Unraveling Collective Forms: Films by Arshia Haq, Jeannette Ehlers, Sky Hopinka, and Cecilia Vicuña

$10 general; $6 students (with ID)/seniors; free for Filmforum and LACE Members.    |  Apr 28, 2019  |  7:30PM - 9:45PM
Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian

Los Angeles Filmforum and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions present

Unraveling Collective Forms: Films by Arshia Haq, Jeannette Ehlers, Sky Hopinka, and Cecilia Vicuña
Sunday, April 28, 2019
, 7:30 pm

At the Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028

Filmmaker Jeannette Ehlers, and exhibition curator Daniela Lieja Quintanar in person!


In conjunction with the exhibition Unraveling Collective Forms at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), Filmforum co-presents digital films by artists Cecilia Vicuña, Jeannette Ehlers, Arshia Haq and Sky Hopinka whose works are on display in the show.


The artists approach processes of cultural erasure through visual strategies that document fainting, magnifying the details to revive a death ocean, myths, languages and people’s histories. The diverse strategies that Vicuña, Ehlers, Haq and Hopinka weave on the films are spiritual and rebellious, outside and against Western Aesthetics.


Pre-screening reception at LACE, 6522 Hollywood Blvd., from 5:30pm to 6:30pm, just two blocks away from the Egyptian Theater.


The exhibition Unraveling Collective Forms runs from April 3 – May 26, 2019, curated by Daniela Lieja Quintanar.  For more, see https://welcometolace.org/event/unravelling-collective-forms/


Tickets: $10 general; $6 students (with ID)/seniors; free for Filmforum and LACE Members. Available in advance from Brown Paper Tickets at https://unraveling.bpt.me or at the door.


For more information: www.lafilmforum.org or 323-377-7238.


Jeannette Ehlers is a video, photo and performance artist based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Experimental imagery characterizes her multi disciplinary work and for years she has created artwork that engages with resistance towards coloniality. On these changeable terms, meaning and identity are explored in both a sophisticated and immediate way. Jeannette Ehlers’s performative and cinematic universes delve into ethnicity and identity inspired by her own Danish and Caribbean background. Her pieces revolve around big questions and difficult issues, such as Denmark's role as a slave nation—a part of the Danish cultural heritage, which often gets overlooked in the general historiography.  http://www.jeannetteehlers.dk/


Daniela Lieja Quinatar (Mexico City, 1984) is a curator at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) and works between Los Angeles and Mexico, emphasizing contemporary art and curatorial practices that explore the politics and social issues of everyday life.  She is part of the curatorial team of MexiCali Biennial 2018-19, and was recently awarded the Warhol Foundation Curatorial Research Fellowship.




(Re)collections, by Arshia Haq

USA, 2005. color, sound, 19:23 min

A film about the intersections of personal and historical memory, collecting and archives, and the death of a language.  https://arshiahaq.com


Black Magic at the White House, by Jeannette Ehlers

Denmark, 2009, color, sound, 3:36 min 

Music: Fanamfe af / by Francis Ko Aziat; Camera: Nikolaj Recke; Special effects: Dj Design

BLACK MAGIC AT THE WHITE HOUSE revolves around Marienborg, a country seat at Sorgenfri north of Copenhagen, today serving as the official residence of the Danish Prime Minister. Marienborg was originally built in the 18th century as a summer residence by Olfert Fas Fischer, naval officer and director of the large trading company Asiatisk Kompagni.

BLACK MAGIC AT THE WHITE HOUSE ties Marienborg’s present function as the place from which the Prime Minister’s New Year’s speech is transmitted and international heads of state are received to its less known past. Over the years, some of its owners possessed fortunes than can partly be attributed to the running of plantations in the Danish West Indies, and enslaved Africans are believed to have lived at Marienborg for a while.

In the video, Jeannette Ehlers dances like a ghost through the grand halls of Marienborg. She wiggles, kisses the floor and performs a so-called vévé – a vodou ritual in which the priest draws certain patterns on the ground in the hope of invoking the gods of health, reconciliation, and protection against evil spirits.

The title of this work may even induce one to think of another famous white house, one in which a seemingly almost magical political change took place at the time when Ehlers was creating her work as America’s first black president was elected. In that sense BLACK MAGIC AT THE WHITE HOUSE may well address the expulsion of past sins while also taking on current obsessions, conceptions, and representations.


Fainting Spells, by Sky Hopinka

USA, 2018, color, sound, 10:45 min.

Los Angeles premiere!

Told through recollections of youth, learning, lore, and departure, this is an imagined myth for the Xąwįska, or the Indian Pipe Plant - used by the Ho-Chunk to revive those who have fainted.  http://www.skyhopinka.com


Kon Kon, by Cecilia Vicuña

Chile, 2010, SD video, color, sound, 54 min.

Los Angeles premiere!

In this documentary poem, Cecilia Vicuña returns to Con Con, the birthplace of her art in Chile, where the sea is dying and an ancient tradition is being destroyed.

            Con Con is located at the mouth of the Aconcagua River whose source is the glacier of Aconcagua, the tallest mountain the Western Hemisphere.  Named for the oldest deity of the Andes, the god Kon, it may have been a sacred oracle site for millennia, associated with the most renowned oracle site in the Americas: Pachacamac, located on the coast of Peru.

            The word Con (Kon) alludes to the sanctity of the cycle of water – from glacier to ocean to cloud – a circularity intensified by the repetition: Con Con.  In the sacred Valle del Aconcagua, the “bailes chinos” created a powerful mystical sound: the “sonido rajado” (torn sound), a multiphonic music of the pre-Columbian Andres.  Based on dissonance, the “bailes chinos” are ritual dances dedicated to increasing the life-force.  Continuously performed throughout colonial times, the dance is now dying along with the sea.

            Exploring the forgotten meaning of the ancient names, the artist recovers an erased cultural memory.  In this hybrid work, part poem, part documentary, Cecilia Vicuña creates new bridges between the ancestral and the avant-garde.”  http://www.konkon.cl/

Cecilia Vicuña is a poet, artist, filmmaker and activist. Her work addresses pressing concerns of the modern world, including ecological destruction, human rights, and cultural homogenization. Born and raised in Santiago de Chile, she has been in exile since the early 1970s, after the military coup against elected president Salvador Allende. Vicuña began creating "precarious works" and  quipus in the mid 1960s in Chile, as a way of "hearing an ancient silence waiting to be heard." Her multi-dimensional works begin as a poem, an image that morphs into a film, a song, a sculpture, or a collective performance. These ephemeral, site-specific installations in nature, streets, and museums combine ritual and assemblage. She calls this impermanent, participatory work “lo precario” (the precarious): transformative acts that bridge the gap between art and life, the ancestral and the avant-garde. Her paintings of early 1970s de-colonized the art of the conquerors and the "saints" inherited from the Catholic Church, to create irreverent images of the heroes of the revolution.  http://www.ceciliavicuna.com


Los Angeles Filmforum screenings are supported by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles. We also depend on our members, ticket buyers, and individual donors.

Los Angeles Filmforum is the city’s longest-running organization dedicated to weekly screenings of experimental film, documentaries, video art, and experimental animation. 2019 is our 44th year.

Coming Soon to Los Angeles Filmforum:

May 2 - Los Angeles Filmforum at MOCA presents Kevin Jerome Everson, at MOCA Grand Avenue

May 5 - Kevin Jerome Everson: More New Films, at the Spielberg Theatre

May 19 – To Be Announced

May 25 – Tribute to Robert Todd, at the Echo Park Film Center

Memberships available, $70 single, $115 dual, or $50 single student

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