Dis-economy of Life

Cinema Suitcase
July 16th - 21st, 2007


Following a set of exhibitions and film projections held throughout the period 2006-2007 in Croatia (Zagreb, Osijek, Rijeka, Pula, Križevci), Macedonia (Skopje), Hungary (Budapest), Bulgaria (Sofia), Romania (Bucharest), Slovenia (Ljubljana) and Italy (Venice), the travelling media project entitled DIS-ECONOMY OF LIFE (by an international film collective Cinema Suitcase from Amsterdam) will be presented in Belgrade, July 2007.  The Exhibition “DIS-ECONOMY OF LIFE” deals with the aesthetic dimensions of the social experience of migration and presents three segments of video-production by the documentary film collective Cinema Suitcase from Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

The 4-screen video installation Nothing is Missing attends to the people never talked about, all but invisible, who most poignantly suffer the loss of the departure of migrants from their communities: the mothers. A colony is a tale of a lost system of production, of colonization and hierarchy and the politics surrounding the work of individuals whose lives became entwined in a global vision. The film opens but does not answer the question so crucial to the contemporary world: is the overcoming of colonialism ever able to avoid neo-colonialism? The film is political in its critical presentation of both past ideals and contemporary alternatives. Two films, made by the collective, explore the impact of the current repressive politics of migration on individual lives (Mille et un jours; Access Denied). While the former film is an experimental narrative that balances classical form with Arabic tradition, and a joyful present with recent and past trauma, the latter film also questions the ways this political climate affects the possibility to make art.

Cinema Suitcase is an international group of filmmakers pursuing projects of experimental social documentary. Coming from a diversity of fields in the visual arts, they seek to facilitate the self-narration of their subjects, always encountered based on great intimacy, rather than constructing their stories for them. This approach enhances the performative quality of filmmaking as a collective process. The group consists of (in alphabetic order): Mieke Bal, Zen Marie, Thomas Sykora, Gary Ward, Michelle Williams. Coming from various areas of visual art, they explore the self-directed protagonists of their films, through a focus on intimacy with character, rather than building a story about their lives. This approach highlights the performative quality of film making as a collective process. The production of the Cinema Suitcase collection is led by Mieke Bal, Professor of Literary Theory of the University of Amsterdam, a member of the Dutch Royal Academy of Science and Art, a theoretician of culture, the founder of the Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis, Theory, and Interpretation (ASCA). Less known as a video artist, Mieke Bal is primarily one of the most important living theoreticians of culture, among which many publications stand out: “Traveling Concepts in the Humanities: A Rough Guide” (University of Toronto Press, 2002) and “Narratology: Introduction to the Theory of Narrative “(University of Toronto Press, 1997). Her latest venture is “A Mieke Bal Reader” recently published by the University of Chicago Press (May 2006).

Curator: Marko Stamenković