World Cinema Carnival 2023
Curated by Pelin Çılgın
Supervising curator Santasil Mallik
As a festival premised upon the aesthetics of oddities, fluidities, and slippages, a curatorial note can only emerge as a modest way of responding to artists than a conceptual encapsulation of their works. Of the 19 films and video art experiments in our programme this year, we teased out strands from films that at once stood out yet generated a strange intimacy with others. Perhaps, it is not simply a dualistic concern over the form and the content here. But something more. Or less. What emerged in the selection process constitutes the condensation of fractals that created a space for themselves. We work without preset themes and lend ourselves to artists whose aesthetic directions calcify into fortuitous clusters. Four such clusters emerged this year.
Cluster One - Situational Relationships
The first cluster, ‘Situational Relationships,’ hardly corresponds to what the phrase entails in popular parlance now. Nonetheless, it attends to the myriad figurations of connections that permeate our lives, in real or fantasy. Dimitri Frolov looks at romantic associations through the textures of Daniil Kharm’s writings in Clownery, while Giorgos Efthimiou’s unearthly Nitsa charts a young girl’s heartbreaking passage to demise. Shivering Wall by Tseng Yu-Chin and I Wonder If Daylights Were White Nights or Something Childish But Very Natural by Sibi Sekar – both study the social modalities of relationships. For Chin, the outsider figure becomes the locus, and for Sekar, the viewer merges with the cinematic gaze to reflect on the nature of relationships.
Cluster Two - Novel Factuals
Next up, ‘Novel Factuals’ surveys technology, new media, and everything residing in liminality. David Finkelstein’s Soap is an Illusion (Dirt: Part One) playfully invites us to reconsider what we perceive as cleanliness or dirt. Continuing with perception, The Seismic Properties of Cloud Computing by Maxwell Oginz questions the boundaries and habits of cloud computing and what it means to be online. Matthew LaPaglia’s From a Spaceless Within allegorically portrays a classic documentary dilemma of the subject eluding control. Eternal Return/op.1 Wonderful World by Acci Baba works through existential limits from a posthumanist perspective with AI. Darling Mother_B-side by Han-Ling Chuang documents a modern dance performance with online tools, thinking along gender and feminist praxis.
Cluster Three - Primal Visions
The programme’s third cluster titled, ‘Primal Visions,’ takes a closer look at rituals and nature shadowing the Anthropocene. Charlotte Clermont’s Death by Fantasies by Mirrors meditates on the elusiveness of time seen through quotidian realities. Then, Lácrimas by Jeremy Moss creates a striking melodrama featuring the vital energies of insects and plants. Charles Jimenez’s Keratin ruminates on corporeality, birth, and ecosystems. Through archaeology, Nicole Hewitt’s Women Minot Speculations further explores the entanglement between natural history and femininity. Nature also manifests in its fragility in Tim Feeney’s Land Under Wave.
Nature, Ritual, Pondering.
Cluster Four - Urban Geographies
‘Urban Geographies’ is the fourth cluster that navigates the circuitous terrains of city life and living. Starting with an intimate encounter, ROYGBIV (Before The End, The Lights Shine Bright) and I Sleep with the Lights On, both by Rebecca Shapass, offer a personal insight into what night walking means to a young spirit in the city and how such nights presses upon interpersonal relationships. Roger Gomes Ghil’s Mend locates queerness in the context of colonial violence and trauma. On the other hand, Lot’s Son by Antonio Luque Avila attends to anxieties that haunt queer lives and living in the metropolis. The final film, Commodity Trading: Dies Irae, by M. Woods, provides a thought-provoking reflection on racism, privilege, and intolerance in a world marred by generational prejudice.
Our programming team at World Cinema Carnival believes in fostering affective proximities to the screen and attendant apparatuses of cinematic sensorium. As a platform, it networks artists, researchers, curators, and freelancers through creative exchange. For the 2023 edition, we will extend the transversal communications realized through films to participant interactions with the contributors. In our Afterword sessions, we look forward to further holding onto sounds and images that have profoundly enriched us.