Film screenings outside Signal
16–18 June 2006

ÅMX.06 (Århus Malmö Exchange Programme 2006) in collaboration with exhibition space Signal invites you to the ÅMX.06 Midsommar Flicks, which takes place in the form of evening film screenings between 16-18 June 2006. Eight films relating to the notion of public and public sphere are shown, and all screenings are free of charge and open to the public.

The film screening is an outcome of a four months reading group that met in Signal to read and discuss texts dealing with notions of public and public sphere. As the group began to respond and question the various ideas on the formation of the public sphere posed by writers such as Jürgen Habermas, Michael Warner, Virginia Woolf, Henri Lefebvre, Alexander Kluge and Oskar Negt, this led to drawing parallels and connections about the role of cultural production from political, social, and personal perspectives. Constructing a film program consisting of works made by some of the authors read in the reading group, or by others who touch upon the notion of public and public sphere, is an attempt to open the forum of discussion with a wider community of people and to consider together the spaces where the creative process, political and social action may meet.

With the evening film screenings as a focal point, the ÅMX Midsommar Flicks will present in conjunction with the events, two additional materials that encompass the offshoots of ideas and discussions during the months of reading as a group, and additional relevant material. One such component is a distribution of a booklet that houses research on the public and local context made by each of the participants, and contribution by Gunnar Sandin and Annelie Nilsson (L.A Islands). The second is a consumable piece rh-protocol made by Finnish artist Piia Salmi, who has made a project of examining the communal gardens in and around Malmö, and has gathered rhubarb from various gardens that she has visited.

The films presented point to notions of public and public sphere in urban contexts that are embedded in times of change, a change that is tending towards monolithic impositions rather than something that has risen from a plurality of voices below. The collated material from the reading group presented with the screening is an attempt at a modest but a pertinent contribution to voices that can become a fabric of counterpoint to the mainstream. The project wishes to provoke the inhabitants to reflect upon their everyday life and glean ideas or new ways of seeing and being that may become concrete manifestations.

Friday 16 June 2006
19:00 Magnus Gertten and Stefan Berg: Far till staden. Sweden 2001, 57 min.
Eric Svenning, an influential political figure in the history of Malmö was the driving force for some of the larger changes in the city. Narrated from the perspective of his son, the film spans the period from the early 1930s to the mid-1970s, talking about how Malmö’s urban structure had changed under the auspices of Eric Svenning. Programs such as “Light and Air”, “Hälsobostäder åt alla” prompted an awareness to improve and provide better housing conditions for the people. The film mixes found historical footage and interviews with Svenning’s son, creating a narrative that closely intertwines Svenning’s rise in power with the physical changes in Malmö, drawing a cogent portrait of a city’s changing visage alongside a powerful personality that was crucial to its development.

20:00 Arbetarrörelsens filmkomitté: Vi och vår stad. Sweden 1938, 10 min.
A film made by the workers’ association before the elections in 1938, where they praise the Socialdemocrats’ achievements in improving housing and living conditions for the people of Malmö, outlining their future plans and visions for the communities.

21:30 Max Kestner: Blue Collar White Christmas. Denmark 2002, 80 min.
The Viking lifeboat factory has been an essential component in the make up of the town of Esbjerg, Denmark. Colleagues have become friends and the factory has fostered its unique sense of community. It is December 2001 and the workers of the factory are preparing for the coming Christmas holidays, when the news arrives of the company’s decision to relocate the factory to Bangkok. The film follows four main characters that try to deal with the speculations and predictions on the upcoming notification of layoffs. However, life continues and the film draws a quiet but moving portrait of people faced with collective and personal changes.

Saturday 17 June 2006
19:00 Susi Pietsch: La Llave de sus Sueños. Spain/Germany 2004, 59 min.
Two gypsy women and their small girl live in a cave in Granada. San Miguel, the hill overlooking the city, has been inhabited for centuries, and was declared UNESCO world heritage in 1994. Now the city wants to redevelop the site and construct a park, turning the caves into a museum. The clearance of the caves poses an existential threat to the small family as they have to forgo their way of life and move into a flat, which they fail to find again and again due to the discrimination faced by gypsy descents. For more than a year the filmmaker accompanied the protagonist’s everyday. La Llave de sus Sueños is a multi-layered, analytical film, exploring secluded dwellings in fringes of modern society and the adherence to the illusions of an idyllic life.

20:30 Alina Rudnitskaya: Communal Residence. Russia 2002, 13 min.
Communal housing has been a common form of living arrangements in the Soviet Union. Communal Residence takes us to contemporary St. Petersburg, where a group of people shares a former grand bourgeois apartment that has been divided-up into smaller units in the communist era. Rudnitskaya draws a humorous picture of a real estate agent who tries to convince the inhabitants to move into individual flats, in order to re-create and restore the premise back into its original, pre-communist state and function. A 21st century anachronism, whose destruction evokes resistance.

21:30 Jem Cohen: Chain. USA/Germany 2004, 99 min.
ÅMX.06 and Signal are happy to present an exclusive preview screening of Chain. Blurring the lines between fact and fiction, Jem Cohen makes a pointed critique of the way global corporate culture has homogenized local lives and the built physical environments. The film juxtaposes two protagonists that appear to be different, but are inherently interconnected. The first is a Japanese business woman, Tamiko who is sent on a long business trip by the corporate headquarters to research opportunities for commercial property development and theme park concepts. She drifts from one generic city to the next, only to be met by an unexpected outcome in her personal situation. The second is a young unemployed American girl, Amanda who lives next to a mall and makes poetic video letters that never gets sent to the intended recipients. The film illuminates the necessity for change and action in the current trend towards monolithic effects that erases all local and individual differences.

Sunday 18 June 2006
19:00 Alexander Kluge: The Artist in the Circus Dome: Clueless. West Germany 1968, 99 min.
Leni Peickert is the daughter of a trapeze artist who died in the manege. She wants to start her own circus company and radically change the idea of the circus itself. One needs money to do that, so Leni takes out a loan and buys elephants. The audience is puzzled about Leni’s intentions. As an entrepreneur Leni has failed. But then Leni’s rich friend Gitti dies. As the sole inheritor Leni suddenly has all the funds to realize the “reform circus“. During the preparation of the program it becomes apparent that neither time nor Leni’s co-workers seem to be sufficient enough for making her big plans a reality. “The utopia is becoming better and better while we are waiting for it.“, says Leni. She stops the experiment and moves on to a TV job. The film is a political parable: It reflects on the role of the artist and the virtues and limitations of cultural production in a capitalist society.

21:30 Guy Debord: The Society of the Spectacle. France 1973, 88 min.
This is Guy Debord’s film adaptation of his own book from 1967. As a key figure in the Situationist International, a group that was the catalysis for the May 1968 revolt in France, Debord presents a consistent critique of the global system. As filmic strategy, Debord takes on the Brechtian notion of shirking meta-narratives with identifiable hero and plot for the passive consumption, encouraging instead for the viewers to think and act for themselves. Using the tactic of détournement, where the diversion of already existing cultural components are remanipulated to new subversive purposes, he makes a lucid critique of the existing system and points out inherent strictures and contradictions of the society we live in. In the film, seemingly incongruous contrasts are made, with clips from Russian and Hollywood features, as well as TV commercials, softcore porn, street scenes, news and documentary footage are spliced together as a voice over reads passages from Debord’s book. Intertitle quotes from Marx, Machiavelli, Clausewitz and Tocqueville further interrupt the visual flow.



ÅMX Reading group participants : Övül Durmusoglu, Gösta Nidren, Katarina Nitsch, Suzanne Russell, Piia Salmi.

The Århus Malmö Exchange Programme 2006 is initiated by Ditte Lyngkaer Pedersen, Jee-Eun Kim and Christian Schult, in association with C-SAM center for samtidskunst and rum46 in Århus, and Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art and Signal in Malmö.