2023-2024 COOP study group ~ Curating Positions: Stream of consciousness: between collective filmmaking and anarchist thought
Student led reflection:
Introduction to the program:
Anastasia's Rule #33
Rules exist to be broken
Protest against the movie, Make a movie, Prove that it's not a movie
Turn the music volume up
Crack the ice
Be in a disorder
The film will move with you all
During the year we were constantly coming back to the question of collective work, collective [film] asking ourselves: what does it mean collective [film]?(…) We were trying to answer this question in front and behind the camera seeking to break the hierarchies of filmmaking roles, migrating from filming to script, from discussions to group exercises, from dancing to dubbing, from drawing to walking, back and forward, (…) stretching the continuity of our film.
Evergreening the Cut, Anastasia Nefedova, Claudia Medeiros, Daniël van der Giessen, Gabriel Acevedo, Ian Nolan, Saverio Cantoni, Savva Dudin, Till Langschied, Tomer Fruchter, Weronika Zalewska.
(…) In its essence direct action is the insistence, when faced with structures of unjust authority, on acting as if one is already free – (…) It should be easy enough to see why anarchists have always been drawn to the idea of direct action. Anarchists reject states and all those systematic forms of inequality states make possible. They do not seek to pressure the government to institute reforms. Neither do they seek to seize state power for themselves. Rather, they wish to destroy that power, using means that are—so far as possible—consistent with their ends, that embody them. They wish to “build a new society in the shell of the old.” (…) Insofar as one is capable, one proceeds as if the state does not exist.
Direct Action, An Ethnography, David Graeber.
In light of the genocidal war on Gaza and the fascist turn that the world is taking, this year’s Curating Positions Study Group will concentrate on the search for filmic forms that will help us develop a collective political stance. At a moment when the voice of popular movements on the left contrasts immensely with the silence of major cultural institutions, we reckon that there needs to be an in-depth reflection on the role of these institutions that claim progressive ideas. This leads us to ask; what kind of structures are required to confront such moments of despair and growing violence? How can we build, in an economically viable manner, our own politically autonomous operating structures? What can we learn from the history of militant films and militant art to help us challenge social stagnation? How can we produce images that enlarge our political horizons? Can past militant cinema in its various forms, documentary, essayistic, science fiction, cinema verité offer us strategies for facing that which is repressed, that which is no longer possible to represent, that which reappears in such moments in history and disturb our optics? We will embrace the moment that opens the possibility for radical revolutionary proposals and changes.
We believe that art education is a space in which a real critique of the current art system and its economies can be developed. In the past 6 years, our COOP has committed itself to study the cinematic apparatus and reflected on political approaches to filmmaking coming from different traditions and practices. We will continue doing so while putting this knowledge at the service of a radical rethinking of our current moment.
The return of the repressed and the specter of anti-colonial struggles with Palestine at its center will be our compass. This year’s Curating Positions COOP will focus on what appears to us through the many loud symptoms of the present, but also that which is unconsciously processed and impossible to speak about. Stream of consciousness is one methodological tool to talk about what we have been prohibited to say or normalized; that is oppression. We would like to dedicate our time together, to learning ways of articulating and exchanging/sharing knowledge, as well as finding ways to speak under the present conditions. The Study Group Stream of consciousness: between collective filmmaking and anarchist thought shall open a field of possibilities, and find ways to keep active, articulate and connected.
Drawing on anarchist methodologies this year’s COOP will also continue to look at collective structures for filmmaking while taking inspiration in a history of collective film production that is embedded in European avant-garde cinema as well as in anti-colonial and decolonial struggles, internationalist feminist movements and workers’ struggles. We will continue to engage with these histories in order to look at the possibility of producing our own collective structure that will allow film to happen. This move will aim at reorganizing our work relations, challenge authorship and help us to put into practice collective filmmaking and anarchist thought.
We will draw our references from filmic manifestos as well as anarchist texts and practices, science fiction and worldbuilding literature as well as other grassroot DIY organizations that are invested in ecological struggles, queer and feminist organizing, labor syndicalism and land rights, we will try to come up with our ideal and materially feasible structure that would permit us to produce throughout the year different filmic forms, whether discursive, intimate, didactic, educational, aesthetic (formal) or activist in a direct political sense.
Novels by writers such as Clarice Lispector and Octavia Butler will guide our writing exercises. Through collective writing exercises we will try to delve into a stream of words that will define the form of what we will do together.
Moreover, our COOP will plan along other COOPS a film screening and discussion every DAI-Confluence as part of the Palestine solidarity assembly initiative by the HTDTWT tutors.