Cosmin Costinas on Wed, 30 May 2007 21:28:04 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-ro] Second Lives - The documenta 12 film programme

Second Lives - The documenta 12 film programme

"It is doubtful if cinema is sufficient for this; but,
if the world has become a bad cinema, in which we no
longer believe, surely a true cinema can contribute to
giving us back reasons to believe in the world and in
vanished bodies."
(Gilles Deleuze)

The location of film at documenta 12 is the movie
theatre. This is
a very simple answer to the recent debates on how to
present moving images in the context of art. In the
course of
its existence, the film medium has not only given
proof of its
capacity to function as art (besides several other
but has also devolopped a strong presentation format
and a
strong social space: the cinema. This format and space
are based
on the physical and technical characteristics of the
They allow film to be perceived on a specific level of
to which it owes its historical success.

The venue is the Gloria Cinema in Kassel, opened in
1955, the
year of the first documenta. The film selection takes
its cue
from here: it spans the ?second half? of cinema, the
of which roughly coincides with the advent of both
(as an educational medium) and television (as a medium
of mass
entertainment and mass information). It is a period of
transitions. Cinema starts to reflect on itself in
manifold ways,
gaining an awareness of its historicity and
temporality in the
process. The relationships between screen, viewer and
the act
of viewing become less and less self-evident.

The earliest works in this series date from the years
1952 to
1955 (they could have been presented at the first
the most recent are from 2007. Beginning with Helen
Levitt to
James Benning, Roberto Rosselini to Apichatpong
These are only 4 out of the 93 male and female artists
characterise the 12 programmes of the documenta. There
numerous connections, echoes or ?lines of
linking these films, but they do not result in ?The
History of
Film Since 1950?. At the most, it?s a collection of
In the era of ?Second Life? (at home on the computer)
and an
all-encompassing presence of moving images in our
culture these
stories may remind us that cinema?s promise of a
double life
is neither a game nor a totalitarian dream. Rather, it
is a
threshold between the one life we ?have? and the
glimpse of
something else ? utmost freedom in community.

The programme tries to represent the ?normal case of
cinema? in
the context of an art exhibition. ?Normality? means
entirely different here than ?mainstream? film or
movie-going. Instead, it refers to what should be
normal: the
entirety of cinema; all types and genres ? popular
avant-garde cinema, documentary, ?arthouse? filmmaking
? united
by a single frame of contemplation. The idea is to go
beyond the
distinctions made by the market and beyond the highly
criteria used by the art world in defining the term
?artists film?.

The ?normal case of cinema? also means: film as an
event, as a
performance with a specific duration that cannot be
(or changed) by the viewer. During the 100 days of
documenta 12 the medium of film will appear 100 times.
50 full-length programmes will be shown, each of them
twice. In this framework, film is not an object to be
taken home or sauntered along, but a spatially and
temporally defined act of contemplation and exchange
with the world.
(Alexander Horwath, Director of the Austrian
Filmmuseum, Vienna)

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