Artists’ Documentary: Elegies for Ideologies

Rachel Garfield, The Straggle
Rachel Garfield, The Straggle

Institute of Contemporary Art, London, 8 January 2013

The sense of melancholia that runs through this programme acts like an elegy to the Twentieth Century ideologies and ideals of the left. Phil Collins’ interviews of ex-GDR teachers echo Rachel Garfield’s interviews with adult children of leftwing activists in the UK, which she interrupts with tragicomic clips from a show of a socialist magician. Uriel Orlow departs from interview aesthetics and into the realm of poetic truth using science fiction as a form from which to explore nostalgia for old ideals but also as a ritualistic marker of history. Chlala and Sansour set up a situation in which their protagonists improvise a conversation teasing out ideologies of nationhood and power, but somehow the overabundant feast at which they are sitting leaves a discomforting feeling that resistance can’t really happen on a full stomach.

marxism today (prologue) – Phil Collins / Germany / 2010 / 25’
The Straggle – Rachel Garfield / UK / 2012 / 20’
Remnants of the Future – Uriel Orlow / Armenia/UK / 2010 / 21’
Trespass the Salt – Larissa Sansour and Youmna Chlala / 2011/ Lebanon, Palestine, UK / 11’

The screening will be followed by a discussion with artists Larissa Sansour and Rachel Garfield and curator / filmmaker Treasa O’Brien of Open City Docs Fest. This event is a special screening by Open City Docs Fest, London’s annual documentary film festival. The festival is committed to strong programming of artists’ documentaries and experimental film. The third edition of Open City Docs Fest takes place in venues around UCL and Bloomsbury 20-23 June 2013.

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