Interface

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
moreless news
Rosa Mercedes / 03

Skip Norman: Filmmaker, Cinematographer, Visual Anthropologist, Teacher. This edition of Rosa Mercedes is dedicated to the life and work of Skip Norman. It will be published in multiple parts during the year 2021.

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Editorial: Skip Norman. DFFB and Beyond

Apart from directing Riffi (1966), Blues People (1968), Cultural Nationalism (1968), and his thesis film Strange Fruit (1969), Norman was a prolific cinematographer collaborating closely with other students including Helke Sander, Holger Meins, Johannes Beringer, and Harun Farocki.

December 2021 — Rosa Mercedes / 03 / C
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Editorial: Skip Norman. Testimonies

This issue includes contributions by Gerd Conradt, Carlos Bustamante, Johannes Beringer, Helke Sander, Georg Lehner, Shirikiana and Haile Gerima, Klaus Wyborny, and Brigitte Tast.

April 2021 — Rosa Mercedes / 03 / B
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Editorial: Skip Norman. Filmmaker, Cinematographer, Visual Anthropologist, Teacher

In March 2018, we screened five films directed by Wilbert Reuben “Skip” Norman (1933–2015). We knew little about him and his work.

January 2021 — Rosa Mercedes / 03
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Editorial: Skip Norman. In His Own Words

The documents span several decades and highlight some of the different geographical, cultural, and working contexts in which Skip Norman lived.

January 2021 — Rosa Mercedes / 03 / A
03/Contexts
Bobby Seale, Copenhagen, 1969

Skip Norman/Contexts: One evening in March 1969, thirty-three-year-old Bobby Seale gave a speech in the packed-to-capacity main hall of Copenhagen’s Grundtvigs Hus.

March 2022 — Rosa Mercedes / 03 / Contexts
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Distribution

Skip Norman/Contexts: Skip Norman’s films made between 1966 and 1969 while a student at the DFFB were followed by the independent productions On Africa and Washington DC, November 1970.

February 2022 — Rosa Mercedes / 03 / Contexts
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Blackman’s Volunteer Army of Liberation

Skip Norman/Contexts: The Blackman’s Volunteer Army of Liberation (not to be confused with the Black Liberation Army), was one of many Black radical groups affiliated with the Black Muslim Movement in the late 1960s.

January 2022 — Rosa Mercedes / 03 / Contexts
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Ohio State University, Columbus

Skip Norman/Contexts: In 1976, Skip Norman began studying for a BA in the Liberal Arts at the College of Arts and Sciences, the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

January 2022 — Rosa Mercedes / 03 / Contexts
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LeRoi Jones / Amiri Baraka

Skip Norman/Contexts: Blues People, the title of Skip Norman’s notorious 1968 short that features the naked bodies and voices of a white woman and a Black man, quotes the title of LeRoi Jones’ book of 1963, Blues People: Negro Music in White America.

December 2021 — Rosa Mercedes / 03 / Contexts
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Klaus Wildenhahn

Skip Norman/Contexts: Impressed by the direct cinema of Albert Maysles, Richard Leacock, and D. A. Pennebaker, Klaus Wildenhahn (1930–2018) translated their methods to the West German context.

December 2021 — Rosa Mercedes / 03 / Contexts
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Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR)

Skip Norman/Contexts: From the late 1960s to the 1990s, the WDR “Filmredaktion” offered remarkable production opportunities for young filmmakers, many of them graduates (or relegates) from the new film schools in Berlin and Munich.

November 2021 — Rosa Mercedes / 03 / Contexts
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Camerawork

Skip Norman/Contexts: During his years as a student at the Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin (DFFB) between 1966 and 1969, Skip Norman was as prolific a cinematographer as he was a director.

October 2021 — Rosa Mercedes / 03 / Contexts
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Festivals

Skip Norman/Contexts: In a document compiled for the eighteenth birthday of the Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin (DFFB) in 1984, Skip Norman lists the festivals where the films he directed were screened.

October 2021 — Rosa Mercedes / 03 / Contexts
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Vote ADF

Peter Hoffmann pointed us to Lutz Mommartz’ film Wählt ADF (Vote ADF). The film can be seen on Mommartz’ website.

October 2021 — Rosa Mercedes / 03 / Docs
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Situationen / Situations (1967)

In Situationen, Johannes Beringer captures the presence of the allied forces in the city, shows teenagers dancing in a dance hall and film students discussing the future of the film school.

April 2021 — Rosa Mercedes / 03 / B
03/Docs
Skip Norman, West-Berlin, ca. 1969/70

This short snippet of silent 8 mm film was filmed by Ingrid Oppermann in West-Berlin, possibly close to her apartment in Kurfürstenstraße, where Harun Farocki’s The Words of the Chairman (1967) was shot.

January 2021 — Rosa Mercedes / 03 / Docs
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Autobiographical Remarks

On December 22, 1933, I was born in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A., as a first son. I spent my childhood in Washington, D.C. […]

January 2021 — Rosa Mercedes / 03 / A
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We Can Just Be Filmmakers

Gerd Conradt went to see Skip Norman in North Cyprus in 2002. Their conversation focuses on Holger Meins, who, like Conradt and Skip Norman, but also Harun Farocki, Helke Sander or Hartmut Bitomsky, started to study film at DFFB in 1966.

January 2021 — Rosa Mercedes / 03 / A
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DFFB Survey (1984)

From time to time, DFFB conducted surveys among their alumni. This one, entitled “DFFB ‘volljährig’” (DFFB “adult”) was published in 1984 at the occasion of the institution’s 18th birthday.

January 2021 — Rosa Mercedes / 03 / A
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Wilbert Reuben Norman Jr.: Curriculum Vitae (1984)

Skip Norman submitted this CV as part of his interdisciplinary PhD dissertation in Anthropology, Sociology, Photography and Cinema in 1984. It is entitled “An Examination of Centenary United Methodist Church using the Photograph as Artifact.”

January 2021 — Rosa Mercedes / 03 / A
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Ethnography

Culture is the acquired knowledge that people use to interpret experience and to generate behavior. This cultural knowledge is like a recipe for organizing the necessary ingredients for a viable social life.

January 2021 — Rosa Mercedes / 03 / A