Rainer Komers // Kobe

D/J, 2006, colour, 35mm,
45 min., without Dialog

One of the five main ports in its country, Kobe is also of great relevance in the world of cinema: it was there that in November 1896 the first film was screened in Japan. Kobe proposes an exploration of the city’s particular habits, rhythms and gestures until it transforms immediate register into unfamiliar everyday life, in a constant zigzag between sociological observation and sudden poetry. The auction-scene at the fish market is proof of the unusual pace of a city which – as telling evidence of its vitality – regenerated itself following the unfortunate earthquake of January 17th, 1995.
(Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente, catalogue)


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No School Today // Antje Majewski

D/CHN, 2005, colour, video,
10 min., without dialog

with Cui Tao, Zheng Chenggong
Growing up is about learning the rules of the current civilization. Part of that consists in reducing possible movements. A small child can still climb walls, jump and fall flat on the floor in public. If an adult did the same thing, people would stare at him. The civilization process assures that an adult would not even think of trying to do strange movements in private, where no one can see, with the exception of exercise or sports, which also follow a set of rules. Daily life routines in Beijing are changing rapidly, being transformed not only by new working conditions but also by new floor plans for private apartments.
In my short film No school today, (Video, 12 min, 2005) I wanted to try out what happens if the rules for movement are changed within the confined space of one of Beijing’s new, anonymous flats so that it gets used in a way it wasn’t intended.

A man and a child are living in one of the new apartment blocks. The flat is furnished in ‘international style’ with no specific taste, so you can’t guess the man’s profession or hobbies. The only exception is an oil painting of a rare desert stone hanging on the wall, which I painted myself. This painting reappears within the exhibition. Rare stones, or gongshi, are an old-fashioned collectors item in China; little pedestals are carved to hold them.

The man comes in with some soy milk for breakfast, puts it on the table and tries to wake the child up. The boy doesn’t want to go to school. He refuses to undress. The man gets angry. Until then the movements have been normal, but now the child manages to get away from the man with some acrobatic moves. For the next few minutes the man is trying to catch the boy, but now they have new rules for their movements: they can’t walk freely any more. The man can move only if he keeps attached to the floor or the walls with his whole body. Crawling forward, he becomes an animal-like menace to the child. The child can move forward by jumping or doing somersaults. The space becomes bigger for the child to hide in, because he can cross the room much faster than the man. While at first the two are angry at each other, later they start having fun and play it as a game. Finally the man gets hold of the child. He carries him piggyback. They leave the apartment, take the elevator down and vanish in the crowd of the street.

No school today was an experiment based on improvisation. I was working together with Cui Tao from the Beijing Modern Dance Company, and the 10-year-old Zheng Chenggong from Dongcheng Sports School, where he is learning martial arts.
(Artist Statement)


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Antje Majewski // Dekonditionierung

D, 2007, colour, video,
78 min., German with engl. Subtitles

“I always find the unexpected: those moments are the best – did you catch them? Don’t waste it!“
Cosey Fanny Tutti, Heathen Earth

Dekonditionierung is inspired by experiments of the dance and art commune Exploding Galaxy / Transmedia Explorations. One of the members in 1969 was Genesis P-Orridge (later Throbbing Gristle). They tried to decondition the personalities of their members by changing personalities, clothes, tasks and places to sleep every day. This unfortunately led to personality disorders in some members.

Dekonditionierung doesn’t try to decondition the personalities of its actors, but our assumptions about human behaviour and communication. On five subsequent days, the actors were given rules of communication: Politeness, Power, Human Animal, Psychosis and Closeness. Every day the behaviour towards the group and oneself changed. The borders between play and “real life“ were fluid – one person could really hurt the other or eat real spiders that were too small to be seen in the film. Who are we seeing? When the rules change, does the personality remain the same? Some of the participants are professional actors, others not, but all were asked not to play a role, but to “be themselves” under changing rules. The script told them how to communicate (or fail to communicate), but not what about. All content was left to the improvisation of the actors, who were also free to decide when to leave the room and the play. Each day they found themselves in a different room, with different mood, furniture and props, which were connected to the rule of the day. All rooms and the spacious park belong to Atelier Ost, an old villa northeast of Berlin that is entirely surrounded by the Berlin wall.


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Antje Majewski // Erde Asphalt Wedding

D, 2007, colour, video,
9 min., without Dialog

in collaboration with Juliane Solmsdorf
Two strange creatures come out of the canal at Westhafen, near Wedding, one of Berlin’s seediest districts. Their shiny costumes twinkle in the early morning light. As the noise of the streets becomes louder, they continue to crawl on the ground: up to the street, over a bridge, across crossroads and past cars, until finally vanishing again behind a concrete ramp. In Erde Asphalt Wedding (Earth Asphalt Wedding), we appropriate the governed city space by moving through it, in extreme close up, with the entire surface of our bodies.


Please request the rental conditions for the videos by Antje Majewski.