January 2017, berlinale forum

Forum Expanded 2017: The Stars Down to Earth

Studies on the Ecology of Drama by Eija-Liisa Ahtila / Photographed by Marja-Leena Hukkanen © Crystal Eye – Kristallisilmä Oy

The selection process for the 12th Forum Expanded is currently being finalised. This year’s theme is "The Stars Down to Earth": The search for ways to enable art to deal with an increasingly intangible reality forms an essential similarity between the selected works. Bringing one’s gaze back down to earth now seems more necessary than ever before. Yet how can one use film to take hold of something real when that very concept is ever harder to grasp? The films and installations in the programme approach this question by attempting to both look and listen as closely as possible.

In the video installation TWELVE, for example, Jeamin Cha examines the pragmatic process underpinning the annual secret wage negotiations held between Korean employer and employee associations. Berlin artist Sandra Schäfer’s video installation CONSTRUCTED FUTURES: HARET HREIK investigates city planning and redevelopment in Beirut and the political and religious ideologies they contain.
In her film STUDIES ON THE ECOLOGY OF DRAMA, Eija-Liisa Athila explores ways of finding film images that move beyond cinematographic anthropocentrism by shifting her gaze away from people and onto their environment.
The Karrabing Film Collective from Australia, whose work WUTHARR, SALTWATER DREAMS is being presented in the group exhibition, shows three different variants of one and the same story, demonstrating how different approaches to a problem don’t just bring forth contradictory solutions but also mutually complimentary ones.
For his part, Joe Namy does away with pictorial representation almost entirely. His installation PURPLE, BODIES IN TRANSLATION – PART II OF A YELLOW MEMORY FROM THE YELLOW AGE merely shows a purple-colour surface, while the soundtrack explores the question of which details are lost in translation and what additional elements and contradictions are created by the differences between subtitles and image.

The central event location is once again the Akademie der Künste at Hanseatenweg. A group exhibition of work by 14 artists takes place here together with screenings of numerous films. The artists already invited include Haig Aivazian, James Benning, Duncan Campbell, Anja Dornieden and Juan David González Monroy, Noam Enbar, Mohamed A. Gawad and Lina Attalah, Eva C. Heldmann, Laura Horelli, Oliver Hussain, Ken Jacobs, Mahmoud Lotfy, Bernd Lützeler, Peter Miller, Rawane Nassif, Tomonari Nishikawa, Marouan Omara and Islam Kamal, Lukasz Ronduda, Ginan Seidl, Philip Scheffner, Merle Kröger and Izadora Nistor, Fern Silva, and Mohanad Yaqubi.

Forum Expanded will also be presenting different film archives and archive projects as part of a symposium to be held at the Kuppelhalle at the silent green Kulturquartier in Wedding, including ones from Nigeria, Indonesia, and Palestine. SAVVY Contemporary are presenting an installation by Israeli filmmaker and artist Amos Gitai in their own exhibition space at the same location.

The Marshall McLuhan Salon at the Embassy of Canada at Leipziger Platz and the Arsenal Cinema at the Filmhaus at Potsdamer Platz form the other festival locations once again.

The full list of participating artists will be announced in the next press release in mid January.

The works for this edition of Forum Expanded were selected by Stefanie Schulte Strathaus (head curator), Anselm Franke (Haus der Kulturen der Welt), Nanna Heidenreich (ifs internationale filmschule köln), Khaled Abdulwahed (filmmaker and artist) and Ulrich Ziemons (Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art), with Bettina Steinbrügge (Kunstverein in Hamburg) acting as a consultant.