Lowave presents: Re:Frame | Sat 10.9. > 17:15

RE:FRAME zeigt eine Auswahl von neun Werken des zeitgenössischen indischen Filmschaffens, das sich jenseits der Bollywood Industrie entwickelt und von der au?erordentlichen Kreativität des Landes zeugt. Die Filme oszillieren zwischen Videokunst, Dokumentar-, Experimental- und Animationsfilm. Sie erkunden die Erinnerungsstruktur der postkolonialen indischen Gesellschaft, sowohl hinsichtlich individueller Werdegänge, als auch nationaler Vorstellungen, im privaten wie im öffentlichen Raum. Im Spannungsfeld zwischen Vergangenheit und Gegenwart ermöglichen die gezeigten Arbeiten einen facettenreichen Einblick in die Situation des Landes mit all seinen unbeantworteten Fragen.
Das 2002 von Marc Horchler und Silke Schmickl in Paris gegründete Film- und Kuratorenlabel Lowave ist eine Drehscheibe für zeitgenössische audiovisuelle Produktionen. Ziel von Lowave ist es, außergewöhnliche Talente des Experimentalfilms und der Videokunst zu fördern und einem internationalen Publikum auch außerhalb von Festivals und Galerien zugänglich zu machen.

RE:FRAME is a selection of nine films from a contemporary cinema, beyond Bollywood, that testifies to the richness of creativity in India. Oscillating between documentary, video art, experimental film, and animation, this compilation explores the means with which the texture of memory is incorporated within postcolonial Indian society`s individual journeys as well as the national psyche; within private circles as well as public spaces. It allows for contrasting points of view regarding the country`s situation and its unanswered question: When the past has yet to catch up with the present, is it a threat or an alternative to the present?
Lowave is a Paris-based film and curator label founded in 2002 by Marc Horchler and Silke Schmickl to promote experimental film and contemporary video art and make them accessible beyond the film festival, gallery and museum circuit. Lowave provides an insight into the vibrant world of contemporary artistic creation.

Rashtriy Kheer & Desiy Salad
India 2004
Pushpamala N
11 min

Pushpamala N addresses India’s national identity through the portrait of an ideal middle class family during the 1950’s and 60’s. The film, with its dark frame, gives the impression of archival footage or an old propaganda reel. It borrows its aesthetic character from moralistic educational as well as burlesque silent films with their clown games and parodies. The roles are assigned. The father in his army uniform represents discourse, patriotism, discipline, and the outside world. The pregnant housewife represents family, personal feelings and emotions. The son is the future citizen, full of mischief, in need of discipline. The father and mother converse with each other through lists; only the child pokes fun at this exchange. While the father meditates on ballistic and strategic issues, the mother’s life is reduced to preparing and listing the ingredients needed for the home. The title National Pudding & Indigenous Salad makes reference to two dishes featuring the colors of the national flag as they symbolize the country’s different communities, united in celebration of Independence Day.

Straight 8
India 2005
Ayisha Abraham
17 min

Straight 8 is part of a vast project, by Ayisha Abraham, recounting the cultural history of amateur films in Bagalore and its surrounding region. The film relates to Tom Aguiar, an Anglo-Indian who worked in the telecommunications sector. We learn that during his downtime he produced a large quantity of films, documentary films for the most part, with the camera he carried with him during work related travels, with the dance Ram Gopal, As well as fictional accounts. One of them entitled Well Done, Walter! is included in Straight 8. This parody of a spy film was made with a group of friends over the course of a week-end. Some are theatre actors, others are British fighter pilots based in Bangalore. Though Straight 8 is based on real life, with personal anecdotes and montages of private scenes, it’s not a life story. Instead the film aims to capture the fragmented memory and imaginary realm of his projects. With this in mind Ayisha confirms: Ayisha constructed representations from already produced and imagined images: the readymade, the recycled, found footage or found objects, the parts of a culture inhabiting the private archives of memory. For her project, Ayisha spent three years researching privately owned 8mm and 16mm amateur films from the 1940’s. Cameras were not a common feature of daily life and the people featured where themselves pioneers. The project does not aim to capture the nostalgia inherit in the grainy images, instead it attempts to explore and describe non-professional creativity during a time when technology was still in its infancy; the result of which is a counter history if Indian cinema.

Ceasural, Variations 1 & 2 directed
India 2007
Raqs Media Collective
8 min

Ceasural, Variations 1 and 2 is a video meditation in two parts featuring Pittsburgh, PA as a backdrop. This diptych was first presented as an installation entitled Time Book by Raqs Media Collective at the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh in 2007 as part of an artist’s residency. In Ceasural, Variations 1, the screen is divided horizontally. The upper part takes us through the countryside along the banks of the Allegheny River and towards an abandoned steel mill that’s been reclaimed by nature while images of factory effluence sculpts the sky. The second film is a tour of a steel shop through various archival images from the 1930’s, leaving a phantom like space to appear, empty of its workers. The diptych tries to encapsulate through different points of view, the vestiges of memory, the surviving elements of Pittsburgh’s golden age, and the industrial revolution. The second part recalls work by Raqs that fit the category of the phantiroman, a contraction between phantom, anti and roman (fictional story). Conventional photo-novels are based on photographic scenes, placed in a particular order and accompanied by narrative text. The phantiroman uses found images from situations, accompanied by terse text in order to construct a darker narrative full of melancholy and irony in contrast to sentimental and sensational photo-novels. In this way, the diptych forms part of the Raqs Media Collective’s exploration of modernity and its imitators, through archives and memory, in constructing an ontology of the present.

India 2005
Ashish Avikunthak
18 min

Endnote (Antaral) by Ashish Avikunthak was filmed in 16mm and follows in the footsteps of experimental film, exploring the possibilities of film development and analog editing. The film, based on a play by Samuel Beckett, Come and Go (1966), evokes a historical autobiography. The three characters Aditi, Aswini, and Kuheli share a secret of which we know nothing about. They are replicas of Ru, Vi and Flo from the play reduced to the extreme of their theatrical possibilities with a minimalist dialogue and game. The film amplifies this aspect, not by rendering them even more minimalist – which would be impossible but by giving them a frame of context and exploiting the cyclic nature of story-telling. Antaral places the characters historically and culturally in Calcutta, more precisely in the southern part of the city, where the film maker spent his childhood. From a schematic point of view, the first part of the film is a deconstruction of the play, the second part is a reconstruction. At this point we find the play’s anticipated moments, notably when the three personalities Flo, Vi and Ru (respectively Kuheli, Aswini, and Aditi) are sitting on a bench. Vi is in the center. When she gets up and leaves, Flo comes in the middle to whisper to Ru. Then Vi comes back and sits where Flo was. This same motion of transmitting the secret is repeated three times; the character in the middle is replaced by the person on the right or alternatively the left, then comes back to occupy the empty space. At the end, each character was in the center once before disappearing once. Through the medium of Beckett’s play, Ashish Avikunthak, allows his own demons to take shape, to reminisce about forgotten times and places, thwarted friendships and loves.

Bengali Tourist
India 2003
Sarnath Banerjee
4 min

Sanath Banerjee is a graphic novelist; the book Bengali Tourist is his first experience in film animation. The story is a palimpsest that recounts contemporary Calcutta through the voyages of Ibn Battuta (1304-1369), the only known medieval traveler to have visited each Muslim country of his time. The grand traveler from Tangiers leaves on an expedition to the Middle East, travels through the sultanate of Delhi, all the way to China, in the 14th century. The artist mixes irony with his comments on the adventures of Battuta, who seems to have traveled so far only to persuade himself that everything was better at home. He makes him correspond with the dilettante wise-man Digital Dutta- the author’s fetish character whom we find in Corridor (2004) and The Barn Owl’s Wondrous Capers (2007) – a sort of symmetrical opposite of Battuta, an immobile traveler. This Parabolic film is part of a long historical reflection on tourism and the Diaspora as affiliation to this group only applies once all plans of return have been abandoned.

I Love My India
India 2003
Tejal Shah
10 min

The documentary film I Love My India by Tejal Shah is a satirical investigation of the state of Indian democracy. The video uses the pogroms against the Muslim community in Gujarat in 2002 as a backdrop. The film was made just a year after these dramatic events, one of the deadliest episodes of intercommunal violence since the country’s independence. The artist places the camera within a recreational setting, a stand for shooting balloons shaped in the phrase I love my India. This slogan was made popular during the 50th anniversary of independence during 1997-1998. It was copied onto stickers, posters, and graffiti; displayed on trucks, rickshaws, trains, buses and during cricket matches. By using the format of an opinion poll to interrogate the game’s participants, Tejal Shah constructs a means to satirize the state of Indian democracy. Those questioned appear to be either little concerned by the 2002 events or strangely amnesiac. What happened next in this episode of events gives reason to the film’s thesis. The pogroms, orchestrated by Hindi extremists, left no trace on the public conscious, despite the implication of the highest authorities, notably the prime minister of the state of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, nicknamed by his detractors The butcher of Gujarat. He’s since become an important figure in his state, a fascist monster for a minority, a hero for many. The economic success of the state seems to have covered up the anti Muslim pogroms of 2002. Modi was re-elected in 2007 and is on his way to becoming a national Hindu leader.

Space Bar (work in ‘progress’)
India 2008
Debkamal Ganguly
21 min

Space Bar by Debkamal Ganguly is a video created especially for this collection. It’s an outline of an even more ambitious and yet to be completed project. The video presents us with only one of the many stories contained within the rushes. It is a sort of road movie aboard a train. The artist travels across Bengal, a geographical zone situated east of the Indian sub-continent, today split between India and Bangladesh. More specifically, the artist traces a voyage by the Bengali writer Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay (1849-1950). In 1932 that took him to the archeological site of Bikramkhol, a cave in the Sambalpur region in the Orissa state containing pictorial symbols. Orissa became a province as recently as 1936, but the region has a history of over two thousand years making it one of the oldest civilizations of India. The video is part of a long tradition of words examining urban sprawl, in a manner composed of non-urban space and the relationship to the sacred-mythological places, but that also secularizes those spaces, finding new frames for myth and metaphor. The artist presents the perception of these other created spaces through electronic and digital mediums, the shaping of phantasmagoric space Hallucination, and Google Earth. Beyond this, Debkamal questions how a film maker should tackle, draw and register the countryside.

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