Retrospective Ingemo Engström, June 2 – 19, 2022, Cinema Arsenal, Berlin

From June 2 to 19, the retrospective of Ingemo Engström’s cinematic work will run at Arsenal Cinema in collaboration with HaFI. The filmmaker worked closely with Harun Farocki in the 1970s, as screenwriter and co-director of ERZÄHLEN (ABOUT NARRATION) (1975) and actress on ZWISCHEN ZWEI KRIEGEN (BETWEEN TWO WARS) (1978). More information about the extensive film program in the presence of the director and her partner and co-director Gerhard Theuring can be found  here, on the Arsenal website.

“The first year group at the Filmhochschule München. Tabula rasa. Any long-held sentimentality about watching films was supposed to disappear, university knowledge shredded, scattered. All that remained was our own work and watching, watching, watching.” This is one of the recollections of Ingemo Engström, born in Jakobstad in 1941 as a Swedish-speaking Finn, in an issue of the film magazine Filmkritik edited by her. She had already studied literature and psychology, with both interests also finding their way into her films. She started studying at the film school in 1967 together with Wim Wenders, Werner Schroeter (who soon left the HFF to go his own way), and above all Gerhard Theuring, with whom she lives and works to this day. Between DARK SPRING (1970), her graduation film, and MRS. KLEIN (1995), she has made eight feature-length films. One of them, FLUCHTWEG NACH MARSEILLE (1977), she co-directed with Theuring, another, ERZÄHLEN(1975), with Harun Farocki. “A life in which working relationships became loving relationships, or vice versa, or both at the same time. And these relationships intervened into real life, they were life itself. This applies to my life-long collaboration with Gerhard Theuring, but also for the less lasting one with Harun Farocki, whose innovations had an effect on me until his death.” Engström calls herself an “auteurist producer”, a “somewhat weathered concept” for her, even though the “craving for freedom and self-determination” linked to this way of working corresponded to her needs. “I always concentrated on each individual project and fought until I had the financing. That meant long waits and occasional poverty”.

Engström’s films produce their own feeling of rhythm and duration. They are connected to one another by motifs (car journeys, bodies of water, music) and recurring actors (Rüdiger Vogler, Katharina Thalbach, her daughter Muriel Theuring). At the same time, they forge mental, cinematic links to film and intellectual history, using images and sounds to contemplate the ideas of Anna Seghers, Klaus Mann, Walter Benjamin, and Annemarie Schwarzenbach or make reference to the psychoanalytical approaches of Melanie Klein und Donald W. Winnicott. The film historical correspondences included in this retrospective extend to films by Kenji Mizoguchi, Alexander Kluge, Robert Bresson, and several shorts; Chantal Akerman and Jean-Luc Godard would have to be added to a more comprehensive series.

The Harun Farocki Institut feels a strong connection to Ingemo Engström and Gerhard Theuring and is happy to show this retrospective of their films in Berlin in collaboration with Arsenal.

(Volker Pantenburg)

More information about the extensive film program in the presence of the director and her partner and co-director Gerhard Theuring are published here, on the Arsenal website.

The retrospective Ingemo Engström was realized within the framework of Archive außer sich, a project of Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art in cooperation with Haus der Kulturen der Welt as part of The New Alphabet, a HKW project supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media due to a ruling of the German Bundestag.

May 24th, 2022 — Projects / Event
Interface

The Reconstruction of Ukraine. Ruination / Representation / Solidarity, online symposium, September 9-11, 2022. “The Reconstruction of Ukraine: Ruination / Representation / Solidarity” devotes particular attention to cities, architecture, art, culture and psychological trauma – but the scope of the conversations it aims to start is broader. In due course, the discussions held during the symposium may coalesce into myriad projects, initiatives and experiments undertaken by government institutions, municipalities, educational and cultural bodies and other more interstitial actors. The ambition of this symposium is to establish a platform for dialogue, facilitating communication, collaboration and constructive argument between diverse actors and initiatives.

George Edwards (Zetkin Collective) on war, nationalism and the “anti-climate lobby” (via Arts of the Working Class): “The latest prognosis of this particular war was spelt out in a flurry of reports from the IPCC; the most recent, described as ‘an atlas of human suffering’ by the chief of the UN, demanded ‘rapid, deep and immediate’ emissions cuts in all sectors to ensure an inhabitable planet for all. In step with the science, many wish this conflict to mark the beginning of an intensified programme of decarbonization, ridding economies of not only Russian, but all fossil fuels, wherever their geological source. But whilst political leaders scramble abroad to secure new sources of fossil fuels – sweet-talking sheiks and summoning LNG terminals from the ground – a resourceful and committed cohort, let’s call them the anti-climate lobby, refuse to accept this diagnosis. The partakers in the fossil industry have seized upon this crisis, sensing it as an opportunity to enlarge and entrench economic interests rooted in fossil fuels. As the course of action prescribed by the IPCC imperils this line of business, the attempts to secure fresh investments in fossil fuel infrastructures, to lock-in production and secure profits for the coming decades may feel all the more pressing. The solutions they pose also fit within the national frame and it is with nationalist political forces that they find their most ardent allies.”

July 31st, 2022

The fundamental difference that we face in Europe at the moment between the Western approach characterized by the pursuit of peace and the Eastern one focused on liberation and independence poses a dramatic challenge – in order to survive and progress, democracy as a political regime has to be capable of defending itself also in a military way.” Armed Democracy revolves around the concepts of imperialism, liberation, fascism, autocracy, revolution, and militarization in pursuit of the world to come on Europe’s burnt out land. Conceived by the Kyiv Biennial and Biennale Warszawa from the East Europe Biennial Alliance, this special public program, curated by Vasyl Cherepanyn within the 2nd edition of Biennale Warszawa, the program is a first part of the series organized by the East Europe Biennial Alliance discussing Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine and taking place in Warsaw, Prague, Kassel, and Riga over the summer and fall of 2022.

Olena Lyubchenko on Whiteness, Expropriation, War, and Social Reproduction in Ukraine (via LeftEast): “[…] when we hear on the news that ‘Ukraine is fighting a European war’ and ‘Ukraine is defending Europe’, amid images of fleeing ‘poor white’ women with children prioritized over racialized ‘Others’, ‘Ukraine’ is being made ‘white’ in the global imaginary. That is, “the injunction to ‘return to Europe’ by way of Europeanization is enabled and conditioned on the mythologies of Western civilization, and that Europeanization at once marks (promulgates) and unmarks (naturalizes) racial whiteness” [Nadezhda Husakouskaya and Randi Gressgård]. The paradox is that Europe’s existence as such has only been possible precisely because of the exploitation of global working peoples through expropriation of resources and today neoliberal economic reforms and reproduced by feminized labour.”

Vasyl Cherepanyn about the “inertness, hiding behind the European Wall” (via L’Internationale): “Many Western institutions that have been claiming ‘radical political engagement’ for years, have simply resorted to a white cube radicalism and self-satisfying humanitarianism, too afraid of acting politically beyond their comfort zone and unsettling their publics and authorities by attempting to affect the decision-making process regarding the Ukrainian cause.”

May 28th, 2022

Tatsiana Shchurko on the War in Ukraine, Entangled Imperialisms, and Transnational Feminist Solidarity, via LeftEast (May 2, 2022): “[An] uneven knowledge production and the many implications of the war against Ukraine reveal the dire need to develop a feminist anti-capitalist critique of multiple imperialisms. This language should grow from within the occupied and suppressed communities of Eastern Europe and Eurasia. An anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist feminist positionality grasps that the local is part of a global in an effort to build transnational connections of mutual aid and support against state and corporate violence. For example, statements of solidarity with Ukraine expressed by the International Committee of Indigenous Peoples of Russia and Native American communities along with the anti-war feminist march in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) on March 8, 2022, pointing out that the war in Ukraine should be of concern for a broad transnational community, may serve as instrumental examples of alternative anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist solidarities that stretch beyond state regulations and macro-politics and foreground decolonial perspectives, necessary in addressing entanglements of multiple imperialisms. Such solidarities also bring to light hidden interconnections of the past that allowed for distant communities to survive and support each other against the violence of imperialist intervention and its attendant capitalist exploitation. Thus, the march in Bishkek reminds of the socialist roots of the International Women’s Day to call for internationalist, intersectional, class solidarity against imperialism and militarism.”

Vasyl Cherepanyn on that “It’ll take more than tanks to ease Germany’s guilt” (via Politico): “Since the Soviet Union’s collapse, Germany has been imposing neocolonial optics on its Eastern European ‘peripheries,’ and on the post-Soviet space in particular, where Ukraine was long considered a gray buffer zone about which the EU was ‘deeply concerned.’ Germany didn’t bother itself much with differentiating between former Soviet countries’ pasts. Even until recently, any Ukrainian agenda in Germany was often ‘balanced’ with a Russian perspective, so as to not exclude the latter by any means.”

An unnamed anarchist and art scholar, who joined the Territorial Defense Forces, quoted by Olexii Kuchanskyi in an essay on “Digital Leviathan and His Nuclear Tail” (via Your Art and e-flux notes): “At dawn, Dima and I talked about cinema. Dima believes that cinema is inferior to literature as a means of expression because you spend much more time with a book than a film. It’s a really interesting point, something to dig into. I studied at the department of art theory & history and I never thought of it. Dima served in the military after school and worked at the factory all his life. He listens to rap, smokes pot, and tries to have fun. He is thirty-eight, his child was born last year. He likes Wong Kar-wai and is a fan of Asian cinema in general. Dima communicates by quoting Omar Khayyam, Confucius, and other awesome guys.”

April 20th, 2022
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