FAKT & FIKTION – a project with the aim of connecting and exchanging

 
by Sally Müller
 
Curating film screenings and a performance to show and produce cultural exchange at the same time – How Scandinavian film and performance art make their way to Cologne, Germany.
 
Travelling is and has always been a part of the art world. It has become more and more popular to travel around for seeing and experiencing art – not only because art characterizes the country it comes from but also to collect new ideas and to create exchange. It has always been a passion for me to combine language and art. That´s why I started studying Swedish language and art history. It´s not only about learning more about another country but also about bringing it in relation to your own one.
 
One could say that the two cities Stockholm and Berlin fell in love with one other over the last years. There is a regular exchange of trends and lifestyle between the two European capital cities. Many Swedes love to live in Berlin and vice versa. The two cities – just as the countries Germany and Sweden – are close to each other in the way of thinking and living. They are in a way similar – but also different. They are close to each other geographically, but there still remains a threshold – or for some reason they feel to be far apart. Why? What is separating the countries and why is there a seeming lack of exchange in art? I am interested in realising intercultural art projects in the European North in order to investigate and discover these settings.
 
My first project with which I would like to show this fact is the film screening Identity shifts in Scandinavian film, which is part of the series FAKT & FIKTION – The interview as artistic practice. The series takes place from 1st June – 28th June 2011 at the cinema Filmclub 813, Kölnischer Kunstverein in my hometown Cologne, Germany. The series consists of five evenings in total, four film screenings about interview in video art and one performance evening around the interview as artistic practice.
 
The works in the screening Identity shifts in Scandinavian film are by different artists based in Scandinavia. After having a look at what´s happening in the contemporary video art scene, in particular in Stockholm, I and the team I worked with chose the following films that deal with the question of who plays which role in an interview situation. Jennifer Sameland’s film Thomas and Ulla (2011, 8:55 min.) evolves around an interview between two people: the young Thomas and the elderly Ulla, who talk about important issues in life. The Stockholm based artist Saskia Holmkvist shows how repetition can influence an interview situation with her film Interview with Saskia Holmkvist (2005, 8:40 min.).
 

Film still, Saskia Holmkvist, Interview with Saskia Holmkvist (2005)


 

With her film Rebecka (2004, 42 min.), the Swedish film and photography artist Miriam Bäckström shows a complex interview situation. While interviewing the Swedish actress Rebecka Hemse, it is unclear for the spectator how much Rebecka really tells about herself or if she takes all information she gives from the manuscript that she got from the artist Miriam Bäckström beforehand.
 

Film still, Miriam Bäckström, Rebecka (2004)


 

American filmmaker Ryan Tebo, who lives and works in Stockholm, creates an interview situation by asking others and in return being asked himself in his film The Well-Meaning Exile (2011, 18:86 min.). Peter Land’s & Jeannette Land Schou’s film The Beauty of Powerful Argumentation (2005, 1:32 min.) shows two characters while arguing, whereas barking is the only audible sound. The work can be seen as a comment on the other films and on the whole idea of the evening.
 
To sum it up one could say that interviews are mostly associated with notions like authenticity and truth. The three films by the Swedish artists Miriam Bäckström, Saskia Holmkvist and Jennifer Sameland however show how identities can be disarranged with the help of psychological and acting suggestions. Ryan Tebo’s film on the other hand talks more about how social and sociological conditions can modify one’s own identity as an emigrant.
 

Film still, Ryan Tebo, The Well-Meaning Exile (2011)


 

My curatorial work took place in collaboration with a team, which is based in Cologne, while I myself live in Stockholm. During the organisation process via mail, skype, calls and visits, we developed the idea of not only showing films but also presenting something more physical. The idea of a performance came up and it`s the Swedish artist Miriam Bäckström who will perform WHO AM I? together with 6 voluntary participants on the stage of the Filmclub 813 on the 28th of June 2011. Miriam Bäckström will come to Cologne especially for this evening and will participate and lead the performance, which is based on a manuscript. Each participant has their role and is supposed to act how the manuscript tells them to do. Like in her film Rebecka, the ones who get interviewed are put into a whole new situation: They are told to act according to a manuscript that instructs them what to do. It`ll be exciting to see how the participants react: do they stick to the text or do they break free and act how they like to? This turns the whole performance into an experiment that everyone present on the 28th of June will participate in.
 

Links:
Filmclub 813
Kölnischer Kunstverein
FAKT&FIKTION
 


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