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March 18, 2011

The Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture Presents "Where Do We Migrate To?" Film Series

March 18 - April 30, 2011

Contact: Thomas Moore
Director of Arts Mangement

This release is available as a pdf file.

UMBC's Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture (CADVC) presents Where Do We Migrate To?, an exhibition accompanied by a film series, from March 17 through April 30. The exhibition will be on display at the CADVC's gallery from March 17 through April 30. The film and video program, curated by Sonja Simonyi and presented in partnership with the Film and Media Studies Program at Johns Hopkins University, will feature six programs/screenings by a wide range of international filmmakers and video artists: Chantal Akerman, Herman Asselberghs, Ursula Biemann, Pavel Brailia, Oliver Husain, Isaac Julien, Tanja Ostojic, Egle Rakauskaite, Ben Russell, Ulirch Seidl, Usha Seejarim, Lonnie van Brummelen and Siebren de Haan.

The film program presents a curated series of audiovisual materials, feature length fiction films, documentaries, as well as experimental videos. The selected films demonstrate the diverging ways in which networks of migration, experiences of displacement, and questions of belonging and rootlessness have been addressed by artist and filmmakers in recent years. While a selection of films engage with migratory practices as central to our understanding of the present-day self in increasingly globalized and multicultural settings, other works investigate the complex historical processes that frame these contemporary conditions. The program thus provides a rich sampling of ways in which the ongoing circulation of people across regions, nations and continents, is addressed and questioned from multiple political, social, cultural and historical perspectives in film and video art.

Program #1: Fortress Europe
Friday, March 18, 6 pm, Shriver Hall, Johns Hopkins University

Grossraum (Borders of Europe)
Lonnie Van Brummelen and Siebren de Haan
2004-2005, 35mm, 35 minutes, The Netherlands
A poetic triptych shot on 35mm, Grossraum examines three distinct border zones of Europe. Van Brummelen and de Haan's piece presents visually stunning, fluid images of these landscapes, as well as the daily activities that unfold at these sites of transit. The checkpoints presented are Hrebenne (situated between Poland and Ukraine), Ceuta, a small Spanish enclave surrounded by mainland Morocco, and Nicosia in Cyprus, divided between the Turkish occupied northern and Greek southern part, each place pregnant with cultural, political and historical significance.

Import Export
Ulrich Seidl
2007, 35mm, 135 minutes, Austria
Austrian filmmaker Ulrich Seidl's feature film narrates two distinct trajectories of import and export across New Europe. While a young Ukranian nurse abandons her infant child in search of a more hopeful life in Austria, a debt-ridden Viennese youngster embarks on a reverse trajectory to the Ukraine, helping his stepfather install outmoded gambling machines. Through these stories, which simultaneously address the economic and existential crises that shape life across Europe, the film ruthlessly delineates various relationships of exchange between East and West.

Program #2: Sahara Chronicle
Thursday, March 31, 7 pm, UMBC Lecture Hall 3 (Administration Building)

Sahara Chronicle
Ursula Biermann
2007, DVD, 78 minutes, Switzerland
Bierman's work consists of a number of short videos which carefully detail the sub-Saharan exodus towards Europe. The visual material collected during various visits to the central sites of the migration network in Morocco, Niger and Mauritania, it documents and reflects the complexity and diversity of the migratory experience and of the immigration system itself. Bypassing the authoritarian voiceover as a manipulative device used in much documentary filmmaking and avoiding recounting a closed narrative, Biermann's work allows the audience to process the rich visual material as well as the textual information which is mapped onto the images.

Program #3: From the Other Side
Wednesday, April 6, 4:30 pm, UMBC Lecture Hall 7 (ITE Building)

From the Other Side
Chantal Akerman
2001, DVD, 99 minutes, Belgium/France
In From the Other Side, Chantal Akerman looks at the harsh environment of the US Mexican border, where cutting edge technologies of surveillance have been systematically employed to limit illegal northbound passage to America. Shifting her lens between the border towns of Agua Prieta in Sonora, where people from across Mexico pass their time before attempting to cross into America, and the neighboring Douglas, Arizona, surrounded by mountains and desert flatlands, Akerman depicts the personal as well as the political implications of illegal immigration.

Program #4: Migrant and Diasporic Histories
Tuesday, April 19, 6 pm, Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture

Herman Asselberghs
2006, DVD, 23 minutes, Belgium
This video, by Belgian artist Herman Asselberghs, investigates the divide between Europe and Africa, North and South, "inside" and "outside," through the particular site of Ceuta, an autonomous Spanish enclave nestled on the North African side of the Strait of Gibraltar. Investigating the geopolitical, as well as the philosophical implications of having a fenced off enclave of the European Union situated on the African continent, the work considers ways in which this isolated space negotiates necessary African involvement in Europe's questionable immigration policies, and the implications of outsourcing the border of Europe, both physically and symbolically, to a different continent.

Eurolines Catering or Homesick Cuisine
Pavel Braila
2006, DVD, 17 minutes, Moldovia/Germany
Playfully uncovering the connections between food and homesickness as central to the migratory experience, this engaging piece presents the trajectory of a bag of home-cooked Moldavian dishes prepared by the artist's family across Europe, from Braila's hometown in Moldavia to a Berlin art gallery opening. Employing the low-budget bus line Eurolines for sending the food, the package traces the itinerary of many Eastern European immigrants going west in order to find work.

My America
Egle Rakauskaite
2003, DVD, 12 minutes, Lithuania
Traveling to America to visit her relatives, the artist takes up a job often assigned to newly arrived immigrants: taking care of the elderly and the physically or mentally challenged. The video shows her carefully fulfilling different aspects of her job, while different soundscapes and a voiceover provide an impressionistic evocation of her experiences in America as an immigrant. Through different levels of representation, the piece comments in diverging ways on those left out or left behind in popular and mainstream depictions of America as a migrant's destination.

Crossing Over
Tanja Ostojic
2001, DVD, 7 minutes, Serbia/Germany
In 2000, artist Tanja Ostojic started the "Looking for a Husband with EU Passport" project. Publishing an ad with this title, she exchanged over 500 letters with numerous applicants. Following correspondence with a German man for over six months, their first meeting was arranged and recorded as a public performance in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade in 2001. The video documents this meeting, with subtitles providing a subjective framing for the event. In her work, Ostojic uses her own identity and body to forcefully comment on immigration policies, bypassing the abstract notion of "the migrant" to evoke a personal, individualized and gendered experience.

Green Dolphin
Oliver Husain
2008, DVD, 15 minutes, Canada
In Green Dolphin, German-Indian artist and filmmaker Oliver Husain constructs a hybrid narrative in which reality and dream worlds converge, constructing seemingly coherent spatiotemporal unity between disparate locales, from Kuala Lumpur to Toronto. Inspired by the 1947 film Green Dolphin which starred Lana Turner, this playful short piece presents a Filipino Canadian dancer as she relates her intricate love affairs to us, her character mediating between different diasporic universes.

eight to four
Usha Seejarim
2001, DVD, 8 minutes, South Africa
Usha Seejarim, a South African artist of Indian heritage, investigates the multiplicity of histories and questions of memory at work in specific, everyday geographies of South Africa. In this work, she presents visual recordings of the roads of the country, which were formed as a result of forced migration. eight to four captures the shadows of vehicles passing along highway M1 South, a route connecting Johannesburg to Lenasia, a township which was specifically demarcated for South Africa's Indian population during apartheid.

Encore (Paradise Omeros: Redux)
Issac Julien
2003, DVD, 5 minutes, UK
This short film, a reworking of Julien's earlier multi-channel video piece Paradise Omeros (2002) follows Nobel Prize winning Caribbean poet Derek Walcott to Santa Lucia, a place of origin for Julien as well, as his parents migrated from the island to England in the 1960s. The film, inspired by Walcott's epic poem Omeros (1990), evokes experiences of displacement and alienation, as striking, luscious, color-saturated imagery and Walcott's voice-over associated with the homeland are staged against London's drab, industrial wasteland.

Program #5: Waiting for Happiness (Heremanoko)
Thursday, April 28, 6 pm, UMBC Lecture Hall 3, (Administration Building)

Waiting for Happiness (Heremanoko)
Abderrahmane Sissako
2002, DVD, 90 minutes, Mauritania/Mali
Mauritanian director Abderrahmane Sissako described his film as "a portrait of people in departure, who have to a certain extent already left, without having actually yet moved." Engaging with the transitory state inherent to trajectories of exile, the narrative of the film centers on Abdallah, a young man who awaits his departure to Europe in Nouadhibou, on the Coast of Mauritania. Beyond the central character, the port city itself comes to embody a state of suspension, as existential and geographical in-betweenness is invoked through spare dialogue and striking cinematography.

Program #6: Let Each One Go Where He May
Saturday, April 30, 6 pm, location to be announced at The Johns Hopkins University

Let Each One Go Where He May
Ben Russell
2009, 16mm, 135 minutes, United States
Let Each One Go Where He May is the debut feature of Chicago-based artist Ben Russell. A portrait of two Saramaccaner Maroon brothers, the film captures their journey from the outskirts of Paramaribo, Suriname across different rural landscapes, as they trace the route their ancestors had undertaken 300 years earlier as slaves, escaping their Dutch masters. Employing a carefully choreographed formal visual language (masterfully comprised of 13 ten-minute-long single shots), the work questions our understanding of the historical, political, and personal meanings of this trajectory, while implicitly addressing issues of ethnographic, documentary, and (self-)representation.

About the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture
The Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture is dedicated to the study of contemporary art and visual culture, critical theory, art and cultural history, and the relationship between society and the arts. The CADVC serves as a forum for students, faculty, and the general public for the discussion of important aesthetic and social issues of the day. Disciplines represented include painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking, photography, digital art, video, film, television, design, architecture, advertising, and installation and performance art.

Since 1989, the CADVC has incorporated a number of public programs into its exhibition programming schedule to further impact the communities it serves. Symposia, lecture series, conferences, film series, visiting artist series, and residencies have all been fundamental in an effort to create an ongoing dialogue about contemporary art and culture. The Center has also initiated a number of projects with Baltimore and surrounding schools to integrate the contemporary artist and their concerns into the classroom. These projects take place on-site at both middle schools and high schools and are team taught by the instructors at these schools, professional artists, and students from the CADVC's Internship Program.

The Center produces one to two exhibition catalogues each year. Each document is fully illustrated and contains critical essays on the given subject by a variety of distinguished professionals in the field. Recent publications include Postmodernism: A Virtual Discussion and Paul Rand: Modernist Design. These books and catalogues are published and are distributed internationally through Distributed Art Publishers.

Since 1992, the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture has actively pursued the organization of exhibitions that contain the aesthetic, theoretical, and educational potential to reach both a national and international audience. Over the years, the CADVC has traveled these exhibition projects to a broad spectrum of museums, professional non-profit galleries, and universities national and internationally. Recent traveling exhibitions include:

For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights (2010)
White: Whiteness and Race in Contemporary Art (2003)
Fred Wilson: Objects and Installations (2001)
Adrian Piper: A Retrospective (1999)
Bruno Monguzzi: A Designer's Perspective (1998)
Minimal Politics (1997)
Kate Millett, Sculpture: The First 38 Years (1997)

Beyond the scope of these traveling exhibitions, the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture also undertakes projects such as the Joseph Beuys Tree Partnership. As part of the educational mission of the CADVC, one graduate thesis exhibition and one undergraduate senior exhibition are presented each year. This multi-faceted focus for presenting exhibitions, projects and scholarly research publications focused on contemporary art and cultural issues positions the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture in a unique position within the mid-Atlantic region.

General CADVC information: 410-455-3188

UMBC Arts & Culture Calendar:

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• From Baltimore and points north, proceed south on I-95 to exit 47B. Take Route 166 toward Catonsville and then follow signs to campus.
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Posted by tmoore at March 18, 2011 3:05 PM