[First] HaFI residency fellow: Kevin B. Lee

Kevin B. Leewill be the first guest of the Harun Farocki residency from the middle of December onwards. Kevin B. Lee(*1975) is one of the most well known and productive protagonists in the field now known as “Videographic Film Studies”, or more generally, the “Video Essay” genre.

Over the last ten years Lee has produced more than 300 short, analytical videos in which film reflects on film, sounds and images comment on, analyse and criticise other sounds and images. Furthermore, he is also one of the few people who knows the history of this form and is familiar with the forerunners of this genre such as Harun Farocki or Helmut Färber. In Interface 2.0. (2012), Lee extends Farocki’s reciprocal reflection on film and video (Schnittstelle / Interface) with the digital interface of Final Cut and considers how word and image relate to each other under the changed conditions.

Since 2013, within the context of two Master programmes at the Art Institute (Chicago), Lee has moved beyond the film-critical framework in the narrow sense to explore a further field. A much respected result of this work is Transformers. The Premake, a 24 minute Internet video which arranges a wealth of material available online (fan videos, Wikipedia entries, Tweets etc.) into a “desktop documentary” which, two weeks before the premiere of Michael Bay’s film, presents a critical production history of the film.
Here, as in his other work, Lee demonstrates – in addition to his technical accomplishment and astounding productivity – a consciousness for the forms of circulation, the economics and politics of every (including his own) image production.

The Harun Farocki residency has been made possible through the financing of the Goethe-Institut.

November 30th, 2016, 2016 / Residency
Interface

Sara Ahmed on the perfomativity of disgust (from The Cultural Politics of Emotion, 2004): “To name something as disgusting is to transfer the stickiness of the word ‘disgust’ to an object, which henceforth becomes generated as the very thing that is spoken. The relationship between the stickiness of the sign and the stickiness of the object is crucial to the performativity of disgust as well as the apparent resistance of disgust reactions to ‘newness’ in terms of the generation of different kinds of objects. The object that is generated as a disgusting (bad) object through the speech act comes to stick. It becomes sticky and acquires a fetish quality, which then engenders its own effects.”

November 7th, 2020, Tom

David Graeber (1961-2020) on What Would It Take (from his The Democracy Project. A History, a Crisis, a Movement, 2013, p. 193): “We have little idea what sort of organizations, or for that matter, technologies, would emerge if free people were unfettered to use their imagination to actually solve collective problems rather than to make them worse. But the primary question is: how do we even get there? What would it take to allow our political and economic systems to become a mode of collective problem solving rather than, as they are now, a mode of collective war?”

September 7th, 2020, Tom

T.J. Demos on why cultural practitioners should never surrender, via tranzit.sk:  “For artists, writers, and curators, as art historians and teachers, the meaning-production of an artwork is never finished, never fully appropriated and coopted, in my view, and we should never surrender it; the battle over significance is ongoing. We see that battle rise up in relation to racist and colonial monuments these days in the US, the UK, and South Africa. While the destruction of such monuments results from and is enabling of radical politics, it’s still not enough until the larger institutions that support and maintain their existence as well as the continuation of the politics they represent are also torn down. This is urgent as well in the cultural sphere, including the arts institutions, universities, art markets, discursive sphere of magazines and journals, all in thrall to neoliberalism, where we must recognize that it’s ultimately inadequate to simply inject critical or radical content into these frameworks, which we know excel at incorporating those anti-extractivist expressions into further forms of cultural capital and wealth accumulation. What’s required is more of the building of nonprofit and community-based institutions, organizing radical political horizons and solidarity between social formations.”

August 21st, 2020, Tom
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