Tuesday, June 2, 2009 at 7:30pm
Disturbing History

Curated by Lauren Cornell and Hanne Mugaas

A selection of experimental documentaries that recall obscure or lesser known histories. Some works evoke the not so distant past through personal narratives, such as Lene Berg’s The Man in the Background, which uncovers the double-life of a CIA operative during the Cold War. Others bring to light marginal stories or situations and point to factors that repress them, while Winner by Harry Dodge and Stanya Kahn portrays a fictional character, Lois, who evokes the weird genius (or isolation) of the misunderstood artist. The screening touches on a broad range of subjects including a present-day love affair between woman and monument, dreams of celebrity, and a short-lived genre called New Jack Swing, each disturbing and re-telling a set history.

The Man in the Background, Lene Berg, 2006
Over a compilation of found home-movie footage shot on Super-8, Berg layers seven voice-overs, each describing a different side of the story of Michael and Diana Josselson, a seemingly ordinary and convivial American couple later exposed for cooperation with the CIA, he as an operative and she as complicit in his affairs. The Man in the Background builds a narrative picture of the complex double-life of the couple, as shaped by prevailing Cold War cultural politics.

Berlinmuren, Lars Laumann, 2008
Berlinmuren centers on an unusual relationship: the love affair between Eija-Riita Berliner-Mauer and the Berlin Wall. Laumann's approach is not primarily documentary but guided instead by a respectful interest in the idiosyncrasies of marginalized social phenomena — not only that such relationships are possible, but also how society reacts to them.

Misty Boundaries Has Left the Room, James Richards, 2008
James Richards uses the accumulation and reassembly of imagery as a devotional and elegiac process; the archetypes of the mixtape and of the souvenir create and demonstrate the obsession of the fan, the transformation of the mass archive into a personal one. He proposes an arena of subjectivity distinct from the one bounded by commerce and the media, and in so doing redefines processes of making and showing. Misty Bounderies Has Left the Room was made for the online project The Politics in the Room.

Winner, Harry Dodge and Stanya Kahn, 2003
In this short fictional documentary, Lois (played by Kahn) is a peripatetic, struggling artist who wins a cruise through a radio contest but, when paid a visit by the station’s representative, refuses to accept it. Instead, she locks the station’s representative (played by Dodge) into a winding conversation and informal studio visit which ends in her displaying works in the trunk of her car.

NJS Map, Seth Price, 2001-02
Excerpted from Price's 2001 video-lecture "New York Woman," which explored the ways in which music production techniques change over time, NJS Map uses animated diagrams to lay out the historical development of one period in pop music, the briefly-lived but influential genre often called "New Jack Swing."

Tickets - $7, available at door.

This event is supported by Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA).