Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years, 2012
May Days Long Forgotten, 2003–2004
May Days Long Forgotten, 2003–2004
The Madding Crowd, 2013
The Madding Crowd, 2013
People Of a Darker Hue, 2016
People Of a Darker Hue, 2016
Ode to My Father, 2003–2004
Ode to My Father, 2003–2004

In the context of the exhibition Carrie Mae Weems. The Evidence of Things Not the Württembergischer Kunstverein presents a series of screening sessions taking place once a month, where both exhibited and non-exhibited video works by Weems will be shown. The screenings will be followed by an open discussion where the participants are invited to engage in a deeper exchange about issues addressed and artistic means employed in the works.

Disclaimer: Racial violence is shown in some of the works on display.
Free admission, donations wellcome.

Wednesday, June 15, 7 pm

Selected and moderated by Yara Richter

Audre Lorde - The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992, 2012, 79'

On our third evening of film, we will show the 2012 film "Audre Lorde - The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992" by Dagmar Schultz. Audre Lorde, the influential, award-winning African-American lesbian poet lived and taught in West Berlin in the 1980s. During her stay as a visiting professor, she became a crucial mentor and initiator of the Afro-German movement. The film uses video and audio recordings from various archival sources, poetry and prose recited by Lorde, photographs, and interviews with contemporaries to convey Lorde's contributions to German discourse on racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, class oppression, and homophobia.In the discussion that follows, we share ways in which activist:s can network interculturally. We discuss similarities, differences, and lessons that emerge between anti-racist activism in different regions of the globe. We embed this in the postcolonial-transatlantic context of Weems' work.

The film will be shown in English with German subtitles. The discussion will be in English.

Synopsis of the film:

Audre Lorde, the highly influential, award winning African-American lesbian poet came to live in West-Berlin in the 1980s. During her stay as a visiting professor, she was the crucial mentor and catalyst who ignited the Afro-German movement. Showing video- and audio recordings from different archival sources, poems and prose recited by Lorde, photos and interviews with contemporaries, the film conveys Lorde’s contributions to German discourses on racism, xenophobia, antisemitism, classism and homophobia.




(Alphabetical order)

Comedy, 2016
The video work "Comedy" is based on Weems' 1987-88 photo series "Ain't Joking," which explores racist jokes. In the video, Weems is the joke teller, whom we hear off-screen, while the image shows the animated silhouettes of two 19th century-style women. Due to her permanent excessive laughing fits, which mainly testify to the horror of what is being said, she barely finishes the punchlines. Weems confronts the viewer with this horror, which is hard to bear.

May Days Long Forgotten, 2003–2004
Video, color, sound, 7:50'

The video shows the slow-motion recording of two African American girls dancing around a maypole against the backdrop of a blue sky with white clouds. Through their constant circling their contours dissolve again and again. At the same time they keep their eyes firmly fixed on the viewers.

The Madding Crowd, 2013
Video, black and white and color, sound, 7:35'

The video The Madding Crowd is a dense assemblage of audio and visual found-footage fragments carried by the music of Gregory Wanamaker. The recordings are from the milieu of the Civil Rights Movements of the 1960s in the U.S. and of white groups opposed to the emancipation and equal rights of African Americans. The voices include James Baldwin, Malcolm X, Dorothy Height, Shirley Chisholm, William F. Buckley, Sidney Poitier, Charlton Heston, Fannie Lou Hamer,
Marlon Brando, Harry Belafonte, and many more.

Meaning and Landscape, 2003-2004
Meaning and Landscape is an excerpt from Weems' video work Coming Up For Air from 2002-05. Alongside found footage material, this work features silhouettes reminiscent of the silhouette technique. Underpinned by the piano piece "In a Landscape" (2009) by Rossella Spinosa, the work places royalty and gestures of domination in tension with servanthood and slavery, negotiated through dance, as well as acts of sexual domination and submissiveness. There is always the question of what happens behind the scenes and in private. In this way, Weems also raises questions about representation and historically charged power relations.

People Of a Darker Hue, 2016
Video, black and white and color, sound, 14:52'

In several photographic and video works, Weems addresses the recent structural police violence against African Americans, which gave rise to the Black Lives Matter Movement in the U.S. in 2013. In the video People Of a Darker Hue, based on the performance Grace Notes: Reflections for Now, motifs of flight, mourning, commemoration, and protest are woven together into a poetic manifesto against forgetting.

Ode to My Father, 2003–2004
Video, black and white, sound, 6:36'

Ode to My Father draws on the tradition of the jazz funeral in New Orleans, especially the ritual of the so-called second line, the
back rows of the public procession, in which invited and spontaneous participants follow the relatives and the brass band, while dancing, spinning parasols, and waving handkerchiefs. From the music to the movements of the crowd, this tradition interweaves lament with euphoria, melancholy with ecstasy, and life with death. It makes grief into something that can be shared.

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Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart