Unresolved



The six pieces featured in this section confront the history of the twentieth century with notions of place and non-place. Each in its own way, through its structure, its development or its form, questions the fractures of a history stricken by war, ideological violence and the arbitrariness of power. Something unresolved, or not resolved, remains, and cannot be reduced to discourse, decisions and the slow sedimentation of history: the marks of the unthinkable, or rather, the signs and dregs of that unthinkable thing, whether it is the representation of power, the expression of the arbitrary or its consequences. Placid fragments, dispersed in reality, that the moving image questions, examines, and brings together.

Dig Shiwei’s animation appears as a disenchanted confirmation of the failure of the utopias, a surreal transposition of the nihilism of the twentieth century and of the violence exerted in the name of grand principles. The incarnations of arbitrariness come one after the other in history. Hayoun Kwon takes us to a propaganda village in North Korea, with the appearance of a city, that functions as a mechanism of fiction. The video multiplies the written registers to go to some extent against the current of ideological fiction and make access to reality possible once again. The artist goes so far as to exhibit the very device that produced the images, an analogue process at the critical distance necessary to take apart or understand a representation. Micael Espinha uses archive material of photos taken during Salazar’s dictatorship in Portugal. The work is developed as an exploration of a material frozen in time. The moving images update the empty spaces and the deserted architectures, which are then presented as so many other sets and scenes of past events, supports indifferent to a reminiscence of history.

In Jasmina Cibic’s film, the question of history is put forward through architecture. The dialogue between the four characters in the film, made up of fragments of real speeches by politicians, architects, dictators and theoreticians, underlines the ambiguity of all discourse on the replacement of buildings and the representation of power.

The two last films have a position apart in the section. They show an attempt to find in a real present sufficient elements to think the unthinkable. Bettina Nürnberg and Dirk Peuker film the area around Ebensee in Austria where, immediately after the end of the Second World War, a housing estate was built on the same site as a Nazi concentration camp. The film examines the ambiguity of its proximity to the commemorative site, and questions the discourse on the history connected to the place. Lastly, Anthony Haughey returns to the scene of the Srebrenica massacre, where in 1995 over eight thousand men and boys were murdered.

Ding Shiwei

7’ 31’’ | HDV | B&W | Stereo

2014

Screening format: High-definition digital video

China

Goodbye Utopia

Ding Shiwei questions the remains of ancient utopias, reviving the order “thou shalt not kill” and its incarnations in history. Man creates himself and destroys himself. In the Old Testament, God on Mount Sinai hands down to Moses the Ten Commandments. Meanwhile, Nietzsche tells us that God is already dead.

Hayoun Kwon

10’ | HDV | Color - B&W | Stereo

2014

Screening format: High-definition digital video

France - Republic of Korea

Model Village

A village loosely inspired by a North Korean propaganda village, Kijong-dong. Hayoun Kwon reveals a setting and invites us into a fiction carrying out the journey by proxy. This film testifies to this ghost town in its true state as a mechanism of fiction. The reality of a border confronted with its staging. This village can only be reached within our imagination.

Micael Espinha

10’ 20’’ | HDV | B&W | Stereo

2014

Screening format: High-definition digital video

Portugal

Ash

A visual and soundscaped short ambience voyage through a utopian, ghost-like city-state. In this mid-twentieth century imaginary Lisbon, the power plants continue to produce energy, brand new subway network locomotive engines hum in standby, city lights and neon signs come alive each night and radio receivers spread Salazar’s [Portuguese dictator] speeches—yet, nowhere is to be found the slightest human presence: there isn’t anyone to see and hear this newcomer modernity’s heartbeat. Only statues and facades inhabit the metropolis. Cinza is a short film made entirely from photographs that depict Lisbon during the dictatorial regime installed in Portugal from 1926 until 1974.

Jasmina Cibic

15’ 28’’ | HDV | Color | Stereo

2015

Screening format: High-definition digital video

Slovenia - United Kingdom

Tear Down and Rebuild

Composed of various quotes—belonging to political speeches, debates and proclamations—that extract and emphasize the iconoclasm of architecture, art and monuments, the film creates an original conversation between four characters. A Nation Builder, a Pragmatist, a Conservationist and an Artist/Architect become a reflection of ideological deliberation facing a practical scruple. Including words drawn from Regan’s speech on the Berlin Wall, Prince Charles’s 1984 address at Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Isis bloggers’ proclamation on the demolishment of temples, the film’s storyline uses language that endorses demolition and redesign, which were to aid the creation of new displays for ensuing nation-states or ideological positions throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.

Bettina Nürnberg | Dirk Peuker

12’ 38’’ | HDV | Color | Stereo

2014

Screening format: High-definition digital video

Austria - Germany

Cement

The Nazis set up a concentration camp in Ebensee. Nürnberg and Peuker wonder what conclusions they can draw from the topography about dealing with the past. The takes remain static; a woman’s voice dryly contributing information from off screen is all that clarifies the context within contemporary history. A site that looks like a dirt road turns out to be the Löwengang (Lion’s Walk), which the camp’s prisoners were driven down like animals to reach a tunnel that had to be dug. As soon as the film moves to the residential area that was founded on the site of the concentration camp shortly after the end of the war, surprise at the lack of sensitivity in dealing with the past mixes into the off-screen commentary. What Zement aims to get at is the ambiguity of this proximity of commemorative site and settlement.

Anthony Haughey

17’ 22’’ | HDV | Color | Stereo

2015

Screening format: High-definition digital video

UNresolved

UNresolved reflects on the 20th anniversary of genocide in Srebrenica, where in 1995 more than 8000 men and boys were systematically murdered by the Bosnian Serb army of Republika Srpska (VRS). The title relates to the UN Security Resolution 819, passed on the 16th April 1993, declaring Srebrenica as a “safe” area for refugees—the prelude to what was the largest act of genocide in Europe since the Holocaust. Following Haughey’s earlier work in Bosnia, between 1998 and 2002, he gained exclusive access to buildings and atrocity sites in Serb controlled territory, areas that have hitherto been off limits. Since completing the film, in early 2015, the building where the Dutch UN was based has been renovated. As a result UNresolved it is also an important historical document which captures the building in its original state.

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