20 August & 05 September 2020
feldfünf e.V. Berlin
Film and video program
20 August 2020: WHITE WALLS with works by James Gregory Atkinson, Danielle Dean, Vika Kirchenbauer, and Emma Wolukau-WanambwaWHITE WALLS looks at city architecture and established institutions as sites of marginalization. How do bodies navigate through spaces that are clearly not meant for them? Whether the walls of museums, public institutions, or urban structures―in our society, they still remain white: in the literal, symbolic, and structural sense. They exclude the histories of marginalized bodies or make their presence hyper-visible in order to mark them as the* non-white “other.“ The selected video works raise questions about the interweaving of architecture, representation, and visibility and problematize the consolidation of normative “truths“ through public space structures. They critically examine the “white walls“ of four specific institutions:
In James Gregory Atkinson’s The Day I Stopped Kissing my Father, a black rooster wanders through the halls of the Detroit Public Library and looks up at the high ceiling and wall paintings depicting moments of U.S. history that were historically considered important―a seemingly exclusively white history from which BIPoC were systematically erased. The work’s title alludes to the moment of growing up, in which many young men* stop showing affection to their fathers due to internalized homophobia, and therefore reflects on postcolonial, normative notions of masculinity, power, and patriarchy.
Danielle Dean’s Biowhite is recorded on the premises of the Salk Institute in California, where research on skin whitening products was conducted. The video compares architect Louis Kahn’s obsession with white concrete―the most ideal and pure of all building materials―with the social desire for light skin that seems to have survived colonialism in many regions of the world. In both cases, the outer shell supposedly reflects a pure, authentic inner.
In Welcome Address by Vika Kirchenbauer, curator and researcher Ashkan Sepahvand, who organized the exhibition “Odarodle―An Imaginary Their_Story of Nature Peoples, 1535- 2017“ at the Schwules Museum Berlin in 2017, gives a welcoming speech. Having received a grant to examine the museum’s collection through a postcolonial lens, his exhibition and Kirchenbauer’s video reveal the complexity of representation politics at work. He identifies “diversity“ and “multiplicity“ as concepts that can be transformed into a kind of symbolic currency when museums publicly seek to perform self-reflection and political correctness.
In A Short Video About Tate Modern, Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa reports on her marginalizing experiences and observations in the unusually white interior of the Tate Modern, one of London’s most prestigious art museums. Who becomes visible under which conditions? And who will remain invisible? The constant feeling of hyper-visibility with which Wolukau-Wanambwas was confronted in the museum’s white exhibition space and the absurdity of the permanent gaze are confronted with critical interventions within the museum architecture.
05 September 2020: TAKING BACK THE STREETSwith Ovarian Psycos (2016) by Joanna Sokolowski & Kate Trumbull-LaValle, and a talk about mobility and empowerment with Berlin-based non-profit organization #BIKEYGEES.
“Anarco Feminist Ideals With Indigena Understandings and an Urban/Hood Mentality“ is the credo of the Ovarian Psyco-Cycle Brigade since 2010. Ovarian Psycos, a documentary by Joanna Sokolowski and Kate Trumbull-LaValle, gives an insight into the life of a group of Womxn of Color. Together they cycle through the streets of Los Angeles' East Side to reclaim the spaces in which they are made to feel like outsiders*: “Our work was born from a very real need to affirm our existence, reclaim our agency, engaging collectively in efforts to propagate rage and rebellion.“
The film and video program was part of "Flaneurin* oder Spaßverderberin*?" (Flaneur or Killjoy?), an exhibition and performance project by feldfünf e.V. (20 August – 10 September 2020). Against the background of social developments, it examines the freedom of movement of marginalized people (women*, BIPoC - Black and People of Color or LGBTQIA+) in public space from various perspectives: artistic, political, and philosophical-sociological, in order to develop new suggestions with the invited artists and visitors. Sara Ahmed's killjoy concept is a vivid source of inspiration throughout. All in all, the participants (artists, visitors, and cooperation partners) are invited to show works that reflect on how we deal with public space, its limits and possibilities, and especially with strolling in Berlin.