Sheffield Fringe

Reciprocal Relations

Friday 10 June 2016, 6:00pm

Bloc Projects
71 Eyre Lane
Sheffield S1 4RB

Reciprocal Relations
Peter Martin, We See Ourselves, We See Each Other (UK 2015), video still


Documentary practice deals with the social world, live situations, ‘real’ things. Relating to the social world as an object and putting it in the service of artistic activity can create an ethical challenge. Indeed, thinking of documentary as an object, and of documentary material as a resource, can be discomforting. Beyond its status in the market place as an art object, the other ways in which documentary film can manifest as an object are difficult to articulate. But they can be felt.

Sometimes visible, sometimes implied, one of the ways an ‘object relation’ becomes palpable is in the relationship that creates the work. Where a discomforting relation is detected, we tend to address such occasions as ‘problematic’. The first problem, it could be suggested, arises with the designation of value when defining an object vis-à-vis a subject. For example, in an effort to designate value through language, we speak of documentary subjects, not documentary objects. The second problem arises with exactly what we mean by the word ‘documentary’. So far, known characterizations remain narrow.

Whether regarded as art works or documentaries, the critical stance of the films presented here lies in the relationship of the filmmakers to the material. Topics vary from opaque formulations on the politics of accelerated living; the controversial phenomena of electro-hypersensitivity; memory facing digital, chemical, neuronal, and environmental coercion; automated language tuition as authoritative prose; and the relationship between storyteller and listener as a form of reciprocal power. What these filmic expressions share is a strong sense of the positions from which they are speaking. Preferring a relation that does not subjugate its object of study, the films are instead a register of reciprocal relations. – Minou Norouzi

Selected by Minou Norouzi, filmmaker, programmer, and doctoral candidate at Goldsmiths, University of London.


Levitation on a Concrete Surface

Levitation on a Concrete Surface | Mox Mäkelä | Finland 2015 | HD | 16 min 28s

An astute, meticulously crafted, and poetic observation of accelerated living, Mox Mäkelä’s film is narrated by Finnish actor, Rami Rusinen. A man is lying down on the floor. Thoughts run through his mind and soon no one knows where his mind is travelling. His consciousness conjures images of old house ghosts, and contemplative hare.

Fugitives from the Fields

Fugitives from the Fields | Timo Menke & Nils Agdler | Sweden 2005 | 16mm  to  digital | 16 min

Electricity is a natural, but invisible, component in modern life. The controversial phenomena of electro-hypersensitivity, concerning oversensitivity to electro-magnetic fields from mobile technologies, power lines a.s.o, drastically throws light upon our dependence on electricity. What if an increasing number of people become oversensitive? Fugitives from the Fields conciders life without electricity.

Not Otherwise Specified

Not Otherwise Specified | Patricia Bandeira | Portugal 2014 | HD | 10 min

In the 70s, six icelandic citizens admitted involvement in two crimes, although they did not remember anything about the cases. When facing scenarios of digital, chemical, neuronal, or even environmental manipulation and coercion, what is the effective relation of the individual with his core? Or does it turn out to be not otherwise specified? Based in a real case known as “The Reykjavik Confessions”.

The Long View

The Long View | Ted Kennedy | USA 2015 | Digital Video | 5 min 26s

Having read, one writes in a room to save their life. The Long Viewincorporates video footage from a famous psychologist’s home and narration from a documentary about a man defending himself on death row. Additional computer-generated images depict a staged environment of domesticity.

We See Ourselves, We See Each Other

We See Ourselves, We See Each Other | Peter Martin | UK 2015 | Digital Video | 4 min 38s

Our understanding of language is based on our experiences. In We See Ourselves, We See Each Other Martin copies out all of the pre-translated English from a Learn A Language In Your Car cassette tape and splices the phrases into an authoritative, abstract prose. This displaced audio is then paired with found slides from orphan collections sourced from all over the word. Whether the images illustrate the audio is up to the viewer.

The Protagonist

The Protagonist | Francesco Pedraglio | UK 2015 | HD | 17 min 39s

Loosely constructed from a collage of literary references, filmic vocabulary, broken-up narratives and improvisations, The Protagonistis a work where the construction of a main character for a film is treated as an event for camera, a happening that becomes the film itself. Shot in two different interiors (an empty cinema and a house-party turning into a karaoke night) and constructed through six interconnected scenes, the film uses the tropes normally associated with the basic shaping of a narrative persona – looks, behaviours, personal details, surroundings etc. – and turns them all into the only available storyline to be followed.