1st edition

The first film screenings in the Trauma & Revival project / October–December 2016

Possible Encounters in the Space of Extended Memory

In the first part of the video program for the Trauma & Revival project we want to address war, memory, and trauma, and take some unusual points of view on the subjects. We will begin with a feature film by a visual artist who is relatively unknown in Poland, Fiona Tan, who has been working with archival materials for many years. By opening the series with History’s Future, we are starting, somewhat subversively, with the issue of memory loss and crisis, as reflected in the current political and economic situation in Europe. Though this film does not directly address the issue of World War Two memory, the artist takes a close look at what might be called the after-images of the war. Later, we will be presenting issues and works that address them from the Trauma & Revival series, allowing us to delve into the presence of war in our day: in memory, discourse, politics, art etc. Expanding our scope of events, subjects, and figures, as well as media (video art will be the point of departure and a context for formal experiments of all kinds), we forward the thesis that in today’s reflections on the dark legacy of World War Two (including the genocide of the European Jews) we ought to widen our field of vision and have a close look at what seemingly does not fit inside the frame, or is another version of history. This makes every category or concept cease to be a matter of course. Like trauma or rebirth, memories require constant reworking, deconstruction, and questioning.


18 October 2016
Fiona Tan, History’s Future (2016)
Duration: 95 minutes + commentary
Commentary: Katarzyna Bojarska

The main protagonist of Fiona Tan’s film is unnamed. Nor does he have a memory, recollections, or points of reference – he has irreversibly lost them. Traveling through Europe, he seeks his roots, identity, and family. History’s Future is a tale of a fruitless search through the past. It is also a filmic essay on the contemporary crises of memory, economics, and history.

This feature debut by Fiona Tan, the creator of film installations displayed at the London Tate Modern and Paris’s Centre Pompidou, has been appreciated by European critics for its sense of humor (Screendaily) and poetry (The Guardian). It has been shortlisted for an award in the MFF competition in Rotterdam.

An introduction and commentary to the film will be made by Katarzyna Bojarska – an art critic and translator who studies the relationships between art, literature, memory/history, and psychoanalysis. She is co-founder and editor of Widok. Teorie i praktyki kultury wizualnej (pismowidok.org). She has written the book Wydarzenia po Wydarzeniu. Białoszewski – Richter – Spiegelman [Event after Event: Białoszewski – Richter – Spiegelman] (Warsaw 2012).

25 October 2016
A selection of video works by Mirosław Bałka
Duration: 60 minutes + commentary
Commentary: Roma Sendyka

A camera has accompanied Mirosław Bałka in his “excursions” to places of Holocaust memory and places recalled from childhood for many years. The artist treats the camera as a kind of notebook and tool, assisting him to see and remember.

Mirosław Bałka is a sculptor and a video artist. His works have been shown in the most prestigious galleries and museums in Poland and abroad, they have been watched by people who analyze violence, threat, and loss inscribed in space, psyches, language, and images.

The introduction and commentary come courtesy of Roma Sendyka, whose interests include visual culture and memory culture. She is head of the Center for Study of Memory Cultures at the Jagiellonian University, and author of books that include Nowoczesny esej. Studium historycznej świadomości gatunku [The Modern Essay: A Study of the Historical Consciousness of the Genre] (2006) and Od kultury ja do kultury siebie [From the Culture of “I” to the Culture of “Myself”] (2015).

15 November 2016
Paweł Mościcki
The Visual Archives of Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi
Duration: 60 minutes

Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi are considered masters of the found footage genre. Both collect and analyze pictures tied to both twentieth-century world wars and to colonialism. Their film composed of privately-owned and previously unknown footage, Pays barbare, shows the history of the conquest of Ethiopia by the Italian Fascists in 1935. The materials show the horror of war and a portrait of a new, totalitarian man “carrying the burden of civilization to a barbarian country.”

The screening will be accompanied by an interview with Paweł Mościcki – a philosopher, essayist, and translator who is primarily interested in contemporary philosophy and critical political thought, as well as theater, art, and literature. He is co-founder of the magazine Widok. Teorie i praktyki kultury wizualnej (pismowidok.org). He has also written many books, including My też mamy już przeszłość [We Also Have Our Past Now] (Warsaw 2015).

22 November 2016
Sven Augustijnen, Spectres (2011)
Duration: 104 minutes + commentary
Commentary: Andrzej Marzec

In Spectres we follow a journey of Jacques Brassinne de La Buissière – a Belgian bureaucrat who witnessed the tragic events leading up to the imprisonment and homicide of Patrice Lumumba, the first Prime Minister of Congo, in 1961. This film is not after a historical reconstruction, however; it is a reflection upon how the spectres of crime in the title are real and tangible in contemporary Belgium.

Like the publications and installations by Sven Augustijnen, these films address political, historical, and social issues, going beyond documentary and experimenting with the form of the narrative.

6 December 2016
Grzegorz Niziołek
Maryan S. Maryan, Ecce Homo (1975)
Duration: 90 minutes

From Nowy Sącz to New York, through the ghetto, the nightmare of Auschwitz, Palestine, and Paris. This was the path taken by Pinchas Burnstein, a Jewish artist who survived the Holocaust. His Expressionist pictures are found in the world’s most prestigious art museums. Ecce Homo, an experimental work by Maryan S. Maryan (the pseudonym he adopted), was created in New York’s Chelsea Hotel two years before his death. The artist deals with his wartime experiences, symbolized by the objects he summons: machine guns, straitjackets, and mannequins of SS officers.

13 December 2016
Michael Rothberg
Edgar Morin and Jean Rouch, Chronicle of a Summer [Chronique d’un été] (1961)
Duration: 90 minutes

“Are you happy?” – this is a question that Marceline, a former concentration-camp prisoner, asks random Parisians. Her responses come from machine-operator Mary Lou, a student of African descent (Landry), a Renault-factory worker named Angelo, and Jean-Pierre, a philosophy student. War trauma pulses under the surface of everyday life, and is all the more acute in that it is accompanied by a discussion of racism in France at the time of filming.

The screening is accompanied by a lecture by Professor Michael Rothberg on a concept outlined in the recently published Polish translation of Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization (2016) – on how to remember the Holocaust in the context of other historical events, social and economic problems, political crises etc.

The screenings are part of the Trauma & Revival project created with the Palais des Beaux-Arts (BOZAR) in Brussels. 
In co-operation with: Widok Visual Culture Foundation
Location: Pod Baranami Cinema, Main Square 27
Entrance free
With the support of the Creative Europe Program  of the European Union