Notes on Orientalism. Video Practices at the Age of Radical Difference – Viafarini DOCVA

Renzo Martens, Episode 3 – Enjoy Poverty, 2009
Film still courtesy Galerie Fons Welters, Wilkinson Gallery, Renzo Martens


Notes on Orientalism. Video practices at the age of radical difference is a temporary cinema organized into four different sessions, 2 hours long each, that will be screened at Viafarini space, Fabbrica del Vapore, beginning tomorrow 14 May at 7pm. The project has been realized thanks to a collaboration between Viafarini and Lo Schermo dell’arte Film Festival, an international project started in Florence in 2008 dedicated to exploring, analyzing and promoting the complex relations between contemporary art and cinema through films, videos, installations, publications and workshops.

Artists: Basma Alsharif, Mounira Al Solh, Sven Augustijnen, Mieke Bal, Louis Henderson, Marine Hugonnier, Invernomuto, Renzo Martens, Emilija Škarnulytė/Como Clube, and Philip Warnell.

Taking as a starting point the physical and virtual archives of Lo Schermo dell’arte, the selection curated by Silvana Fiorese and Simone Frangi attempts to re-enact the notion of Orientalism as formulated by the theoretician of Palestinian origins Edward W. Said in 1978, trying to intercept it in recent audiovisual productions which deal with postcolonial issues and anti-imperialist postures. While introducing the idea of Orientalism, Said unveils in an extremely analytical and polemical way that typical European modality of establishing relationships with its geopolitical otherness through the affirmation of Europe as a special pole of the processes of identity construction. In the frame of the analysis of European colonial dynamics, Orientalism emerges as a cultural and political project aiming to dominate and exercise influence on East – understood as a metaphor of everything that is not Europe – thanks to economical, political and military power structures. This idea of the positional superiority of Europe, which seems to be supported by the imagination of a factitious Eastern World and by its partial and non radical difference, supports in fact  the priority given to Europe in the field of geopolitical identity-making.

Starting from an attentive analysis of the pivotal work of Edward Said and its segmentation, Notes on Orientalism takes the shape of a program of screenings of artists that try to undermine, rectify or denunce the predatory and coercitive process of the “vampirization” of the difference, taking into account its actuality.

I screening: 14 May 2015 at 7pm
Lettres du voyant - Louis Henderson, 2013, 40′
Spectres - Sven Augustijnen, 2011, 104’

II screening: 19 May 2015 at 7pm
Travelling Amazonia – Marine Hugonnier, 24’
Home Movies Gaza - Basma Alsharif, 2013, 24’
Now Eat My Script – Mounira Al Solh, 2014, 25’

III screening: 26 May 2015 at 7pm
Colony – Mieke Bal, 2006, 33’
Episode 3 – Enjoy Poverty - Renzo Martens, 2009, 90’

IV screening: 3 June 2015 at 7pm
Malù – Lo stereotipo della Venere Nera in Italia – Invernomuto, 2015
Latent River - Emilija Škarnulytė/Como Clube, 2015, 38’
Ming of Harlem - Phillip Warnell, 2014, 71’

Viafarini DOCVA – Fabbrica del Vapore, via Procaccini 4, Milan
14 May – 3 June 2015