Beyond Intractability

During Copenhagen Art Week (23 August – 1 September) and the Smag Verden festival (31 August – 1 September) 68m2 Art Space will be showing three art films under the title Beyond Intractability. Larissa Sansour’s A Space Exodus, Søren Thilo Funder’s Disastrous Dialogues, and Katrine Dirckinch-Holmfeld’s Djisr – The Bridge together form a nuanced film programme which looks at current political situations in the Middle East. They focus on our ability to imagine a different perspective than the ‘newsworthy’ story we are presented with through the more one-sided gaze of the media. All three works carry a political message which invites individual and open reflection.

Larissa Sansour’s A Space Exodus evokes the artist’s fantastical journey though the universe, where Stanley Kubrick’s thematic concerns for human development, progress and technology provide the setting. In Sansour’s version the hypothesis of the first Palestinian in space is posited and, with a nod to Armstrong’s moon landing, interprets this theoretical gesture as “one small step for a Palestinian, one giant leap for mankind”. The film’s naïve hope and optimistic vision for a Palestinian future stands in sharp contrast to the facts which currently limit the idea of a viable Palestinian State. Sansour’s film can be seen as a political commentary as well as an autobiographical depiction of Sansour’s relationship with Palestine as a woman and as an individual.

Søren Thilo Funder’s Disastrous Dialogues in part borrows a dazzling and highly clichéd Hollywood universe, which stands in contrast to scenes set in abandoned buildings in Cairo. Here the Egyptian actors perform carefully chosen lines from the three movies Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and 2012 in a highly staged manner. In this artificial universe, which in no way tries to convince us of authentic insight into a real disaster, social problems nevertheless force their way through the fiction. Originally made in 2010, Funder’s film has gained renewed relevance due to the latest political crisis in Egypt. It evokes a modern dystopia, and reminds us of the contrasts between reality and fiction present in the unresolved conflicts brought out by the Arab Spring’s “speech act”.

Katrine Dirckinck-Holmfeld’s Djisr – The Bridge focuses on the Rahid Karame International Fair in Beirut, a fairground designated for arts and world culture, designed in 1963 by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. Due to the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War in 1975 the site was abandoned mid-construction. Thirty years later, it still stands half finished…

From 23 to 30 August the films will be shown in 68m2’s own premises from 12 noon – 5 pm, and as part of Smag Verden on Saturday 31 August from 12 – 8 pm and Sunday 1 September from 12 – 6 pm in the pavilion in front of Prismen on Prags Boulevard.

Curated by Iben Bach Elmstrøm and Christopher Sand-Iversen