Friday, February 26, 2021, 5 pm
New acquisitions for the n.b.k. Video-Forum 2020

Online screening with works by Endre Aalrust, Dario Azzellini / Oliver Ressler, Anca Benera / Arnold Estefan, Candice Breitz, Arnold Dreyblatt, Kerstin Honeit, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Judith Hopf and Florian Zeyfang, Wolf Kahlen, Karin Sander

From February 26 – March 26, 2021, n.b.k. presents a selection of the newly acquired video works for the collection of the n.b.k. Video-Forum. Founded in 1971, the Video-Forum is one of the oldest collections of video art in Germany and comprises over 1,700 works of video art from international artists. The comprehensive collection is yearly extended by several new works. In the year 2020, the purchase of video works for the collection was made possible by financial resources from the artists’ funding scheme by the Senate of Berlin's Department of Cultural Affairs and by the financial means from the institutional funding of the n.b.k., both funded by the LOTTO-Stiftung Berlin.

Endre Aalrust
Dear Deer, 2019
HD video, 19:21 min

Endre Aalrust (*1973 in Hamar / Norway, lives in Berlin) works with painting, photography, and moving images. In his artistic practice as a filmmaker, he creates essayistic films which combine documentary and staged elements. Based on extensive observations, Aalrust’s works unfold between moments of poetry and irritation.

Dear Deer, Endre Aalrust reflects on various asymmetrical relationships. The relationship between humans and animals is questioned, as is the director’s relationship with his boyfriend who is 19 years younger. Using both found footage and documentary, in part voyeuristic, footage, Aalrust’s video essay brings together tame deer in a Japanese park, Jacques Derrida’s relationship to cats, and scenes of bullfighting and dressage in Argentina with intimate Skype conversations. Accompanied by a voiceover, the artist allows us to share in his observations and reflections on cross-species empathy, embarrassment, and shame.

Candice Breitz
Profile, 2017
HD video
Variation A: 2:20 min
Variation B: 3:27 min
Variation C: 3:21 min

The video and photo artist Candice Breitz (*1972 in Johannesburg, lives in Berlin) is a chronicler of the contradictions that haunt popular discourse. Her interest is directed at the dynamics involved in the formation of familiar identities, which she explores through complex video productions, often incorporating mass media images, such as photographs, video clips, and Hollywood films

In 2017, Candice Breitz represented her country of birth—South Africa—at the 57th Venice Biennale; a country in which the question of who may (or may not) legitimately occupy the space of representation, is particularly fraught. Profile originated out of this particular context. In the work Breitz absents herself from visibility before the camera, instead platforming ten prominent South African artists who might equally have been nominated to represent the country. “My name is Candice Breitz,” the cast of voices insists intermittently, punctuating descriptions of who those before the camera actually are (or might be): man or woman, white or black, working or middle class. Veering erratically between descriptors of race, class and gender, occupation and national belonging, the verbal palate of attributes and markers delivered by the artists varies wildly in credibility. Blurring the genre of self-portraiture with the formal language of electoral politicking and self-promotional branding, Profile re-distributes the heightened attention typically garnered by an artist due to a Venice appearance, to a range of fellow artists who – much like Breitz – appear intent on consciously disrupting any fixed notion of subjectivity.

Profile consists of three single-channel videos, which are shown independently of one another. These three videos are referred to as Variation A (2:20 min), Variation B (3:27 min), and Variation C (3:21 min). In the context of this screening each variation will be online for ten days.

Kerstin Honeit

Kerstin Honeit (*1977 in Berlin, lives in Berlin) works as a filmmaker and artist with different forms of staging. Honeit’s artistic research focuses on the investigation of representational mechanisms in the production of hegemonic imagery in connection with cultural and linguistic modes of translation, especially in the cinematographic context.

, 2018 
HD-Video, 8:02 min

Since 2017 the two giant pandas, Meng Meng and Jiao Qing, have been living in the Berlin Zoo, on loan from China at the cost of millions of euros. But this promotional stunt backfired in the truest sense of the word: Meng Meng, the female panda, only walks backwards – presumably in protest against her captivity. The international media takes an entirely different, sexist route. Instead of criticizing the zoo’s problematic concept, it blames Meng Meng’s behavior on the fact that she has not yet bred and is seeking attention. Kerstin Honeit’s video work aligns Meng Meng’s protest with other performances of protesting bodies using movement in public space to address grievances.

my castle your castle, 2017
HD-Video, 14:47 min

The video work my castle your castle focuses on the debate about the reconstruction of the Berlin Palace on the foundation of the Palace of the Republic, the former seat of the People’s Chamber, the legislature of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany).
Kerstin Honeit invites two of the craftsmen involved in the construction and demolition of the palace to a conversation at the palace construction site. The setting plays with the ambience of a television talk show and thus underscores the stage-like nature of the large construction site, which serves as a platform for a wide variety of stakeholders and interest groups. A musical interlude by two queer cowboys interrupts and caricatures this reference. The castle as an “identity-forming” building of national importance is thus reoccupied as a space by protagonists whose voice is otherwise lost in the debate.

Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Judith Hopf und Florian Zeyfang
proprio aperto, 2005
PAL, 5:56 min

Natascha Sadr Haghighian develops installations, video and audio works, as well as performative interventions which reveal the infrastructures and conditions of our social order. Taking current and historical events as a point of departure, the artist addresses how our scope of action, structure of the gaze, and ultimately our thinking are formed. She shows the complex interdependencies and the mutual interpenetration of technology, politics, systems of value creation, and the biological, and calls into question our anthropocentric self-understanding.

Judith Hopf (*1969 in Karlsruhe, lives in Berlin) works with the mediums of video, drawing, performance, and installation. She examines forms of communication that seem self-evident and questions methods of political and artistic mediation in both her artistic works and theoretical texts.

Florian Zeyfang (*1965 in Stuttgart, lives in Berlin) is an artist, writer, and filmmaker. In his texts and experimental films, videos, and installations, Zeyfang critically examines the connotations of a globalized world of media signs and their impacts on society and art history. Zeyfang’s artistic practice includes both individual and collaborative works.

The video work proprio aperto depicts a winter walk through the Giardini, a site of the Venice Biennale, which traditionally takes place in summer. From offstage, a quiet voice can be heard, speaking a contemplative text about abandoned exhibition buildings, ghosts, and existing in a cultural hegemony. Still images, originally photographs, pan slowly across the frame, giving increasing attention to the varying stages of disrepair of the Biennale’s country pavilions. People can be seen sporadically in the images – a brief interruption of the pervading sense of emptiness. By juxtaposing vacant exhibition spaces with the off-season inactivity on the grounds, this collaborative work makes palpable the power structures, contradictions, and conventions involved in the reception and mediation of art.

Anca Benera / Arnold Estefan
No Shelter From The Storm, 2015
HD video, 5:42 min

The work of Anca Benera (*1977 in Constanta / Romania, lives in Bucharest) and Arnold Estefan (*1978 in Targu-Secuiesc / Romania, lives in Bucharest) comprises installations, videos, and performances. The artist duo is interested in the structures hidden behind historical, social, and geopolitical narratives. Earlier works by Benera and Estefan addressed, among other things, notions of national identity and historiography, as well as the political and cultural concept of territory. In their more recent artistic practice they have been increasingly concerned with ecological issues such as extractivism – the overuse of natural resources – and its military and political impact on the environment.

Two young people separately climb a mountainous terrain of destroyed forests, whistling the tune of Where Have All the Flowers Gone?, an anti-war protest song from the 1960s. This song has been translated, performed, and recorded in many different languages over the years. The video work No Shelter From The Storm was shot in one of the last primeval forests in Europe, in the Carpathian Mountains. This region on the Romanian-Ukrainian border is not only important for ecological reasons, it is also politically, historically, and militarily significant. No Shelter From The Storm addresses how the region has been exploited and ravaged by corrupt multinational corporations, revealing the traces of human activity in the forests. Whistled against the backdrop of devastated mountainsides, the international anti-war melody becomes an appeal against global exploitation and environmental destruction.

Dario Azzellini / Oliver Ressler
Occupy, Resist, Produce – Vio.Me., 2015
HD video, 30:17 min

Dario Azzellini (*1967 in Wiesbaden, lives in Berlin) is an artist, political scientist, and sociologist. In his cinematic and academic work, he investigates labor relations, social movements, and protest with a focus on Latin America and Europe.

In his multifaceted political work, artist and filmmaker Oliver Ressler (*1970 in Knittelfeld / Austria, lives in Vienna) deals with forms of resistance and alternative social systems. In his films and installations, he investigates political and ecological movements and discourses and their effects.

Dario Azzellini and Oliver Ressler have been collaborating regularly for around 20 years, most recently for the four-part film cycle
Occupy, Resist, Produce (2014–2018).

After Occupy, Resist, Produce – RiMaflow and Occupy, Resist, Produce – Officine Zero (n.b.k. co-production), Occupy.Resist. Produce – Vio.Me. marks the third work in the four-part film cycle, Occupy. Resist Produce (2014–2018), which deals with the occupation and self-organization of factories in Europe. At the center of Occupy. Resist. Produce – Vio.Me. is a factory in Thessaloniki that once produced industrial adhesives, insulants, and chemical building materials. After a year-long strike, the workers decided to occupy the factory in July 2011 and set up a self-organized production of organic soaps and cleaning products under the brand name Vio.Me. By capturing meetings and conversations with the workers, as well as static, almost photographic images of the production sites themselves, Ressler and Azzellini accompany the workers on this self-determined path and make democratic processes visible.

Karin Sander
Sigrid, 2018
HD video, 5:32 min

In her artistic practice, Karin Sander (*1957 in Bensberg, lives in Berlin und Zurich) questions the structural, social and historical contexts of existing situations and spaces and, using a range of media, creates new ways of seeing and experiencing them.

The digitized Pathé film Sigrid 1930 (part of the collection of the n.b.k. Video Forum) shows in a loop how the two-year-old Sigrid tirelessly throws a ball up in the air and picks it up again, superimposed by the marks and scratches inscribed in the original material. The video work Sigrid, from 2018, shows the same person, aged 89, sitting in a wheelchair and holding a massage ball in her hands, which she slowly moves from one hand to the other.

Arnold Dreyblatt
The Resting State, 2019
NTSC, 42:49 min

The artistic works of Arnold Dreyblatt (*1953 in New York, lives in Berlin) give rise to complex textual and spatial visualizations of memory. His projects – reflections on themes of remembering and archiving – include installations, works with moving images, as well as performances, theater productions, art in public spaces, and radio plays. Dreyblatt is a professor of media art at Muthesius Academy of Fine Arts in Kiel. In 2007 he was voted in as a member of the Academy of Arts in Berlin.

Dreyblatt began his research into the cognitive phenomenon of the “resting state” during a residency at the Center for Arts, Science and Technology at MIT (Boston) in 2014–15. Cognitive scientists have been exploring those forms of information processing that occur when the brain is not involved in the accomplishment of specific tasks and when there is little or no outside stimuli. Subjects are exposed to a low-stimulus environment in which light and sound signals are employed, interrupting introspection at random intervals with verbal and visual cues. The Resting State focuses on the methods with which researchers attempt to document and test this essential aspect of consciousness while at the same time turning the recipient into a test subject. Archival film excerpts depicting neurological and psychological testing, reports by test subjects and queries by researchers question the central role that visualization and language play in our understanding of internal mental states.

Wolf Kahlen
Ich kann sagen was ich will, 1975
PAL, 4:40 min

Wolf Kahlen (*1940 in Aachen, lives in Berlin) is a performance and media artist and a video art pioneer. Kahlen is a founding member of the n.b.k. Video-Forum, which opened in 1971 with the presentation of his work Reversible Prozesse. In his artistic practice, Kahlen deals with moving images and media in an analytical and critical way.

The two-part work
Ich kann sagen was ich will (I can say what I want) takes a critical approach to media, questioning basic structures of communication and the relationships between image and sound, and between seeing, hearing, and understanding. In the first part, we see the artist speaking and moving his lips, while the soundtrack only plays background noises of throat clearing and coughing. The act of viewing becomes an irritated search, a lip-reading puzzle about the content of the spoken word. In the second part, the title sentence is spoken in various intonations. However, the sound and the image are not synchronized; sometimes the sound is nearly in sync with the lips, but then they drift further apart. The different emphasizing lends different meanings to the sentence. The work alludes to the ideal of freedom of speech, while simultaneously reflecting on the “improbability of communication” – the difficulty of making oneself understood, regardless of the language one speaks.