[Fourth] HaFI residency guest: Cathy Lee Crane

In the late 1990s, experimental filmmaker Cathy Lee Crane (U.S.A.) was involved in researching for the works PRISON IMAGES (film, 2000) and I THOUGHT I WAS SEEING CONVICTS (two-channel video installation, 2000) by Harun Farocki in California. Over the past 25 years Crane has also worked on her own film productions and taught in the Cinema and Photography Department at Ithaca College (New York). Some of her films can be viewed on Vimeo here.


Cathy Lee Crane will dedicate her residency to her ongoing research for the cross-platform media project Drawing the Line, which explores the 1850s International Survey Commission that drew the Western boundary of the US/Mexico border following the Mexican/American War. This 14-part series combines archival and staged images with documentary portraits of border dwellers from border crossing towns along the Western Boundary (from El Paso/Juarez to Tijuana). The just released feature-length documentary Crossing Columbus (www.crossingcolumbus.com) explores one such town and its annual commemoration of Pancho Villa’s 1916 raid. This will enjoy a one-day-only online Sneak Preview as part of the Ashland Independent Film Festival’s Migration Series on May 28, 2020

Furthermore, one of the ongoing research strands of the institute is the “prison images” complex and its contemporary relevance. Since 2018, HaFI conducted various workshops in Berlin and New York. The residency offers the opportunity to continue aspects of this research in exchange with Crane and other invited guests, for which we will provide regular updates over the coming months.

May 26th, 2020, 2020 / Residency

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

Bernard Stiegler, quoted from The Neganthropocene (trans. Daniel Ross): “Does anyone really believe that it is possible to ‘solve’ the problems of climate change, habitat destruction and cultural destruction without addressing the consumerist basis of the present macro-economic system, or vice versa, or without addressing the way in which this system depletes the psychic energy required to find the collective will, belief, hope and reason to address this planetary challenge? Can this consumerism really survive the coming wave of automation that threatens to decimate its customer base and undermine the ‘consumer confidence’ that is fundamental to its perpetual growth requirements, themselves antithetical, once again, to the problems of biospherical preservation?”

August 14th, 2020, Tom
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