Coming Together in Parts
Located in the media room on the lower level of Museum Brandhorst, the film program “Coming Together in Parts” responds to and extends the themes of the exhibition “Future Bodies from a Recent Past—Sculpture, Technology, and the Body since the 1950s”—in terms of media, time, and content. "Coming Together in Parts" presents video works by artists who deal with the interaction of bodies and technologies as well as alternative narratives of the future. The film program takes place in two chapters.
Chapter I: Carriers | June 2 – September 4, 2022
Jill Magid, Sondra Perry, Jeamin Cha
Chapter II: Hijack the Future | September 6, 2022 – January 8, 2023
Sophia Al-Maria, Masha Godovannaya, Yong Xiang Li
Curated by Franziska Linhardt
Chapter I: Carriers
The first chapter addresses bodies as carriers of meaning and how artists engage with the representations of bodies in digital and technological environments. The video works on display, by Jill Magid, Sondra Perry, and Jeamin Cha, examine different forms of alienation between subjects and their images, as well as their relationships to organizations and institutional structures.
Jeamin Cha, Nameless Syndrome, 2022
In five chapters, Jeamin Cha’s essay film “Nameless Syndrome” (2022) follows the undiagnosable illnesses of women. In doing so, she addresses the constant reduction of the self through its digital images and data, but also through institutions and social systems. Investigative tools such as medical imaging fail to capture the nature of contemporary bodily ailments due to their symptomatic and political complexity. By overlaying image, sound, and quoted excerpts of text, Cha questions the empirical truths claimed by science and medicine.
Jill Magid, Lobby 7, 1999
Jill Magid’s “Lobby 7” (1999) documents a performance that took place in the lobby of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The artist hijacked the information screen and interrupted its program with her own transmission: using a miniature camera underneath her clothes, she explored her body in real time and filmed the reactions of passersby. Magid confronts surveillance mechanisms and control with voyeurism, personal intimacy, and desire.
Sondra Perry, It’s in the Game ’17, 2017
Sondra Perry’s “IT’S IN THE GAME ’17” (2017) revolves around a digital, but real theft. The image of the artist’s twin brother—a professional basketball player—was used for an avatar in a video game without his consent and without compensation. Perry compares this to the way major museums have built their collections on looted art from colonial contexts. Between the private and the public, the real and the virtual, the original and the copy, the work raises questions about authorship, identity, and cultural justice.
Chapter II: Hijack the Future
The second chapter takes us through various seemingly post-apocalyptic times in which non-human actors—a desert, a dog, and a vampire—each play a leading role. The cinematic narratives of Sophia Al-Maria, Masha Godovannaya and Yong Xiang Li thwart not only our notions of time, but also traditional stories and myths. They open up alternative and more-than-human perspectives on our togetherness and antagonism on this planet—between companionship, dependency and exploitation.
Sophia Al-Maria, The Future was Desert Part 1, 2016
In Sophia Al-Maria’s “The Future was Desert Part 1” (2016), the desert is both time machine and setting for a posthuman dystopia. Rapidly edited shots of delirious dreamscapes are accompanied by a robotic voice narrating a history of humans’ destruction of the Earth. The video traverses geological times, allowing both the planetary and human past and future to collapse. By these means, Al-Maria also addresses the tensions of the complex geopolitical situation in the Persian Gulf, where natural resources such as oil are considered to be crucial for the future.
Masha Godovannaya, Laika. The Last Flight, 2017
Masha Godovannaya’s “Laika. The Last Flight” (2017) is about a street dog called Laika, the first living being to be sent successfully into the Earth’s orbit. She was one of the many Soviet space dogs who paid with their lives in the service of space exploration. Montages and manipulations of found footage films from the 1950s, as well as a voice-over, a fictional letter from Laika herself, shift the heroic narrative of the first cosmonaut. They introduce the dog as both subject and actor, negotiating her perspective in an age of space travel defined by ambivalent ideologies and humans’ pursuit of power.
Yong Xiang Li, I’m Not in Love (How to Feed on Humans), 2020
Yong Xiang Li’s “I’m Not in Love (How to Feed on Humans)” (2020) is a combination of narrative film, romantic comedy, and music video. Through collaborative approaches and the freedom of DIY and low-budget production, it dusts off the negative lore of vampirism: Vampy—a 386-year-old vampire—strolls through the city in broad daylight. Instead of bloodthirsty transformation, his bite promises pleasure and long life. In Vampy’s symbiotic and polyamorous companionship with his three human lovers, the work questions the mechanisms of becoming monster and notions of love in a present characterized by hegemonies and dependencies.