Report on the “light-typing lecture” by Kevin B. Lee, January 14, 2017, silent green

The “light-typing lecture” by HaFI resident Kevin B. Leeat silent green’s Kuppelhalle in Berlin-Wedding introduced a large and attentive audience to the biographical, methodological, theoretical and legal predicaments of a video essayist’s practice in times of increasing pressure of commercializing and streamlining the video essay’s approach to cinema. A brilliant (and moving) lesson of how to navigate a post-cinema small screen reality where watching films has become a multitask, short attention span, data-mined occupation of dealing with the massive availability of parergonal information and the vertiginious referential depths of the internet while at the same time trying to adapt to continuously changing platforms and demands (and sometimes refusing to be adaptive). Kevin’s performative lecture, in which he didn’t speak himself but rather typed away for everyone to see, letting his work speak for him, made tangible the joys and the pressures provided by the desktop as a laboratory and studio environment. Kevin also shared with us the most recent, disillusioning experience with his long-time employer, the film website Fandor, that overnight took down almost 200 of his video essays, for dubious “copyright” reasons. The work of years – vanished from sight (though some of it, thank god, retrievable at Kevin’s Vimeo presence. During the upcoming months, Kevin will investigate the irregular circulation of digital copies and rips of works by Harun Farocki as well as continue (together with Chloé Galibert-Lâiné) research into Daesh’s visual production and its circulation.

Film stills (c) Melina Pafundi

January 16th, 2017, 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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