A film screening programme at
1 Shanthi Road, Bangalore
Tuesday, 24 November 2015, 6.30 pm
Bangalore is said to be both the ‘new Silicon Valley’ and a ‘Garden City’, yet is trying to come
to terms with large areas of inner city wasteland.
The film programme ‘Postcard Views’ at 1 Shanthi Road gallery, Bangalore, takes the German landscape architect GH Krumbiegel (1865-1956) as its starting point. In 1888 Krumbiegel went to London in order to help design Hyde Park and the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew, London. He subsequently settled in India at the beginning of the 20th century and designed major botanical gardens in Ooty and Bangalore after the model of British parks. A system of ‘park’ was thus transplanted toIndia and other countries, and landscape architecture became part of the British colonial programme.
Inspired by this historic fact, the artists within the film programme ‘Postcard Views’ explore landscape
from the context of ‘man-made’ environments driven by regeneration processes, political spatial division and wasteland management. They map out situations where control and power seem to
be firmly encoded within landscape and where parks and monuments seem to reveal or memorialise
certain cultural values. Our human instinct to consistently restructure nature and landscape according
to cultural perspectives and political control is laid bare.
Allowing a dialogue between different geographical locations – India and Europe – the programme
raises notions, still relevant today, concerning imperial gestures and globalisation where colonial powers’ seem to come along in disguise of rich investors. How do we interact with public space made available by the state or a colonial power structure? How do we become aware of these strategies of power? The artistic approach seems to help trace, reveal and re-evaluate those strategies within a landscape’s or a city’s layered residues
– curated by Carmen Billows
Johanna Domke, Stultifera Garden, 2008 11.35 mins., D
Domke’s film Stultifera Garden deals with an overlapping structure of the public and the private. The film is set in a park – a cultivated form of nature. In baroque times the park functions as a symbol of power by the oligarchy, demonstrating their influence by forcing nature into a human ideal. The traditional garden is a place where the entire world is represented in highly symbolic symmetry and perfection. Today it is a place were city dwellers recover from busy urban life. At the same time it is a place implementing the “elsewhere” – an un-ruled territory for individuals who are in conflict with society or the human milieu in which they live. It is also a place for individuals whose behaviour is deviant with the respect to the mean or the required norm. As in earlier works, Domke uses a travelling camera to approach the parks diverse character, emphasizing polarities as observing and being watched, high and low culture, control and non-control. The incessant pan evolves from a classic portal towards a dystopic, mazy structure of trails. The camera experiences different milieus of the park not directly examining them but portraying them with an inexplicit openness. She accesses milieus that formed architectonical structures in the shrubs, such as cruising areas and drug trafficking points. She discovers places that became functionalised entities – for teens as a get-away, for elderly as a meeting point – each and everyone with their own character and history. Without stating explicit action or narrative Stultifera Garden is more interested to explain that a park is a place for the other, where all these milieus and facets function along side. Intruding as an omniscient eye, Domke is constructing the real to establish the fictitious.
Michelle Deignan, Ways to Speculate, Single channel HD video, 2014, 4.20 mins., UK
Actual and virtual simulacra of historical European buildings, monuments and recreational spaces are presented in a tumultuous and fluctuating sonic landscape. This uncanny vision of past and present, depicting the instrumentalisation of places, is framed by two distinct voices. One languidly
quotes lyrics from Kraftwerk’s Europe Endless (1977) the other earnestly performs excerpts from the introduction to the sci-fi novel, “The Mummy: A Tale of the Twenty Second Century” by Jane Webb Loudon (1827). Between them they proposes a progressive but unstable future where past dramas can easily be re-enacted.
Michelle Deignan is an artist and filmmaker whose work explores the politics and mechanics of story
production for mass consumption. She employs video, film, text and photography to create factual
and fictional narratives often featuring producers of culture; artists, activists, writers, broadcasters,
historians. Engaging with the aspirations of televisual and cinematic forms, her works provide alternative accounts of sites, situations and representations of power. Deignan has exhibited her work in over 60 national and international exhibitions, screenings and festivals. Michelle Deignan’s moving
image work is distributed by LUX. www.michelledeignan.info
Daniel Beerstecher, Mas Continua a Vida, 2014, 5.18 mins., D
These geographic landscape stills were taken in the mountains of the Itatiala National Park, the oldest national park in Brazil. The 2014 soccer World Cup was going on at the same time and in Belo Horizonte the Germans beat the Brazilians in a devastating 7:1 defeat. While I was on a two day hike in the mountains of the national park, escaping all the soccer madness going on in Rio de Janeiro, I
had installed a recording system at home and set it up so that it recorded the reportage and the sound of the soccer game. Later I used the recording of the announcer and the background noise of the fans in the stadium as the audio track for the video pictures of the hike. The volume of the soccer game decreases continuously until it dissolves completely at the end and the sounds of nature, the wind and the birds chirping from the national park define the sound of the video. In an interview after the defeat
of the Brazilian national team the trainer Luiz “Felipão” Scolari states Mas continua a vida … [Life
goes on …]
Daniel Bierstecher was born in 1979 in Schwäbisch Hall, and lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, and
is travelling. He is a performance and video artist. Travelling is one essential part of his work as a
way of research. While travelling questions that will filter into his work arise. He studied at the
Kunstakademie Stuttgart with Prof. Christian Jankowski.
Ann Donnelly, Political Landscape, 2007, 7 mins., IE
The conflicted landscape of Northern Ireland is revealed through the moving history of a family whose vicissitudes intersect with wider historical and political events. Boundaries reveal dispossession as much as land management and the artist asks: “What is native; what is original?”
The video interprets Northern Ireland’s conflicted landscape from the perspective of personal family history. In a place where successive generations of the same family have left their mark, it explores the idea of roots and belonging. In a wider historical context, boundaries, which mark ownership
can also signify dispossession. They are scars left by political forces, which uproot and resettle individuals. families, even entire populations and ultimately change the face of the earth. It all depends on which side of the fence you are on…
Ann Donnelly gained her BA Hons in Theatre Studies & Dramatic Art at the University of Warwick
and a degree in Photography & Digital Media at the Upper Bann Institute of Further and Higher
Education. She lives and works in County Down, Northern Ireland.
Adam Chodzko, Settlement, 2004, 10 mins., UK
Through the act of giving a gift to a stranger, specifically a square foot plot of land in Burgess Park, the artist questions issues of ownership on both a global and domestic scale. The artwork becomes the mediation between the patch of soil and the elaborate legal process involved in land ownership, putting into question the meaning of ‘home’, and the tension between legality and imagination in defining this term. Chodzko also challenges the identity of ownership in the UK, both by choosing a recipient who is unlikely to become a UK land owner in the near future, and by choosing a plot of land in South London; an area with diverse cultural communities who have differing relationships to the term ‘home’.
Adam Chodzko is an artist whose multidisciplinary practice explores the interactions and possibilities
of human behaviour in the gap between how we are and how we could be. Exhibiting work nationally
and internationally since 1991, working across media, from video installation to subtle interventions,
and with a practice that is partly sited within the gallery space and partly within the
wider public realm, Chodzko’s work explores our collective imagination in order to suggest how,
through the visual, we might best connect with others. His artworks invent new relationships between
our value and belief systems, examining their affect on our communal and private spaces often
by using existing documents and fictions that control, describe and guide these systems and
spaces. Chodzko’s practice operates between documentary and fantasy, (often using a form of “science
fiction”, in order that art might propose alternative realities), conceptualism and surrealism
and public and private space, often engaging reflexively and directly with the role of the
viewer. Since 1991, he has exhibited at numerous venues around the world. He lives and works in
Mike Marshall, Days like these, 2003, 3.24 mins., UK
The rhythmic clicking of a garden sprinkler counts out the duration of a long summer afternoon in a perfectly manicured English garden in Turkey. The clipped hedges and rose beds act as a template of suburban gentility exported and reproduced as English garden design in every corner of the Empire. Even in the apparent safety of an idyllic English garden, an element of doubt creeps in – is this place real or invented? Perhaps it is too perfect. Real nature is mutable, capricious, indifferent to the human drama and capable of responding to its over-exploration with a violence beyond the imagination of the complacent Sunday gardener, wherever in the world s/he toils.
Mike Marshall was born in 1967. He lives and works in London. His work has gained recognition in
a number of solo exhibitions including at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, Union Gallery, London and
Tate St Ives. He featured in the Werkleitz Bienniale, Germany, and Days Like These at Tate Britain.
Stephen Connolly, The Whale, 2005, 9.15 mins., UK
The Whale is a short mediation on events offscreen from a place in time – London shortly before the invasion of Iraq in early 2003. The film is shot on Parliament Hill, a park in the rising ground overlooking the centre of the city. Ulrike Meinhof, here as a media pundit before she took up armed
struggle, asks a critical question to be posed at conjunctures like this – what can be done do if all appeals to the democratic process fail? The film is also a response to a text by Slavoj Ziźek – excerpted overleaf – siting it in an urban park, a most artificial construct of nature.
The Whale is part of a series of works called Afflicted States, begun in late 2001, when exploring the
relationship between the individual and state seemed to take on a new urgency. These short films
see the present through the past, conducting an exploration of political experience with respect to
material environment. A deliberation on the state of nature and the nature of the State, Stephen
Connolly’s film The Whale combines several disparate components (including a parent-child dialogue
on the relative threats posed by wild animals, an archival television interview with notorious
RAF operative Ulrike Meinhof and citations from Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan) to consider the need
for a renewed communal sensibility in contemporary society. Images Festival, Toronto 2005
Stephen Connolly (born 1964, Canada) is a London-based artist filmmaker interested in the relationship between social forces and material environment and questions of representational form in
film. His work has screened in numerous international film and media festivals since 1997.
Matthew Murdoch, Being There, 2006, 4.30 mins., UK
Murdoch, father and son discuss a rugby match between England and Scotland that they plan to attend. They stop off at Hadrian’s Wall to contemplate the historic embodiment of the north south divide while generational and national divisions haunt their conversation.
Matthew Murdoch graduated from the Surrey Institute of Art&Design in 2003 with a first class BA in Film & Video. His work has been screened at the Tehran International Film Festival, 2004 and the Raindance Film Festival London, 2005.
Claudia Kapp, You lose, 4 mins., D
The video shows a meadow at dawn which is divided by a hedge. On the other side of the hedge is a sort of square of sand, perhaps a former playing field. For a while, nothing happens
except for the matutinal chatter of birds until suddenly, from the right corner of the picture, a woman runs quickly and heads for the hedge, then takes a deliberate leap into it. She rebounds, wobbles slightly, and returns into the corner from where she came. After a brief pause, another woman emerges
from the same corner and repeats the occurrence. They continue the athletic, enthusiastic approaches and leaps, sometimes alone, sometimes together. Each attempt, however, ends in the same unsurpassable event. The speed of the film has been slightly accelerated, so that the movements almost seem to have arisen out of a video game or a cartoon. The home stretch seems to be the field on the other side and to represent the striven- for final result. The protagonists present an extremely carefree image of failure in which the »art of falling« marks the point that remains in one’s memory.
Claudia Kapp was born in Freiburg in 1974, studied at the University of the Arts Bremen and the
Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten Den Haag. She lives and works in Berlin.
Semiconductor, All the Time in the World, 2005, 4.42 mins., UK
A geological time frame is rendered in human seconds and minutes while the convolutions of the earth are enacted in ‘reel’ time. Part magic, part science this engaging work maintains a sense of wonder at the miraculous transformations of nature.
Semiconductor (Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt). Their award-winning work has been exhibited extensively internationally.
Robert Crosse, The Speed of Change, 2015, 2.40 mins., UK
A group of men meet to ride miniature steam engines round their private self-built railway track.’
Rob Crosse lives and works in London. He graduated with an MFA from the Slade school of Fine Art in 2012. Recent exhibitions and screenings include Transactions of Desire (2015) Institute of Contemporary Art, London, Family Politics (2013), Jerwood, London, New Perspectives (2013), Katara Art Center, Doha, Qatar and 21st Century (2012), Chisenhale, London.
Rob Crosse recently completed a residency at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A and is currently completing a residency at Kingsgate Workshops in London.
Genevieve Staines, Ruins in Reverse, 2005, 5.50 mins., AU
A deceptively simple technique of systematically erasing the architecture of Brisbane from its surrounding landscape touches on deeper issues of conservation and survival in the Australian
environment. The revenge of nature is ready to undo the work of civilisation.
Genevieve Staines was born in Sydney in 1981 and is now based in Brisbane, Australia.