Living Document / Naked Reality
Towards an Archival Cinema

January 11-March 4, 2012
Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania

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What is cinema?
  1. A technical practice in which flexible, gelatin-coated celluloid is exposed to light, generating a latent image made visible via chemical processing; a scientific means of recording reality; an objective and standardized economy of image production.
  2. Spectacle or entertainment; a fantastical realm of wish fulfillment and bourgeois aspiration; escape from the everyday.
  3. A medium that facilitates the documentation of everyday experience and encounters both familiar and strange; a vast archive of intimate traces and private gestures that reveal alternative histories.
  4. A vehicle of revolutionary struggle that lays bare the causes of oppression and effects of colonialism; formal innovation that encourages social change.
  5. The most effective tool of communication, even within fictional narratives: “Photography is truth. The Cinema is truth 24 times per second” (Jean-Luc Godard).
  6. Antiquated technology destined for libraries and museums; a form of audio-visual expression abandoned alongside the utopian ideals and universalizing language of the 1960s; source material for artists and researchers.

Living Document / Naked Reality: Towards an Archival Cinema presents works by contemporary artists who explore cinema’s complex political, formal, and ideological history from the 1910s to the 1960s. Each project engages with the often contradictory responses to the question “What is cinema?”

Artists include: Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc (b. 1977, French-Guyana; lives Paris), Thom Andersen (b. 1943, Chicago; lives Los Angeles); Yto Barrada (b. 1971, Paris; lives Tangier); Jacqueline Hoang Nguyen (b. 1979, Montreal; lives New York), Maha Maamoun (b. 1972, California; lives Cairo), and Alexandra Navratil (b. 1978, Zürich; lives Amsterdam).

Exhibition Site
Living Document / Naked Reality: Towards an Archival Cinema

Video
Alexandra Navratil
Jacqueline Hoang Nguyen

Reviews
The Image as Archive; Towards a Third Cinema
TO-DO LIST: Step closer to the cliff and revel a bit