UNdocumenta at Asia Culture Center – Theater in South Korea

© Raya Martin & Antoine Thirion, 2016. Logo: Roman Seban, 2016.


Initiated by filmmaker Raya Martin and critic Antoine Thirion on the invitation of Seonghee Kim and Max-Philip Aschenbrenner, UNdocumenta is a film festival revolving around the lost accounts of cinema (through material destruction, acts of censorship, political, economic or human contingencies) and condemned histories of nations (by social displacement, cultural annihilation or deliberate disappearance). The traditional program of screenings becomes a series of performative events.

Originally made from self-destructing chemical nitrate, films are symbolic of an alternative history that exists outside of conventional documentation. These lost movies, once veritable records of their period, have disappeared for numerous accountable reasons. But cinema continues to tell stories within and outside of its precarious nature, offering the possibility to represent the images and histories it once held.

Inspired by the works of archivist Paolo Cherchi Usai and anthropologist James C. Scott, UNdocumenta revisits history and cinema through the blind side of their radically excluded material. If history is told by those who left the most traces of their existence, it can learn from paying attention not only to those who were misrepresented, but as well to those who ensured they weren’t leaving any traces behind by means of self-destruction or self-erasure. As Godard summed it up: there is no duty to remember, only a right to oblivion.

UNdocumenta presents a published catalogue, made by a programming team of literary writers, critics, philosophers, artists, and curators led by Gallien Déjean, that details several programs to be revealed during the festival. The festival program consists of a diverse presentation of real and curious cases of lost films (or filmmakers), which will be performed in screening theaters.

In collaboration with the Korean Film Archive (KOFA), the festival highlights landmark films such as Arirang (presented by critic Un-seong Yoo), as well as a retrospective of the missing Korean filmmaker Bae Yong-kyun.

A conference by philosopher Anne-Françoise Schmid will connect the issue of lost films to the field of non-philosophy.

The festival will also present a special exhibition on the Cinema of Zomia, an imaginary territory referring to the culture of mountainous regions around Southeast Asia that flourished outside of nation-states through the development of frictional strategies. Works by international artists will be exhibited alongside onsite-produced works by invited guest artists.

Chinese filmmakers, headed by film programmer and producer Zhu Rikun, will present their film projects around the subject of Duplitecture, the functional architectural copies of different global cities within their mainland country.

A special screening of around ten films, participative activities, and new entries in the program will also be announced at the opening of the festival.

With participations and productions of Mathieu Abonnenc, Jean-Marie Appriou, Max-Philip Aschenbrenner, Huma Bhabha, Sigrid Bouaziz, Enrico Camporesi, Fredie Chan Ho-lun & Tit Leung Cheung, Violet Cho, Dae Jin Choi, Eric Choi, Gallien Déjean, Bertrand Dezoteux, Arnaud Dezoteux, John Divola, Matthew Flanagan, Wang Feng, Kawayan de Guia, Chang-Huei Ge, Aaron Hillis, Craig Keller,Seonghee Kim, Steinar Haga Kristensen, Manon Lutanie, Ladj Ly, Huang Mei, Pascaline Morincôme, Rachael Rakes, Clément Rodzielski, Nicolas Roggy, Lou Rozès, Olga Rozenblum, Anne-Françoise Schmid, Roman Seban, Park Taekyu, Jessey Tsang Tsui-Shan, Rachel Valinsky, High Wolf, Un-Seong Yoo, Rikun Zhu…

Asia Culture Center – Theater  38 Munhwajeondang-ro Dong-gu Gwangju 140-026 South Korea
29 April – 1 May, 2016