The Machine that Kills Bad People

A bi-monthly film club at ICA, London, organized together with Maria Palacios Cruz, Beatrice Gibson, and Ben Rivers.

The Machine That Kills Bad People is, of course, the cinema—a medium that is so often and so visibly in service of a crushing status quo but which, in the right hands, is a fatal instrument of beauty, contestation, wonder, politics, poetry, new visions, testimonies, histories, dreams... It is also a film club devoted to showing work—“mainstream” and experimental, known and unknown, historical and contemporary—that takes up this task.

Previous screenings:

November 2018: Larisa Shepitko's The Ascent (1977) and Ute Aurand/Ulrike Pfeiffer's Umweg (1983). Commissioned essay by Laura Staab.

September 2018: Claire Denis's Nénette et Boni (1996) and Mati Diop's Big in Vietnam (2012). Commissioned essay by Leo Goldsmith.

July 2018: Anocha Suchwichakornpong’s Mundane History (2009) and Mary Helena Clark’s The Dragon is the Frame (2014). Commissioned essay by May Adadol Ingawanij.

May 2018: Barbara Loden’s Wanda (1970) and Laida Lertxundi’s Cry When It Happens (2010). Commissioned essay by Elena Gorfinkel.

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Truth or Consequences

CIRCUIT Artist Film and Video Aotearoa New Zealand 2018 Commissions

For the five artists that comprise this programme, the referential principle of the moving image is an affordance that spurs poetic inquiries into history, identity, and relations to the land. The image’s ability to capture physical reality is not trusted outright as a guarantee of knowledge or singular truth, but approached as a starting point for processes of reflection, questioning, and attunement that make a claim on the real. These works leave behind postmodern scepticism, asserting a bond to actuality even if the meaning of what is seen and heard remains open to debate. The artists embrace diverse techniques—found footage, interviews, observation, testimony—but in all cases documentary emerges as an inquiry into not simply what we know, but how we know it, as experiments with form dynamically reflect on how to rehabilitate a relationship to reality at a time when it seems everywhere in peril.

Including newly commissioned films by:

Andrew de Freitas, Jeremy Leatinu'u, Vea Mafile`o, Janine Randerson, and Bridget Reweti

An Oceanic Feeling

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre, New Plymouth, New Zealand; 4 August – 18 November 2018

An Oceanic Feeling challenges the Romantic myth of the ocean as a dark, monstrous void of unknowable depths, populated by alien creatures. Through a series of six screenings of recent artists’ films from around the world, An Oceanic Feeling explores how the seas are thoroughly imbricated in human histories of colonialism, slavery, exploration and labour, asking: what if we understood the ocean not as dividing us but as connecting us? What politics, what ethics, would follow?

Including films by:

Peggy Ahwesh, Noël Burch and Allan Sekula, CAMP, Filipa César and Louis Henderson, Mati Diop, Maddie Leach, Rebecca Meyers, The Otolith Group, Francisco Rodriguez, Philip Scheffner, and G. Anthony Svatek.

Read the programme notes here; accompanied by the publication An Oceanic Feeling: Cinema and the Sea.

Bette Gordon

Birkbeck Institute of the Moving Image, London; 17–18 February 2017

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, New York-based filmmaker Bette Gordon produced a series of works that chart a major shift in experimental practice from the rigor of structural film to a theoretically-informed interest in fragmented narrative and subjective experience that Noel Carroll would dub the “new talkies.” With her best-known work, 1983's Variety, Gordon moves fully into the idiom of independent narrative cinema, but her concerns remain consistent: questions of sexuality, labour, and gentrification are pursued within a critical interrogation of filmic language. Hers is a cinema at once politically urgent, formally sophisticated, and emotionally compelling.

Programme 1: Variety (1983)

Programme 2: An Algorithm (1977), Exchanges (1979), Empty Suitcases (1980)

Read the programme notes here and here