culminating in the annual Experimenta Weekend from 19-21 October 2012.

In collaboration with the ICA, the Festival will also present several screenings of artists’ films to coincide with the Frieze Art Fair, from 10-13 October 2012. Our alternative opening night programme features the latest long-form work by Turner Award nominee Luke Fowler and a portrait of artist Carolee Schneemann. Further programmes at the ICA include the launch of our focus on special guest Peter Kubelka.

From his earliest film, Kubelka recognised that cinema could be so much more than a medium for telling stories, and he has been one of the most tireless advocates of film as an art form. His new work Antiphon (2012) will screen with Arnulf Rainer (1960) in an expanded projection event Monument Film on Sunday 21 October. Both films will also be exhibited on the walls of the BFI Southbank Atrium for the duration of the Festival. Martina Kudlacek’s epic documentary on Kubelka will screen at the ICA, along with a programme of his complete works to date.

The extraordinary presentation of Monument Film in the grand NFT1 cinema forms the centrepiece of an Experimenta Weekend full of outstanding visions. Thom Andersen, Nathaniel Dorsky and Laida Lertxundi return with new films, whilst Mati Diop introduces her award winning work in London for the first time, and Beatrice Gibson premieres The Tiger’s Mind.

The weekend begins appropriately at zero point, with Isidore Isou’s On Venom and Eternity (the unabridged 1951 version, screening in a brand new print): a film that radically rejected convention in its attempt to liberate cinema from the industry.

The Experimenta Weekend is curated by Mark Webber, with assistance from Shama Khanna.



On Venom and Eternity

Friday 19 October 2012, at 6:30pm, NFT3

On Venom and Eternity (Traité de bave et d’éternité)
Isidore Isou | France 1951 | 120 min (new print courtesy of Re:Voir)
The first and only film by the founder of the French Lettrist movement begins with a warning: ‘Dear spectators, you are about to see a discrepant film. No refunds will be given.’ Advocating for the rupture of language and photography, Isou expects the spectator to ‘leave the cinema blind, his ears crushed, both torn asunder by the disjunction of word and image’. At the 1951 Cannes Festival, where Traité received its first pubic screening, it won the admiration of Guy Debord and Jean Cocteau, who wondered if it would take 50 years before its radical aesthetics could be understood. The Lettrists believed the development of cinema had been stalled by the domination of the studio system. In order for a new cinema to emerge, it had first to be destroyed – symbolically and physically – by bleaching and scratching the images, and by replacing soundtracks with abrasive concrete poetry and enraged tirades.

Mark Webber

Breaking the Frame

Friday 19 October 2012, at 9pm, NFT3

Breaking the Frame
Marielle Nitoslawska | Canada 2012 | 100 min
Breaking the Frame is the first feature-length documentary on Carolee Schneemann, an artist whose pioneering work has transformed discourses on the body, sexuality and gender. In cinema history, she is primarily known for Fuses, an honestly explicit film of lovemaking from a feminine viewpoint shot between 1964-67. For decades, Schneemann has similarly challenged taboos in other media, making paintings, performances, video, collage and installations in which personal experiences are absolutely entwined with formal considerations: ‘Form is emotion. I work towards metaphors of sensation, a dramatization of loss and recovery.’ Her kinetic performance style, developed while a key member of the Judson Dance Theater, produced pieces such as Meat Joy, Up To And Including Her Limits and Interior Scroll, now regarded as seminal works of live art. In this mesmerising film, which forgoes chronological biography, the artist generously shares her memories and extraordinary personal archive. 

Mark Webber

Also screening:
Wednesday 10 October 2012, 8pm, ICA

Nathaniel Dorsky & Jerome Hiler

Saturday 20 October 2012, at 2pm, NFT3

While others bemoan the end of celluloid, Nathaniel Dorsky – whose work has become an annual highlight of the festival over the past decade – continues apace, more productive now than ever. His carefully considered practice has this year created works of great beauty from a period of sorrow. This screening of two new films will be complemented by rarely exhibited work by his companion Jerome Hiler.

August and After
Nathaniel Dorsky | USA 2012 | 19 min
‘After a lifetime, two mutual friends, George Kuchar and Carla Liss, passed away during the same period of time.’ (ND)

Nathaniel Dorsky | USA 2012 | 26 min
‘Following a period of trauma and grief, the world around me once again declared itself in the form of one of the loveliest springs I can ever remember in San Francisco. April is intended as a companion piece for August and After, and is partly funded by a gift from Carla Liss.’ (ND)

Words of Mercury
Jerome Hiler | USA 2011 | 25 min
Jerome Hiler, who shares Dorsky’s heightened sense of wonder at the world around him, builds sensuous layers of superimposition at the moment of shooting. A most private filmmaker, whose primary craft is the less transient medium of stained glass, he has until recently only shown his work as camera originals, thus limiting their public visibility. His inclusion in the latest Whitney Biennial prompted this first digital transfer.

Mark Webber

Two Architecture Studies

Saturday 20 October 2012, at 4pm, NFT3

Along the Lines
Catalina Niculescu | UK-Romania 2011 | 16 min
On a trip to her native Romania, the artist’s interest in architectural forms prompted a visual investigation into how decorative and structural motifs recur in buildings from the traditional to the modern.

Thom Andersen | Portugal 2012 | 65 min
Invited to film in Portugal on the occasion of the Vila do Conde festival’s 20th anniversary, Thom Andersen chose to document building projects by Eduardo Souto de Moura, whose work combines modernist aesthetics with traces of the architectural history of his sites. Incorporating local materials with contemporary building techniques, his clean concrete lines harmonise with natural elements and traditional stone walls. Influenced in equal measure by Mies van der Rohe and minimal sculptors such as Judd and Morris, Souta de Moura’s achievements include meticulous linear houses, the Porto subway network, and the monumental Braga Stadium, which rises out of the earth beside a mountain of imposing granite. This leisurely film features 17 such projects and culminates in a conversation between the filmmaker and the distinguished architect.

Mark Webber

Mati Diop

Saturday 20 October 2012, at 7pm, NFT3

Among the younger generation of artists exploring new approaches to narrative, the work of Mati Diop is notable for its sensitive portrayal of characters and intimate style of filming. Diop is also an actress, playing leading roles in Clare Denis’ 35 Shots of Rum and Antonio Campos’ Simon Killer, and is the niece of legendary Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambéty. Her recent short films will be presented together for the first time in the UK.

Mati Diop | France-Senegal 2009 | 16 min
‘A story about boys who are continually travelling: between past, present and future, between life and death, history and myth.’ (MD)

Big in Vietnam
Mati Diop | France 2012 | 29 min
When a lead actor disappears from set, the director searches for him in the city of Marseille. Stumbling into a karaoke bar, she loses herself in memories of her former home in Vietnam, and encounters a man who shares her sense of displacement. As night becomes day, they walk along the seafront and he recounts the story of his journey from the Far East to Europe.

Snow Canon
Mati Diop | France 2011 | 33 min
Stranded in her parents’ chalet in the French Alps, a teenage girl passes time chatting online with friends, until the babysitter arrives and events take an unexpected turn. Innocent pastimes give way to games of power and seduction.

Mark Webber

Rites of Passage

Saturday 20 October 2012, at 9pm, NFT3

Great Blood Sacrifice
Steve Reinke | USA 2010 | 4 min
‘Whatever is going on on top, there’s a precise machine at work below, and this machine is digging little grooves, and these grooves slowly join together and become the conduits by which all meaning is drained from the world.’ (SR)

Manque de preuves (Lack of Evidence)
Hayoun Kwon | South Korea-France 2011 | 10 min
To cleanse his village of demons, the chief of a Nigerian tribe plans to sacrifice his twin sons. One escapes and flees to Europe, where his application for asylum is dismissed through lack of material proof. Using his testimony as the basis, Kwon proposes an animated depiction of his account.

Gabriel Abrantes | Portugal-Haiti 2012 | 17 min
Pagan folk myth is juxtaposed with ancient Greek comedy as three Haitian girls witness disparate forms of storytelling. An old man tells the tale of his wife’s transformation into a goat. In a local village, an elaborately costumed theatre group performs Aristophanes’ Birds in the original Attic language.

Ponce de León
Ben Russell & Jim Drain | USA 2012 | 26 min
‘Our Ponce de León is an immortal for whom time poses the greatest dilemma – it is a constant, a given, and his personal battle lies in trying to either arrest time entirely or to make the hands on his clock move ever faster. For Ponce de León, time is a problem of body, and only by escaping his container can he escape time itself.’ (BR)

River Rites
Ben Russell | USA-Suriname 2011 | 12 min
‘Trance dance and water implosion.’ A constantly moving camera passes through a complex choreography of bodies engaged in rituals of work and play along the Upper Suriname River.

Mark Webber

Peter Kubelka Presents Monument Film

Sunday 21 October 2012, at 2pm, NFT1

Peter Kubelka Presents Monument Film
Peter Kubelka | Austria 1960/2012 | c.90 min (lecture screening)
The Austrian filmmaker Peter Kubelka has been a vital and uncompromising force in cinema for more than half a century. In a body of work that lasts not much more than an hour in total, he condenses and articulates the essential qualities of analogue cinema, distinguishing film as an autonomous artform. His 1960 film Arnulf Rainer, composed only of the purest elements of light and darkness, sound and silence, remains one of the most radical achievements in film history. In 2012, his new work Antiphon – in equal terms a response to that earlier film and a testament to the entire medium – will be revealed in a unique lecture screening. With 35mm projectors situated in the auditorium, each film will be screened individually, then combined as double projections, both side-by-side and superimposed upon each other. Throughout the event, Kubelka will explicate his theories, communicating his enthusiasm for cinema, and the differences between film and digital media. In parallel with this special expanded cinema presentation, the film strips of Monument Film will be exhibited on the walls of the BFI Southbank Atrium for the duration of the festival.

Mark Webber

See also:
Wed 10 – Sun 21 October 2012, 12pm-10pm, BFI: Monument Film (installation)
Thursday 11 October 2012, 6pm, ICA: Peter Kubelka: The Essence of Cinema
Saturday 13 October 2012, 1pm, ICA: Fragments of Kubelka

Monument Film (installation)

Wednesday 10 – Sunday 21 October 2012, BFI Southbank Atrium

Monument Film
Peter Kubelka | Austria 2012 | film installation
Kubelka first presented film as a three dimensional sculptural object in 1958. As an integral part of his new work Monument Film, the celluloid filmstrips of Arnulf Rainer (1960) and Antiphon (2012) will be exhibited on the walls of the Atrium at BFI Southbank, making manifest the relationship between space, time, and the physical material which runs through the projector.
Admission Free. Open from 12pm to 10pm daily.

Mark Webber

See also:
Thursday 11 October 2012, 6pm, ICA: Peter Kubelka: The Essence of Cinema
Saturday 13 October 2012, 1pm, ICA: Fragments of Kubelka
Sunday 21 October 2012, 2pm, NFT3: Peter Kubelka Presents Monument Film

The Poor Stockinger …

Sunday 21 October 2012, at 4pm, NFT3

The Poor Stockinger, the Luddite Cropper and the Deluded Followers of Joanna Southcott
Luke Fowler | UK 2012 | 61 min
The new work by Luke Fowler, a current nominee for the Turner Prize, explores the role played by left wing intellectuals in the working class communities of post-war Yorkshire. At night schools organised by the Workers’ Educational Association, adults with no other access to further education were taught by progressive thinkers such as Raymond Williams, Richard Hoggart and E.P. Thompson, from whose treatise The Making of the English Working Class the film takes its long-winded title. As in previous studies of R.D. Laing and Cornelius Cardew, Fowler makes effective use of archival and contemporary materials. The result is far from a conventional documentary: in place of objective commentary, the soundtrack features the lilting voice of artist Ceryth Wyn Evans reading Thompson’s class reports (pointed and often droll). For the present-day images of municipal buildings, West Riding towns and surrounding landscapes, Fowler shot in collaboration with American independent filmmaker Peter Hutton.

Mark Webber

Also screening:
Wednesday 10 October 2012, 6pm, ICA (with extended introduction by Dr Tom Steele)

Where the Magic Happens

Sunday 21 October 2012, at 7pm, NFT3

Ten Minutiae
Peter Miller | Germany 2012 | 5 min
A series of brief exercises in cinematographic magic.

I am Micro
Shumona Goel & Shai Heredia | India 2011 | 15 min
‘Shot in an abandoned optics factory and centred on the activities of a low budget film crew, I am Micro is an experimental essay about filmmaking, the medium of film, and the spirit of making independent cinema.’ (SG/SH)

Rita Larson’s Boy
Kevin Jerome Everson | USA 2012 | 11 min
In one of a trilogy of works based on personalities from the filmmaker’s parents’ hometown, actors audition for the role of sitcom character Rollo Larson. As they attempt to inhabit the character, subtle variations in delivery bring a hypnotic dimension to disconnected lines and repetitive actions.

True-Life Adventure
Erin Espelie | USA 2012 | 4 min
Espelie trains her camera on the myriad life forms that coexist within a small area around a mountain creek. ‘When nature writes the screenplays, she doesn’t abide by crescendos.’ (EE)

Dark Garden
Nick Collins | UK 2011 | 9 min
Contours of light define the flowers and plants of a winter garden, filmed against the black expanse of the night sky.

Robert Todd | USA 2012 | 9 min
‘A film that sustains a complex condition: keeping the inner world alive as the camera looks ‘out’ upon the world.’ (RT)

By Pain and Rhyme and Arabesques of Foraging
David Gatten | USA 2012 | 8 min
An ‘experiment touching colours’ inspired by 17th Century scientist Robert Boyle, bringing together exquisite images shot over a 13-year period. Its title, from a sonnet by Jorie Graham, encapsulates the process and infers its poetic consequence.

The Creation As We Saw It
Ben Rivers | UK-Vanuatu 2012 | 14 min
Unexpectedly given the opportunity to travel anywhere in the world, Ben Rivers chose Vanuatu in the South Pacific. Amidst the villages and landscapes of this remote archipelago, he sought out the creation myths and folktales of a distant culture.

Mark Webber

Erin Espelie will give a free talk and screening at The Natural History Museum on Mon 22 Oct 2012, at 2:30pm.

Fly into the Mystery

Sunday 21 October 2012, at 9pm, NFT3

A Lax Riddle Unit
Laida Lertxundi | Spain-USA 2011 | 6 min
‘In a Los Angeles interior, moving walls for loss. Practicing a song to a loved one. A film of the feminine structuring body.’ (LL)

Beatrice Gibson | UK 2012 | 14 min
Strangers in a strange land. As the narrator recounts a dream by composer Cornelius Cardew, the viewer is transported from the hills of Snowdonia to a mental landscape where sci-fi commingles with sexual fantasy.

Well Then There Now
Lewis Klahr | USA 2011 | 11 min
Loosely interpreting a scenario by John Zorn, Klahr uses subconscious logic to weave strands of suspense from collaged images and fragments of voiceover.

The Plant
Mary Helena Clark | USA 2012 | 8 min
‘A film filled with clues and stray transmissions built on the bad geometry of point-of-view shots.’ (MHC)

Janie Geiser | USA 2012 | 7 min
The layered imagery of Geiser’s uncanny animations suggest surreal worlds and spectral presences. ‘I was wide awake, in a dream.’

The Tiger’s Mind
Beatrice Gibson | UK 2012 | 20 min
Again referencing Cardew, Gibson’s new project The Tiger’s Mind takes his 1967 text score and applies it to the process of making a collaborative film, for which each contributor assumes the role of a character. The result is an abstract psychodrama and crime thriller set against the backdrop of a modernist house. Commissioned by The Showroom and CAC Bretigny.

Mark Webber

Laida Lertxundi will present a screening of her work at the ICA Artists’ Film Club on Tuesday 23 October 2012.

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