FLORIAN MEISENBERG
The Taste of Metal in Water

and

KELLY AKASHI
Shadow Film

unnamed                                   Kelly Akashi, Shadow Film, 2017

March 17 – April 14, 2018
Opening Tomorrow: Saturday, March 17, 7 – 10 pm

For more information, please contact info@ghebaly.com.

www.ghebaly.com    |   2245 E Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90021   |   info@ghebaly.com

tyrell

Hail, Hydra! Immortal Hydra! We shall never be destroyed! Cut off a limb, and two more shall take its place! We serve none but the Master—as the world shall soon serve us! Hail Hydra! (The Hydra Oath)

Our daily lives are dominated by organizations. This was not always the case. For example, the European system of estates only included a few organization-like entities. Our contemporary age, in contrast, is characterized by a profusion of this type of social system.

The new dominance of organizations is also reflected in our shared social fictions, in which they increasingly assume the role of protagonist. It is almost possible to speak of an ‘organization narrative’, which is particularly prevalent in science fiction films. Here, organizations have assumed the role of the villain, who is no longer an individual. Even if they are embodied, by necessity, in their individual representatives, organizations like the Tyrell Corporation (Blade Runner), the Mirando Corporation (Okja), Abstergo Industries (Assassin’s Creed) or the Data Recovery Foundation (Biomega) have become the adversary of the hero figure. The future anxieties associated with ‘being organized’ are also more evident in the scifi genre than elsewhere, in which the imminent global domination of organizations – or in the worst case, that of one particular organization – is presented as something to be feared.

Because organizations are usually presented as economic enterprises, they are not particularly interested in the good of humanity but solely in that of the organization; and ‘good’ is defined in this instance as financial gain (‘profit’). They act more ruthlessly in their pursuit than any super-rogue whose self-conception is still rooted in an – however monstrous – ‘ideology’. In the film Deepwater Horizon (USA 2016), the consequences of this profit-driven thinking lead to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the greatest environmental disaster of this kind in our time. The remarkable career of ‚CSR’, the idea of an organization’s institutionally implemented ethical self-regulation, has been quickly adopted by the scriptwriters, appearing in the movies and novels as a way to both distract the public and guarantee returns in the form of reputation.

The preoccupation with the new power of the organization can even be found in comedy, where it is also imagined as evil:

“In modern day America, the corporations run our lives. But one man is prepared to take our country back.” Pootie Tang trailer (USA 2002)

The Catholic church, particularly as it existed during the Reformation when it was forced to assert its monopoly over other religious organizations (or to put it more simply: during the period of the witch trials), appears to provide a model for many of the later sinister fictions about organizations. Hence, it is simply consistent when Francis Ford Coppola uses it in The Godfather: Part III (USA 1990) to drive Michael Corleone, who is seeking public recognition, even deeper into the clutches of the criminal world from which he is trying to break free. The message here is that organized crime has nothing on organized religion (although the church in The Godfather is infiltrated by another occult organization, a Masonic lodge: indeed, nested structures are by now a standard narrative component of organization fictions).

But organizations whose operation is understood as being driven by political decisions also feature prominently in these fictions: surveillance bureaucracies like the NSA and CIA, whether hijacked or not, and private security companies. Long before Edward Snowden, a surveillance scenario in which the NSA plays the main role became a reality in Public Enemy No. 1 (USA 1998).

The ‘selfhood’ of organizations enables Hollywood to substitute them for the individual villain, the super-rogue. Even James Bond no longer goes head to head with an individual Dr. No, Goldfinger or man with the golden gun these days, but an organization – Spectre, the Special Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion – although it is led by an uber-villain, of course. Someone must ultimately make the decisions. In the film Captain America: The Winter Soldier (USA 2014), Captain America does not fight Nazi Germany, a state, or the Nazi party or the SS, although collateral damage does arise, but against Hydra, an organization that is independent of Hitler and has infiltrated a ‘good’ organization: S.H.I.E.L.D. – another example of the aforementioned nested structures. (Again, Marvel made this organization into the hero of a television series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., in which the formal-informal reality of the organization is also acknowledged; leadership battles and the constant conflict with politics are a central element. In one of the last seasons, the formerly virtuous members of S.H.I.E.L.D. end up as loyal members of HYDRA in a virtual world, something that enables the series to find remarkable manifestations of the ambiguity – temporary disloyalty – familiar to us all from the experience of being processed as employees. What is remarkable is that the series has already reacted to current social developments, for example when the director refers to the design of the “media, corporate S.H.I.E.L.D. machine”.)

The other prominent Marvel hero, Iron Man, is also a ‘boss’, in this instance of Stark Industries, the corporation he inherited from his father (USA 2008). He is a capitalist in the strict sense of the word, the owner of means of production, which he no longer uses, however, to generate profit but to produce his iron suit and save the world – the ‘added value’ here lies in the moral, selfless component of his action. The fact that the suit ultimately only came into being through exploitation is concealed – it would be possible to refer to latency here.

‘Teams’ as embodied most significantly by the A-Team (USA 1983-87) represent a special case in this new type of fiction. Particular characteristics of the team include its project-focus, the associated independence of organizations – in the words of Peter F. Drucker: “they work with a company, not for a company” – as well as the idiosyncratic individuality of the individual members, which no organization could be expected to accept in this form. The excessive acting-out of this individuality and the high price paid for it are justified by the specialized expertise and knowledge associated with it. All calls for role-conformity are dashed in the face of this expertise, which calls to mind, among other things, the concept of genius in aesthetics. 

Organizations are perfectly suited to generating tension through contrast effects: the individual pitted against the ‘anonymous’, inhuman machinery, whose engine is concealed from him. A certain social unconditionality (innocence) is often imagined on the part of the hero; the conditionalities are located on the side of the organization. It is the organization that ties, enchains and processes the individual through the wastelands and unbending rigour of the same old bureaucratic procedures and rituals. It replaces the ‘system’, that is modern society per se, which – as seen clearly in a late western movie like Lonely are the Brave (USA 1963) – cannot be defeated because it cannot even be addressed. In Miller’s film, modern society is represented by police bureaucracy. Those who cannot be processed by bureaucracy don’t exist.

Officer 1: Identification?

Officer 2: He hasn’t got any.

Officer 1: You mean to say you got no identification at all?

Jack: That’s right.

Officer 1: No draft card, no social security? No discharge, no insurance, no driver’s license, no nothing?

Jack: No nothing.

Officer 1: Look young boy, you can’t go around with any identification, it’s against the law. How are people gonna know who you are?

Jack: I don’t need a card to figure out who I am, I already know.

This spectre of state bureaucracy continues to assume a key role in these fictitious worlds – it plays on our fear that we could wrongly fall under the ‘wheels of justice and end up being ‘processed’ as is the fate of the protagonist in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil (USA1985) or the real-life experience of German-born Turkish citizen Murat Kurnaz.

Does this dark perspective on organizations reflect reality? It would appear so at times. The mass media, for example, are convinced that a dark, dystopian data company called Cambridge Analytica gave the world Donald Trump and, moreover, used military methods to effect mass sentiment change (winning ‘hearts and minds’). Tamsin Shaw, an associate professor of philosophy at New York University, fears the worst: “To have so much data in the hands of a bunch of international plutocrats to do with it what they will is absolutely chilling.” And the commitment shown by Google, Cloudflare, Spotify, Facebook, Godaddy, Paypal, AirBnB to oppose Nazi propaganda on the internet demonstrates, above all, the new power of these organizations; the flow of information in society is no longer controlled by the political sphere but by them, a matter of great concern to the mass media: “This power can be used not only against right-wing radicals. The civil rights organization Electronic Frontier Foundation draws attention to the fact that right wing groups are already trying to classify the Black Lives Matter movement as a ‘hate group’ in retaliation – and companies could again be pressurized into opposing the latter’s online presence.” The fears of imminent world domination are also confirmed to a certain extent by empirical analyses, for example those carried out by Autor et al. (2017) which draws attention to the “rise of superstar firms” in the USA – the fact that market concentration has increased in basically all broad industrial categories – and link this market dominance with growing inequality: the employee share of national income is falling while the share accounted for by organizational profits is growing. Blogger Noah Smith is scared that “monopoly power could potentially become Public Enemy #1 for economists” (Smith 2017).

As we have seen, it is already the number one enemy in Hollywood.

christian 1

This weekend in Berlin, at HAU theater, Christian von Borries and Dieter Lesage are pulling together an evening about politics of the image of rescue. They found a wonderful mix of contributers whom they asked questions, and who are answering in a very diverse manner, reflecting on the format of reflexion itself: Herman Asselberghs, Arno Brandlhuber, Alice Creischer, Georges Didi-Huberman, Tobias Hülswitt, Dieter Lesage, Marie-José Mondzain, Georg Seeßlen, Andreas Siekmann, Oraib Toukan, Ina Wudtke, Tirdad Zolghadr and many more.

The two evenings, Saturday at 7 pm and Sunday at 5 at HAU1, will be similar.

Secondly, a new edition of A BETTER VERSION OF YOU will open in Beijing on March 24 for 9 days, with more stops to come soon to a place near you.

Hope to see you here there!

german pavillon

manolo

screening goethe

mediasia

38052 10:00-10:30 | Room 503 (5F)

Narrating the Self

Markus Heidingsfelder, Habib University, Pakistan

Our psyches inscribe narrativity into the medium of language to be able to observe our actions. By providing these actions with a story, we are not only able to simplify ourselves – and by doing that, establish a relationship to the world -, we are also capable of telling others ‘our story’, so that they can ‘read’ us. In other words: We are all storytellers when it comes to identifying ourselves (our selfs). In my presentation, I will first reconstruct what we call storytelling by looking at its form i.e. the selective mechanisms that ignore simultaneity in favor of chronology, to then look at the different possibilities of presenting simultaneity in a linear form. In a second step, I will focus on four key aspects of self-narrativity: a) the problem of isolating actions from each other, b) the paradoxon of self-observation, c) the general importance of narrativity in society, and d) last but not least the social conventions that licence certain narratives and prohibit others. Finally, I will ask in how far the new media technologies may have affected the ways of how we narrate ourselves today

mediasia-programme-2017

OVERxCOME

roppongi

The Roppongi Art Night Executive Committee will be hosting Roppongi Art Night 2017 for 2 days on September 30 (Sat) and October 1 (Sun), 2017. This year’s Roppongi Art Night 2017 will be featuring art and performance from around the world, including many from Asia, proposing a new creative form of ‘matsuri (festival). Its theme is ‘Mirai no Matsuri’ (festivals of the future), and Roppongi Art Night is excited in welcoming Photographer and Film Director Mika Ninagawa as the main artist.

In addition, Roppongi Art Night will be launching the ‘Southeast Asia Project’ in which artists from Southeast Asia as well as Japanese artists will work together with the Roppongi community and its people to create and present art.

Overview of Roppongi Art Night 2017

Official Title Roppongi Art Night 2017
Overview Roppongi Art Night is a one-night celebration of art staged in the district of Roppongi. The event proposes a pioneering model for urban development as well as a lifestyle that celebrates the enjoyment of art in our everyday lives. Presenting modern art, design, music, film, and performances, Roppongi Art Night offers a surreal, extraordinary experience. Launched in March 2009, the event is growing every year.
Time and Date September 30(Sat) 10:00- October 1(Sun)18:00, 2017
<Core Times> September 30(Sat) 17:27(Sunset) – October 1(Sun) 05:36(Sunrise)
*Core times is the period with the highest concentration of events with many performances and workshops held.
Venues Roppongi Hills, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo Midtown, Suntory Museum of Art, 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT, The National Art Center, Tokyo, Roppongi Shopping District, other cooperating facilities and public spaces in the Roppongi area.
Admission Free (however, fee is required for certain programs and museum events)
Organizers Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Arts Council Tokyo (Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture), Minato City, Roppongi Art Night Executive Committee [The National Art Center, Tokyo, Suntory Museum of Art, Tokyo Midtown, 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT, Mori Art Museum, Mori Building, Roppongi Shopping District Association]

http://www.roppongiartnight.com/2017/english/

updated-flyer

OPEN CALL FOR PROPOSALS: FILM TALENTS – VOICES FROM PAKISTAN AND AFGHANISTAN

ABOUT THE PROGRAM FOR FILM TALENTS – VOICES FROM PAKISTAN AND AFGHANISTAN:

What? The Prince Claus Fund and Goethe-Institut have collaborated to set up an Open Call for Proposals for the programme “Film Talents – Voices from Pakistan and Afghanistan”. We would like to offer young emerging filmmakers in Pakistan and Afghanistan the opportunity to take part in a mentorship programme for filmmakers through a series of five workshops to take place in 2017 and 2018 in the region.

Who for? This Call is open to final-year film, multimedia and art students and recent graduates in these fields who are willing to commit to participating. Applicants must be nationals of and reside in Afghanistan and/or Pakistan. Selected grantees are not restricted in theme or format (feature or documentary film). However, priority will be given to themes of untold stories, that make unheard voices from Pakistan and Afghanistan heard, for national and international audiences.

Selected participants will be provided support for accommodation and travel from Afghanistan and other cities in Pakistan for the workshops in Karachi. The programme will also cover production costs for short film projects by the selected filmmakers. These projects will be further developed with each filmmaker, under mentorship provided at the workshops. A jury composed of regional and international professionals will choose the successful applicants on the basis of their quality[1], innovation, the relevance of their proposal for the social context of their countries and the expected impact their proposed project could have.
At the end of the programme the successful participants will be supported in making an application to the Berlinale Talents, IDFA and/or similar festivals.

Who by? The Workshop will be conducted by the Goethe-­Institut Karachi, the Prince Claus Fund and award winning Berlin-based filmmaker Till Passow in collaboration with Goethe-­Institut Kabul and a number of mentors, partners and trainers from Pakistan and Afghanistan[2]. They will train the filmmakers on capacities in developing a film project, screenwriting, implementation of the idea, producing a trailer and pitching and presenting their project[3]. The programme focuses on enhancing the career opportunities for young filmmakers both locally and internationally.

When?  The workshops will take place in Karachi in September and December 2017 and throughout 2018. Each workshop is two weeks long.

TIMELINE OF THE CALL FOR PROPOSALS:

Deadline to send in application: 13th of August 2017 at midnight AFT or PKT.
Possible dates for the first workshop:  04/09-17/09
Second workshop: 11/12-22/12 (tbd)
All Applicants will be contacted by mid- August 2017 by email with an answer on their application.

Why? The Film Talents – Voices from Pakistan and Afghanistan programme is intended to support the professional development and creative production skills of young film makers in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Prince Claus Fund and Goethe-Institut firmly believe that young film makers from the region can foster understanding of their local communities both locally and internationally. This collaboration between the Institut and the Fund is designed to help young filmmakers tackle the challenges they face and to bridge a gap between formal education in film and media in Pakistan and Afghanistan and actual production in the field. Through mentoring, this programme will also help young filmmakers develop storytelling methods to engage with audiences and the insights needed to break through to international festivals. In today’s world, documentary research and film offer both tools and platforms to connect people through stories. Among the demographically young populations of Pakistan and Afghanistan there is great potential for talent in creative production to address the social issues they see locally. Both countries are home to very diverse communities. There is a pressing need for young people in this region to become aware of the positive possibilities of a diversity of narratives as well as the potential for a wider (international) impact.

APPLICATION GUIDELINES:

Eligible Candidates
Eligible candidates are individuals working in the field of filmmaking who are based in Afghanistan and Pakistan and who are nationals of the respective country. Applicants must have a proven track record connected to film making either through education and/or trainings.

Eligible Expenses
The collaboration will cover costs of participation and accommodation during the 5 workshops of the program.

Place and Duration
The five workshops will take place in the Goethe.-Institut in Karachi, lasting 2 weeks each.

How to Apply
Complete and submit the application form (in English) and send it to program@karachi.goethe.org.

Selection Procedure
All applicants will be contacted by mid-August 2017 by email with a reply to their application. Short-listed applicants will receive information on the next steps in the application process.

Payment Schedule
Payment of costs of production and accommodations will be made in several instalments, production costs will be based upon proposed projects plan.

[1] We define quality as the ability of projects to combine social relevance, artistic excellence, newness of proposed idea and impact on local contexts with a global relevance
[2] Foreign and Pakistani trainers, among them Till Passow (Germany), Babar Sheikh (Pakistan) and others will mentor the process and discuss contents of projects with the participants.
[3] During the course of the workshops each participant will be supported to produce one or two short films and to present and pitch their projects at international film festivals.

 

https://www.goethe.de/ins/pk/en/kul/sup/call-for-applications.html