The Otolith Group og Camel Collective
Welcome to the viewing of two films made by contemporary artists' collections that in different ways treat the mindset from the 1968 rebellion. Communists Like Us (The Otolith Group, UK) and The Distance from Pontresina to Zermatt Is The Same As From Zermatt to Pontresina (The Camel Collective, US / MEX) look at the relationship between theory and practice / revolutionary action as well as questioning the link between photography and archive, sound and moving images.
Introduction by artist and filmmaker Sara Eliassen
Communists Like Us (UK, 2010, 22 min, The Otolith Group)
La distancia entre Pontresina y Zermatt es la misma que la de Zermatt a Pontresina /The Distance from Pontresina to Zermatt Is the Same as from Zermatt to Pontresina (US/MEX, 2017, 26 min, Camel Collective)
Communists Like Us explore a 16-minute scene from Jean-Luc Godards La Chinoise (1967) where the real philosopher and former activist Francis Jeanson discusses with the fictional character Veronique, a young Maoist, various forms of resistance and rebellion. The dialogue from this scene is set in The Otolith Group's film in the context of photographic documentation of meetings between politicians and activists in India and in Mao's China and other Asian countries in the 1950's and 60's. Coupled with the image material, La Chinoise's dialogue initiates a conversation between historical archives, photography, film and art.
The Distance from Pontresina to Zermatt Is the Same as from Zermatt to Pontresina (prod year) follows two blind men who each attempt to travel in Mexico City and the area of El Bordo de Xochiaca land-ill. The landscapes are merged with scenes from a sound studio where the same people read out loud a correspondence between the German philosophers Theodor W. Adorno and Herbert Marcuse about the revolutionary potential of the student uprising in 1968. While reading, a group of audio designers work to create sound effects such as gives life to the two landscapes. This multi-faceted work, originally created as an installation, explores the challenges of radical social movements and problematic simplified perceptions of the relationship between theory and practice, digital and analogue, production and product.
About the participants
Camel Collective was formed in 2005–6 as a research group during a fellowship at the Whitney Independent Study Program. The group met to conduct research on labor, the politics of affect, and the history of artist collectives. Anthony Graves and Carla Herrera-Prats have worked together as Camel Collective since 2010. Graves & Herrera-Prats’ artworks are motivated by research into marginal histories and critical pedagogies. Their works in performance, video, sculpture, and photography think through the contradictions of contemporary labor and the myths of cultural production, bringing together collaborators from a variety of professions.
The Otolith Group was founded in 2002 and consists of Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun who live and work in London. Their work is research based and spans the moving image, audio, performance, installation, and curation. They incorporate film making and post-lens-based essayistic aesthetics that explore the temporal anomalies, anthropic inversions, and synthetic alienation of the posthuman, the inhuman, the non-human, and the complexity of the environmental conditions of life we all face.
Expanding on the work of The Otolith Group is our curatorial public platform The Otolith Collective. On this platform programming, exhibition-making, artists' writing, workshops, publication, and teaching are aimed at developing close readings of images and sounds in contemporary society. In 2010 The Otolith Group were nominated for the Turner Prize.
Sara Eliassen is an artist and filmmaker based in Oslo. Eliassen holds an MFA in film from San Francisco Art Institute and was a studio fellow at The Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program in 2010/ 2011. Her films Still Birds and A Blank Slate have played extensively at international film festivals, amongst them Venice Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam and Sundance. Throughout 2018 Eliassen executed The Feedback Loop, a project commissioned by The Munch Museum- Muncmuseum on the Move, consisiting of a public screen intervention, the programming of a screening series and a solo exhibition with guests at Munchmuseet i bevegelse- Kunsthall Oslo. Eliassen is part of the artist council for Kunstnernes Hus Kino.