October 29th the E*Cinema programme is dedicated to FOUND FOOTAGE. The choice for this topic is motivated by the exhibition LOOMING FIRE that is currently on display in EYE (http://www.eyefilm.nl/en/exhibitions/péter-forgács-–-looming-fire/péter-forgács-–-looming-fire ).The exhibition has been conceived, curated and created by Péter Forgács based on archival footage from the collection of EYE. Forgacs is a renowned filmmaker of found footage films and has a great sensibility for the stories that are concealed in home movies or amateur films and manages to bring these stories to the surface.
The first exhibition in EYE (april-june 2012) was entirely dedicated to found footage and possible strategies of appropriation that filmmakers and visual artists adopt to create their artistic works. This programme of E*Cinema is about different strategies that filmmakers and artists have applied when they created works based on footage from the collection of EYE. In comparison with Forgács’ exhibition we’ll see how Gustav Deutsch worked with footage on the Dutch Indies. We’ll also see a rarely shown film by Forgács where he experimented with footage from the EYE collection and where he used four images within one screen, investigating the possibilities to overcome the limitations of the single screen.
The second focus of this evening will be on the re-use of archival footage as an strategy for archival exploration. Not only to investigate the possibilities to make archival footage accessible for new audiences, but also to give new interpretations and new meanings to archival footage. Found footage films as an expression and an outcome of archival research, as a strategy to explore the archive and to make the archive accessible in an unexpected way.
FOUND FOOTAGE: CINEMA EXPOSED, Jaap Guldemond, Marente Bloemheuvel, Giovanna Fossati (eds.), EYE/Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdan 2012 – Published on the occasion of the exhibition in EYE; sold out but still available in the bookshop of EYE !
CINEMA’S ALCHEMIST: THE FILMS OF PETER FORGACS. Bill Nichols, Michael Renov (eds.), University of Minnesota Press 2011
GUSTAV DEUTSCH, Wilbirg Brainin-Donnenberg, Michael Loebenstein (eds.), Filmmuseum Synema Publikationen, Vienna 2009
ENTERING THE FRAME CINEMA AND HISTORY IN THE FILMS OF YERVANT GIANIKIAN AND ANGELA RICCI LUCCHI, Robert Lumley, Peter Lang Publishers, London 2011
KINO AUS ZWEITER HAND, Christa Blümlinger. Vorwerk 8, Berlin 2009 (in German. French edition in preparation)
APPROPRIATION. Evans, D. (ed.), Whitechapel Gallery/MIT, London 2009
Text by Mark-Paul Meyer, senior curator at EYE.
From : André Habib, ‘It’s just a waste of time and walk and play tennis’ (http://www.rouge.com.au/12/forgacs.html , 2008); interview with Péter Forgács: ‘For me, it all begins with the question: what is an objet trouvé? What is finding an object, and placing it in a different space or time; or exposing it to the viewer in its non-original, non-conventional, non-accepted, not useful, not practical, not functional, not familiar environment? This doesn’t mean that I don’t have family photographs myself. But using photographs in my graphic work inevitably meant drawing this space into another. After many years of experimenting, and just observing and absorbing, I acquired different territories, like music and storytelling, which became tied into my special interest in history. In fact, collecting photographs and making collages from them is a normal practice since the early avant-garde, the Dadaists. We can easily look up the history of Dadaism, Surrealism or the Russian avant-garde; for them and photographers around Man Ray – Moholy-Nagy and all those people who where around the Bauhaus – recycling was a normal use of images. So to me, banal home movies are another form of objet trouvé. The kind of recontextualising I’m interested in is specifically connected to the place and the era, certain historical conditions, and my specific interest in psychology and psychoanalysis, the idea of a “forbidden past”.’
Press release EXHIBITION FOUND FOOTAGE: CINEMA EXPOSED (EYE april 2012):The exhibition presents fifteen works of art and installations. In total, it takes up an area of 1200 m2 and can best be described as a landscape of freestanding projection screens, monitors, flat screens and 16mm projections in which the rattling projector is also a component of the work. The exhibition Found Footage: Cinema Exposed begins with American filmmaker Bruce Conner (1933-2008), who started making films without using a camera as long ago as the late fifties. Via artists such as Douglas Gordon (1966) and Matthias Müller (1961), renowned for their appropriation of footage from well-known feature films, the visitor is acquainted with the work of Italian duo Gianikian/Ricci Lucchi (1942) that rearranges, slows down and adds color to fragments from early, silent cinema. The visitor also encounters home movies rescued from the hands of garbage collectors by Pablo Pijnappel (1979), TV Décollages by Fluxus artist Wolf Vostell (1932 – 1998) and the installations specially designed for the exhibition by Aernout Mik (1962) and Christoph Girardet (1966), using footage from the EYE’s own collection. Other participating artists include David Claerbout, Anri Sala, Bill Morrison and Joachim Koester.
The found film and video images are removed from their original context and subsequently resurface in a new situation. Layers of sound are added and entirely new storylines are created. The works frequently acquire a political overtone or are critical of the contemporary visual culture. The physical characteristics of the material are also often emphasized. Various installations show scratched, painted or chemically treated celluloid, while digital images are again manipulated in different ways.
Found Footage: Cinema Exposed elucidates the historical use of found visual material and examines the complex techniques and motivations with which the makers analyze the “grammar” of the moving picture – a language that everyone knows, but which nonetheless contains many secrets. The exhibition is in keeping with a tradition at EYE of presenting archive material in a new context; in the eighties and nineties, EYE – then still the Filmmuseum – took the lead in inviting filmmakers to make new films from unknown film fragments from the collection.
Press release Exhibition: Péter Forgács – Looming Fire Stories from the Netherlands East Indies (1900-1940).
From 5 October to 1 December 2013 EYE’s main exhibition space will be exclusively devoted to Looming Fire, the latest work by filmmaker and artist Péter Forgács. Based on EYE’s extensive collection of home movies, Forgács (Budapest, 1950) takes us through everyday life in the Netherlands East Indies at the height of the colonial period. Supported by quotes from original letters, the footage shows daily life as lived by Europeans in the colonial era in full glory: the etiquette, the almost forgotten traditions, family life, the colours and the scents. Thus Looming Fire is able to add an extra dimension to the historiography of the Netherlands East Indies. Forgács: “I put my films together like musical pieces. I make compositions on the basis of the material I’ve found. They are personal interpretations of history, not documentaries aiming at objectivity.”
People who leave their native soil are cut off from their past. But for the former inhabitants of the colonies, there is something else at play as well: the old places no longer exist. Although memories are kept alive, the accuracy of those memories can be called into question. The Netherlands East Indies, too, has become an imaginary country. The professional films produced there for trade, industry and the government were generally always biased. The amateur films made in the Netherlands East Indies, by contrast, show intimate family highlights, but also offer insight into everyday activities, the home, the landscape. EYE holds an extensive collection of these „eye witness reports‟, which were made with the purpose of sending them home.
Looming Fire is a multiple screen installation that offers an impression of the life led by the European elite and Indo people in colonial society, from the beginning of the previous century to the onset of the Second World War. Found footage filmmaker Péter Forgács drew on EYE‟s rich home movie collection from the Netherlands East Indies, adapting the amateur footage and supplementing it with quotes from letters held by the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT). Visitors of the exhibition pass through seven spheres, shown on more than fifteen large screens with projections. Together they offer an extraordinary and varied picture of everyday life in the former colony. Although we witness the happy moments of colonial life: birthdays, parties, family outings, a trip to a native village, shops, schools, the contact with servants; controversial issues are not shunned. Looming Fire sheds light on the complex structure of colonial society. The work questions and investigates the concepts of colonialism, memory and migration.
Please find here the hand-out:
Hand Out Found Footage