Ursula Biemann: Border activities

…and here comes another sort of tribute—this time to Swiss video Ursula Biemann and her great GEOBODIES project, which is still far too unknown and seldomly seen, we think. That’s why we will dedicate a programme section to the video works of Ursula Biemann, which will be screened 09 April, 9pm at Schaubühne Lindenfels. Under the title “Border activities“, we will show three of her earlier migration-related works for which Biemann went to Mexico, Palestine and Morocca in order to combine field research in border regions with the search for political engagement as a media artists, though always on the level of single individuals—or as the fresh’n’wise 4trackboy just recently put it: ”Am schimmernden Horizont der Identität erkennt man, Grenzziehung ist immer auch ein Grenzgang.”

Read more about the “Border activities“ video programme below and find out more about Biemann and her works on her GEOBODIES homepage.

Ursula Biemann: Border activities

Performing The Border (MX/CH 1999, 43’, OV w/ English subtitles, DCP)

Europlex (MA/ESP/CH 2003, 20’, OV w/ English subtitles, DCP)

X-MISSION (PS/CH 2008, 40’, OV w/ English subtitles, DCP)

Already in recent years, GEGENkino always posed the question of the possibilities of political film and video art, e.g. in hommage programmes for Harun Farocki and Hito Steyerl. In this year, we want to open up the field anew—this time, with a special interest in the self-positioning of the artists with regards to the political constellations that their artistic practice is dealing with. Looking back on some works of Swiss video artist Ursula Biemann will not only highlight an interesting position toward this problem, but also point out of what up-to-day importance the topics treated still are. As an “embedded artist” Biemann explores different crisis-ridden border regions, collects material and is looking for an artistic form that will combine the findings of her field reasearches as well as her theoretical insights and personal stories and, in doing so, will make visible the reciprocity and contingency of individual, micropolitical and geo- and macropolitical processes.

Biemann’s earliest video work already carries the programmatic title Performing The Border and points to how borders and border regions are not only souvereignly state-defined entitites, but are, more significantly even, created through individual and communal activities in these regions. For this work, Biemann reasearched the consequences that the nearshoring of US American manufacturing facilities to the border town of Ciudad Juarez have had for the (mostly frmale) Mexican workers and especially how drastically lives and communities get gendered and criminalized by these practices. Another work called EUROPLEX, done in collaboration with visual anthropologist Angela Sanders, investigates another specific border region, namely the Spanish-Morrocan border at the Spanish exclave Ceuta and shows the predicaments of women that depend in an existential way on smuggling goods across this border—an activity that, in the end, appears almost like a ritual in its repetitiveness. X-MISSION, by contrast, approaches the the topic of the border by means of a different topos: the refugee camp – and explores the logic and legibility of this space, taking Palestinian refugee camps as its prime example. Biemann is trying not to portray Palestinians in the context of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, but explorates these camps in an immanent manner – still, without neglecting the poltical and discursive contingencies of these places. By use of montage of first- and second-hand interview and video material, once more, this is an artistic reasearch in the entanglements of micro- and macropolitics – a topic that is prevalent in all of Biemann’s works.

09 April, 9pm – Schaubühne Lindenfels

€ 6,5 (5,5 red.) / € 8 (6 red.) for a double ticket incl. THOSE SHOCKING SHAKING DAYS