viennacontemporary 2019 | Video

Video: FALLING AWAKE | Curator: Attilia Fattori Franchini | Booth A02

In a selection of moving images considering the various modes of examining the contemporary condition – sleepless, aware, in constant tension between technological development, individuality, loss, desire, and mediatic presence – artists recount voyeurism and intimacy as forms of resistance revealing social anxieties along with deeper economic and power structures.

The films chosen present complex subjectivities, narrated or abstracted, at times performed by the artists themselves. Ideas related to transformation, gender, and identity affirmation appear throughout the selection, in flux, augmenting their fictional potential via digital and post-production techniques. Falling Awake envisions the condition of falling as a fundamental state, disrupting traditional modes of seeing and feeling to understand the perpetual mutability of things.

* Films will be shown every day in a continuous loop. Please find daily screening times below.

Nadim Vardag
Opening Shot (Schindler House), 2016
digital animation / HD video 3:20 min
Courtesy of the Artist

Produced during the artist’s residency at MAK Centre, Los Angeles, Opening Shot takes the Schindler House (1921-22), one of the earliest modern houses, which has redefined the notions of public and private, as its subject. Tapping into Hollywood film noir’s tradition and using the famous opening scene from Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil (1958) – a legendarily dark single panning camera view – as its starting point, artist Nadim Vardag recreates a digital model of the house interior. Drifting in darkness through the spaces, Vardag conveys an uncanny sense of anxious discovery, suggesting a ghostly feeling and perspective.

Leslie Thornton
Cut from liquid to snake, 2018
HD and 2K video, 26:14 min
Courtesy of the Artist and Rodeo Gallery, London

Thornton’s film is formed around several voices – from cold to melancholic to anxious – all at textural odds with each other. The voices range from a phone recording made during the Trump election, to an eyewitness account of the immediate aftermath of the bombing of Hiroshima, and an intimate and distressed encounter between the artist and her partner discussing the Higgs particle and the difference between thought and language. These disparate voices speak to one point in a way that is unnerving, bringing a kind of visceral imaging of the instability that humankind enacts upon itself into a present tense.

Josef Dabernig
Jogging, 2000
35 mm film, sound, 11 min
Courtesy of the Artist

In Josef Dabernig´s Jogging, an anonymous driver traverses an increasingly foreign and bizarre landscape, accompanied by Olga Neuwirth´s music crescendo. The journey through an unknown labyrinth of highways finds its destination in an empty concrete building resembling more sci-fi imagination than a soccer stadium. Renzo Piano’s UFO-inspired Stadio San Nicola, built for the 1990 World Cup, looks in fact alien and out of place in this context. A group of stray dogs completes the uncanny scene, culminating in an overwhelming state of disquiet.

Diego Marcon
Storie di Fantasmi per adulti, 2010
Video, MiniDV, color, sound, Still from video, 16:22 min
Courtesy the Artist and Ermes-Ermes, Vienna

Filmed into the house of a hunter and clockmaker, the video is composed of a sequence of fixed frames pointed at the enormous number of images piled in his rooms: paintings, prints, photographs, little statues, knick- knacks. Through the use of a rigorous linear structure and careful work on the sound, the video reanimates each image into new and possible narrations.

Aria Dean
(meta)models “I” is a crowd (demo), 2019
digital video, sound, 5:52 min
Courtesy of the Artist and Chateau Shatto, Los Angeles

The film considers the cinematic structure and language of hip-hop videos and their role in producing not only images of black subjects, but also a palpable black cinematic experience. Dean peels away the genre’s many iconographic and symbolic layers to map the structural relationships that fix the racialized subject. It stars a pedestal made of two-way mirrored glass, also known as ‘security mirror’, like that found in interrogation rooms. This singular object offers an abstracted model that replaces and structurally approximates a general crowd, which typically dominates such videos. Offscreen, three radio DJs discuss the object’s emergence as it appears in several locations.

Michael Franz
Quantities, 2019
digital video, sound, 9:12 min
Courtesy Galerie Lars Friedrich, Berlin

Quantities shows a filmed (toy-)quadrocopter-flight through the house, in which the artist grew up and where his parents still live. Across all the floors and rooms, countless personal items, memorabilia, and various other things from the artist’s past are spread in a more or less comprehensible order. These objects seem to form a kind of intimate portrait of his personality, but at the same time, they represent general things like family structures, living habits, a given place and time. In combination with the interiors, they reveal a lot about class, culture, and history. The video can be seen as a reflection on the shifts between the individual and the general, focusing on the question of how unique subjectivity can be and how strongly it is determined by circumstances.

Rosa Aiello
The Coquette, 2018
HD video, stereo sound, 24:32 min
Video still, The Coquette, 2018, Courtesy the Artist

The Coquette
is based on one of Patricia Highsmith’s “Little Tales of Misogyny”. In this collection are stories that describe behaviors and ascribe labels with bleak and brutal irony. At play are questions of language (naming, categorization) and the power dynamics of gender relations. The same person performing the same set of actions, but given a different name (“the coquette”, “the victim”), will be perceived differently. Two different people performing the same set of actions may be punished differently. The film observes how a story can be told, and how people get treated according to historically rooted structures of power.

Aria Dean
Eulogy of a Black Mass, 2017
video, 5:54 min
Courtesy of the Artist and Chateau Shatto Los Angeles

Aria Dean explores the black creative labor put into memes, images defined not by their content but by how they are circulated, mutated, and compressed. While all memes lack attribution, Dean illustrates a palpable link between white appropriation of memes created by black people and a deeper lineage of theft and leering fascination.

Nathalie Djurberg

video, music by Hans Berg, 4:42 min
Courtesey of Sammlung / Collection Von Kelterborn

depicts four hulking men, dressed in overalls and plaid shirts, throwing boulders down a wooded hill. They proceed with such brutality that they hurt each other. The stones, meanwhile, develop a life of their own and give each other courage through motivating messages. Using clay and stop motion animation to represent a violent collectivity abusing nature and other living forms, Nathalie Djurberg creates a psychologically charged scenario cynically dealing with human and animalistic desires. Her partner, the musician and composer Hans Berg, provides the sound effects and scores the hypnotic music for this emotional work.

Sonia Leimer
Pink Lady, 2017
HD video, sound, 6:26 min
Courtesy of the Artist

The film offers insight into the annual Apple Crown ritual of the city of Merano, during which a wooden crown is decorated with apples. Leimer documents the interaction between work and tradition, and in the subtitles, she describes the changes in fruit growing as a result of the monitoring instituted since Italy joined the Economic Union: the reduction and loss of the range of varieties, transformations in the landscape, and the standardization of cultivars. In the video, the artist subverts the primeval character of the ritual by having the varieties of apples traditionally used replaced with the standardized, trademarked “Pink Lady” apple.

Lucy Beech
Reproductive Exile, 2018
HD video 5.1 surround sound, 30 min
Courtesy of the Artist

Lucy Beech’s film treats themes of breeding bio clinical labor, “host” procreation, the erasure of the female in fertility research and hormonal multispecies pharmaceutical relationships. It tracks the experience of a cross-border consumer in the commercial surrogacy industry within an inter-corporeal network of human and non-human relations. We encounter this “reproductive exile” on the road, in her car, obsessed with a machine called ‘Eve’— a three-dimensional representation of the human female reproductive system who she confides in while swabbing, driving and injecting herself in a seemingly endless loop.

Wojciech B
Yeti, 2017
Video, sound, 7:15 min
Courtesy of the Artist and Stereo Gallery Amsterdam

Bakowski’s practice includes performance, sound installations, animation and film. Yeti fits somewhere in the middle as the film action centres around the artist performance of the body in architecture, in this case the building where he lives. We observe the repetitive action of climbing steeps, knocking one’s head against the wall, -and partly a definition of the self with floating consumer CGI images. Inspired by Bruce Nauman repetitive gestural videos, Nokia cellphones, Levi’s, Red Wings shoes become signifiers of identity and performance props layered onto the film image.

Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings
Something for The Boys, 2018
Digital video, sound, 16:30 min
Courtesy of the Artist

The film takes place in Blackpool, a historic seaside resort whose dazzling entertainment culture has been brutalized by austerity and falling visitor numbers. Quinlan and Hastings – whose practice unfolds a desire to render visible the material and relational possibilities of queer sites- explore how Blackpool’s nostalgia extends into the gay scene, harking back to both the golden-era of musical theatre, where closeted queers found a language to describe their experience, and the trauma of the AIDS years – an internalization process that allows the community to come to terms with its history.

Barbara Hammer

No No Nooky Tv, 1987, 11:48 min
Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York

Using a 16mm Bolex and Amiga computer, Hammer creates a witty and stunning film about how women view their sexuality versus the way male images of women and sex are perceived. The impact of technology on sexuality and emotion and the sensual self is explored through computer language juxtaposed with everyday colloquial language of sex. No No Nooky Tv confronts the feminist controversy around sexuality with electronic language, pixels, and interface. Even the monitor is eroticized in this film/video hybrid that points fun at romance, sexuality, and love in our post-industrial age.

Marianna Simnett
The Needle and the Larynx, 2016
digital HD video with surround sound, 15:27 min
Courtesy of the Artist

In The Needle and the Larynx (2016), a voice surgeon injects Botox into her larynx, which effectively causes her voice to deepen for several months. Footage of the treatment is accompanied by a fable about a girl who asks to have her voice lowered and threatens the reluctant doctor with a plague of mosquitoes, should he refuse. The Needle and the Larynx caricatures gender stereotypes and undermines the demands of a repressive society on women’s bodies. Capturing her own experience as a patient, she questions the history and orthodoxies of the medical profession.

Video is curated by Attilia Fattori Franchini who is an independent curator and writer based in Vienna and Milan. She is the curator of the commission program BMW Open Work by Frieze and of Curva Blu, a residency project in Favignana, Sicily. She is currently preparing upcoming projects in Naples and Milan.


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Save the Date
26–29 September 2019
Marx Halle Vienna

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