WRO Biennale 2019 / Cells of Culture

Screening of film works from Chelsea College of Art, HDK-Valand. Academy of Art and Design in Gothenburg, Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice & open discussion about the academy’s key position within this social and cultural development.

Space: Bakery, Center of Performing Arts Wroclaw

Time: 22 May, 2019

Co/curators: Pawel Mendrek & Martin Newth

Content: A series of short film works, made by artists from Poland, the UK and Sweden is the basis for a dialogue. The films have been brought together as a conversation, where the selection of each film constitutesa response to the previous one. The starting point is Antonina Konopelska’s ‘Libertango’ film, which initiates a discussion about the relationship between student and professor, and the current conditions informing the experience of art education in Europe. Using the film conversations as a means to draw out key differences and similarities in approach the discussion will ask what the future holds for art education and the potential for international collaboration.

Libertango, video / performens, 2018
Antonina Konopelska (ASP Katowice)

Strange, I’ve seen that face before… My meeting with Grzegorz Kowalski takes place in an unusual space. It is tango – Libertango. Portmanteau,which was used by Ástor Piazzolla to name his famous composition from 1974 and how he crossed the boundaries of classical tango by entering the area of tango nuevo, contains a very important component: la libertad. Grzegorz Kowalski, a professor whose studioI graduated, let me introduce myself in a new, in our relationship, territory and as he stated: “What always bothered me in the education process is the hieratic relation of a professor-student. It seems to me that this was the main obstacle to get deeperinto the more intimate layers, to communicate, or to communicate with another person, because there was a barrier that you can not touch. That this is incorrect. That a professor can not touch a student, a student can not pat a professor and it cut off a veryimportant part of communication. This is why Antonina’s idea that now, when we are no longer subject to this correctness and this attitude, we can do something like that, because I can enter a sphere that was not used by me when Antonina was my student.”

We had better use cones as cups, video 00:06:38, 2018
Conditions (Chelsea College of Arts London)

We had better use cones as cups is a collaboratively produced film made by attendees of Chelsea College of Arts’ CONDITIONS seminar (a weekly discussion group which, over breakfast, investigates the ways art intersects with and is conditioned by its physical and ideological contexts). The film interweaves a mix of staged, incidental and surreptitious footage of the Chelsea studios witha collectively chanted invocation of activities and situations the students will have experienced during their time at the college. Chance correlations between the footage and the chanting echo the tensions between collective and individual, curricular and extracurricular experience peculiar to the art college environment.

Campers, HD video 00:14:47 sound, 2012
Dominik Ritszel (ASP Katowice)

Video made in Moldova as part of the project “Space as tool for shaping social attitudes”. Two guards are patrolling the abandoned public places in Chisinau. Dried artificial lake, unfinished building ofthe Police Academy, closed factories, deserted park; these sites were intended to serve the residents of the Moldovan capital, ultimately turned out to be unsuccessful urban experiments. Despite the fact that these places are currently deprived of a clearlydefined function, regular patrols are held there, giving them meaning that they do not actually have. Characters of guards symbolize the omnipresence of power, for which the place of peripheries and borders are sensitive areas; particularly vulnerable to thedisorder of the ordered order legitimized by the monitoring itself.

Backwards, video 00:12:04, to be edited into shorter clips (part 1)
Lishuang Xu (Chelsea College of Arts London)

Backwards is a single channel video work set on the banks of the River Thames in London. The film features the artist, Lishuang Xu, wearingher mother’s clothes, walking along the pavement at dusk. At first glance, everything appears normal. But soon, details such as the moving traffic, commuters, joggers and tourists betray the simple trick of the performance and the edit of the video: the artistis walking backwards and the film is played in reverse. The film’s evocative backdrop of London, and its gently disorientating impact, reveal Lishuang Xu’s ongoing exploration of urbanization, the fast-moving process of metropolitan development and feelingsof cultural and social alienation.

I Know It When I See It, video 00:05:36
Noa Weinstein (Chelsea College of Arts London)

In the last two years, I have started to see weapons wherever I turn my head. As Cynthia Enloe says, “Militarization creeps into ordinary things. It threads its way amid memos, laundry, lovemaking, and theclinking of frosted beer glasses” (Maneuvers, 2000, P.3). I very much agree with her and this is what I mean when I say I know it when I see it.

4 Survival 4 Pleasure, video 00:07:19
Emily Mulenga (Chelsea College of Arts London)

4 Survival 4 Pleasure, a sequel to the artist’s 2015 video Orange Bikini, follows Mulenga’s avatar on a journey through a succession of luxurious digitallandscapes, claiming for herself a sense of absolute agency. The piece touches on aspects of cyborg theory, as well as the assertion that whether she is a concert pianist or dressed in jewels and feathers for carnival that a woman is equally valuable, importantand justified. Embodied as a central theme is the desire for those who are marginalised to not only survive, but to find joy and thrive.

Backwards, video 00:12:04, to be edited into shorter clips (part 2)
Lishuang Xu (Chelsea College of Arts London)

Laurie, 00:03:47
Adelaida Antunez Egurbide & Alfie Gibbs (Chelsea College of Arts London)

My dearest, a story retold. Enacted within another(s) everyday. Laurie is made as part of an ongoing collaboration between Alfie Gibbs and Adelaida Antúnez Egurbide. The narration is extracted from a seriesof corresponding letters written between lovers, Laurie and Dorothy, in New York and London. The slippage of cultural references and seasonal coincidences between the text and image begin to confuse the author of the work, fictionalizing a work-relationshipstatus.

Trinket, video / 2019
Klaengur Gunnarsson (Valand Academy University of Gothenburg)

The short film Trinket, explores two sites of peculiar interest: an Astro Turf covered mound situated within a crossing point for tram tracks,and a small pond located between a busy street and a Greek theatre-like setting. Through a poetic approach to filming and tragicomic narration, the film strives to locate these as absurdist ornaments placed within a typical urban contemporary city. These ornamentsare renders of the illusioned view of nature as a provider of neverending bliss and are meant to carry the burden – and rehabilitate – the unhappy souls in the city.

Powracający wciąż obraz nie daje o sobie zapomnieć, video 00:06:44 / 2019
Magdalena Grundwald (ASP Katowice)

The essence of the video is exploration of the problem of the meeting – its specificity and character in the context of the relationship between an older woman and granddaughter. The studied matter is thesense of touch, as well as a person situated in the context of a loved one, a relationship with him, his presence.
The content of the discussed issue concerns the plane of emotion, and its documentary form is a record, an attempt to capture an emotional meeting. Women are shown in intimate situations, during which theyboth feel safe, ie, stroking, falling asleep. The short dialogue that appears in the film is an attempt to draw attention to the power to recall memories and the meaning of memories. Memory and remembrance allows to keep the presence of important people. Thefilm shows the space of the old building, where hanging curtains act as screens, on which the image of an elderly woman falling asleep or the touch of a hand is displayed. A young woman to bring up the picture – moves them. The life of both women is penetrated – just like the curtains that once reveal a fragment of the image from the projector to cover it in a moment. The memory is a spectrum, a recall, and above all a meeting. The recall contains a call – an echo which as a recurring image still does not let youforget about yourself.


Image: screening view, video still by Noa Weinstein