directors lounge monthly screening
Drift and Dwell: Film and Video
Thursday, 26 July 2012
Caroline Koebel works with a broad range of media and film expressions, bringing together many influences, early teenage super-8 experiences, punk, Vaudeville, the vivid Californian avant-garde scene around Craig Baldwin and his Other Cinema screenings, and a highly intellectual discourse including conceptual references to Valie Export and Peter Weibel. If trying to trace back the film tradition she is drawing on, it possibly wouldn't be as much the canonized avant-garde attached with New York's Anthology Film Archive, but the subversive media practice that Amos Vogel started with Cinema 16 in New York from 1947 to 1963, a practice that was more interested in the discourse of different fields of film when shown together and confronted with each other. Back then, it was not uncommon to have an odd educational movie shown together with an artifact from scientist research together with an underground movie or a cinema newcomer in one screening, then discussing how they relate to each other. There was animosity and disregard between the one and the other group, the eclectic anarchists against the avant-gardists striving for high-art recognition. The jealous competition, long forgotten, still exemplifies different avant-garde traditions.
Caroline Koebel uses a number of styles and tries to create a dialog between analog and digital; for example, she has reshot (on 16mm) and hand processed parts of mainstream movies in her Flicker-on-Off Trilogy bringing them together with sounds of news material in order to make a statement on political world issues, like the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, or the "Haditha Massacre" in Irak. On the other hand, she shoots images from freeway constructions together with flying cliff swallows ("Swoop"), a species which finds new habitats in these concrete constructions. Then editing with a rhythm inspired by Dziga Vertov's editing, she accomplishes a meditative and very poetic film. No: "power to the poetic!" - this is no contradiction for Caroline Koebel. Embracing a diversity of cinematic forms, she seems to be more interested in receiving the audience's reactions and comments instead of making statements that try to overpower other opinions. Statements, nevertheless, her films take up position. "Puss" speaks of feminine and lesbian power over male superiority claims, the story enveloped in the adapted fairy tail of the booted cat (in the ancient German version a tomcat). "Repeat Photography and the Albedo Effect" clearly is a statement against the (otherwise stated) ignorance of politcs on global warming. However, and with all their poetic power, these aren't Majakowsky's booming verses, claiming authority over the public media, it is rather like Anna Achmatowa speaking about those political disturbances she cannot get away from, political thoughts breaking into daily productions. Earlier works seem to be more centered on feminist discussions; "Inflorescentia", the title possibly a word game ironically reminding us of the term "deflowering", is influenced by the language of gay film-poets like Derek Jarman and Sergei Paradjanov, and dwells on depictions of female sexuality as compared with flowers.
Not a full retrospective, the program encompasses earlier and new work of the artist, in the range from poetic film to experimental essay. Caroline Koebel, who is also a critical film writer, curator and an educator at Transart Institute will be present for questions and answers.