Curriculum: Images for our times
Directed by Eric Baudelaire
RAW Académie Session 7 led by artist and filmmaker Eric Baudelaire, will focus on film. New ways to see, to hear and to share, to help us question the urgencies of the present, not so much to explain them but to question ourselves in the face of them. Seven weeks to reflect on the relationship between film and actuality, between images and events, between art and the real.
While a shared definition of what constitutes the real eludes us, we have imagined this session with a great love for those who devote themselves, in various ways, to trying and grasp it, to studying its mechanisms, or simply to shining a light on a sliver of it. The faculty of Session 7 is made up of fellow travellers who share these concerns, and have been engaged in reflecting on the real with variable doses of fiction, invention, imagination and observation.
A passage from Samuel Beckett comes to mind: “… there will be a new form and (…) this form will be of such a type that it admits the chaos and does not try to say that the chaos is really something else. The form and the chaos remain separate… That is why the form itself becomes a preoccupation, because it exists as a problem separate from the material it accommodates. To find a form that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now.”
Today, the word mess as a synonym for the word real seems as prescient as ever. What matters about Beckett’s formulation, what feels urgent and relevant about it in the current moment, is that it doesn’t speak of a task to reveal the mess, or deconstruct the mess – it speaks of a need to accommodate it in a form, so that we may find new ways to relate to it, whatever that form may be.
Throughout the Académie, we will discuss the potentialities of images and sounds. Together, we will watch a film a day: films authored by, and films that have inspired the visiting faculty. We will consider film as a means of resistance, a tool to generate new critical forms, material and ideas, a medium for creating a common experience. We will juxtapose fictions that have documentary tendencies with documents that open fictional spaces, and instigate a dialogue between them. We will inhabit the space between story and history. We will discuss expanded practices, beyond film and projections: convening other artworks, archives, performances and discussions into the exhibition space, working with printed matter, inventing new models of interaction between artist, audience and material.
Images for our times will be structured around rituals and repetition. Each day will begin with a screening, followed by a walk. A perambulation through the city of Dakar towards a new location where we will sit and discuss what we have screened. The program will not be production focused, but fellows will be encouraged to work on small projects, make images in Dakar, and share them with the fellows during dedicated weekly viewing sessions.
The curriculum will be shaped each week by the visiting faculty members: filmmakers and artists John Akomfrah, Mati Diop, Alain Gomis, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Alfredo Jaar, Naeem Mohaiemen, curator and writer Rasha Salti and film scholar Nicole Brenez.
Through the screenings, the walks and the discussions, RAW Académie Session 7 will reflect on a cinema that searches for new forms to accommodate the real, with the conviction that a form can create a community of circumstance. A community that exists because of the form, a community that thinks about problems that the observed real poses. What remains important is experiencing a sensation together, experiencing a non-fragmented continuity together. Thinking anew our sense of time as we reflect about the mess. Affirming an urgency to rethink our experience of time.
This session is open to filmmakers and artists interested in working with moving images, as well as film programmers, curators, researchers, and art historians with a commitment to the moving image.
Visit Raw Material Company to find out more and apply.
Application deadline: 30 June 2019, midnight.
Cover image: Eric Baudelaire, Also Known As Jihadi (still), 2017. Film.