Fabulous Festival of Fringe Film 2012

Swiss Shorts

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Friday, August 2, 9:00 pm, @ The Middle Dam

Programmed by White Frame (Stella Handler and Chantal Molleur)

Swiss Shorts
still from In Uteros - Barbara Naegelin

We are co-founding members of White Frame (www.whiteframe.ch), a Basel based association dedicated to the promotion of Swiss media artists. WF initiates and implements projects and facilitates exchanges between Swiss and international artists. We are delighted to curate this Swiss special focus for the Fabulous Festival of Fringe Film. The festival’s profile corresponds with our curatorial interests. One of the main aims of White Frame is to continue to place emphasis on single-channel works. Although a strong video and experimental film tradition exists in Switzerland, there are fewer opportunities to showcase works in this genre in interesting contexts. The art world and market prefer to show installation works, and experimental film and video art are generally viewed as marginal phenomena in the world of cinema.

Our Swiss program focuses on works that are unconventional, and that push the boundaries of form and content. Interesting, most of the selected films and videos are without dialogue. Three quarters of the creators of our program are German-speaking Swiss, and these artists and filmmakers are generally less inclined than their French-speaking colleagues to explore complexities in words.

For our Swiss Shorts Program we have tapped into video art and animation pools. In their performative and experimental forms, these videos focus on human existence and experiences, concerning themselves with everyday issues, problems, dilemmas, and wishes. The animation films are full of humor, often referencing love and politics. Their production techniques range from draw-on, cutouts, or computer-animation.

For the Swiss Docs afternoon program we are presenting the film Les Reines Prochaines – Thinking Alone is Criminal as a Canadian premiere. This feature length documentary portrays artists that have been practicing for 25 years, working in performance, music and visual arts. These women were, and are still, pioneers inspiring young artists. Preceding this documentary, we are showing the short film essay No Signs by emerging artist Muriel Kunz, a performative personal narrative about everyday insanity. The juxtaposition of these two films creates interesting links between two very different generations of women artists.

In addition to our “fabulous” two programs, we are presenting the video installation of Swiss artist Max Philipp Schmid The Ghost of Happiness.

In this work, a superb encounter between a man and a woman takes place, What begins as a perfect moment mimicking a Hollywood musical, the encounter fails to find that moment, and instead leaves a sense of melancholy to stand between the two protagonists. In this installation, Schmid splendidly manipulates the image and the sound to such a degree that he frees his protagonists of the impact of time.

The inclusion of this installation in our Swiss special highlights our intentions of bridging art and film from a two to three dimensional experience with The Ghost of Happiness. We are delighted to partner with the Durham art Gallery for the exhibit of Max Philipp Schmid’s work.

We salute the efforts of the team of the festival and its partners to showcase experimental film, video, and installation art to the Durham community and beyond. It is extremely important to sustain cultural initiatives outside the big city centers. In our work at White Frame we strive to create interesting curatorial contexts, and to link artists’ discourses, curators’ approaches, and their different audiences on local, national and international platforms. This invitation is another collaboration that relates directly to our interests and efforts. We look forward to this exchange!

--Stella Händler and Chantal Molleur

Swiss Shorts
still from Come on into the continents II -Christoph Oertli
Swiss Shorts
still from inside & outside - Edith Flückiger
Swiss Shorts
still from Ersatz - Elodie Pong
Swiss Shorts
still from Bon voyage - Fabio Friedli
Swiss Shorts
still from Not about us - Michael Frei
Swiss Shorts
still from Wolves - Rafael Sommerhalder
Swiss Shorts
still from Halbdicheiten / Splitsonalities - Ralph Kuhne
Swiss Shorts
still from In your room - Sonja Feldmeier
Swiss Shorts
still from Home Improvement - Susanne Hofer and Marianne Halter

In Uteros
(CH, 2007, 2 min.33s)
Barbara Naegelin
A woman pushing a shopping trolley through an underground garage - a place that most of us enter with mixed feelings — might catalyze a comprehension of the sensations and experience of an embryo in the womb. Barbara Naegelin combines realistic and dreamlike scenes in rapid succession. This video is part of a group of works in which Naegelin reflects upon her life as a woman and an artist.

Come on into the continents II
(CH/B, 2011, 6 min 45s)
Christoph Oertli
Second part of a trilogy that has been filmed in Egypt, Hong Kong and Belgium. On the former Hong Kong city airport, the camera is panning slowly in a circle. The runways were turned into bus parking. The city is spreading out and little by little taking over. High rising buildings are about to be constructed all around. A few men and objects share this still remote area in silence.

inside & outside
(CH, 2005/2010, 5 min.)
Edith Flückiger
The world turns – and we turn with it. This narration of moving typography reminds us that at a height of 10,000 meters, such thoughts can easily push you off course.

(CH/FR, 2011, 3 min 10s.)
Elodie Pong
In an exchange around the meaning of the word “Ersatz” “replacement”, the film's protagonists engage in an absurd and poetical discussion, revealing the basic existential condition of feeling oneself to be a simulacrum. Their pictorial dialogue about the idea of replaceability turns into a humorous and philosophical meditation.

Bon voyage
(CH, 2011,6 min 13s.)
Fabio Friedli
There is no single place left on the truck, which should bring the emigrants to a better place. They travel through the desert towards the beach and then with a little unsafe boat to Europe. What follows after?

Black Milk
(CH, 2002, 4 min 45s.)
Max Philipp Schmid
Black Milk by Max Philipp Schmid and Beat Brogle is formally refined and artistically concise. Schmid and Brogle produced the music video to the song “Black Milk” (Knut & Silvy) and responded with harsh visuals, to the musical rhythms played by Silvy.

Not about us
(CH, 2011, 3 min 37s)
Michael Frei
Pared down, wordless and whimsical: 'Not About Us' is a symbolic staging of the complex dance of rapprochement between a man and a woman. A mechanical ballet flitting between black and white, light and dark and countless mirroring motions - until at last contact is made and a relationship develops.

(UK/CH, 2009, 5 min 56s)
Rafael Sommerhalder
A howling wolf, an embarrassing incident and a missed opportunity. Love is made of courage.

Halbdicheiten / Splitsonalities
(CH, 2007, 2 min 20s)
Ralph Kuhne
Half poems are lyrical essays, rough and direct but not without claiming to be rather poetic from time to time. Half poems are not limited to a single medium, on the contrary, any medium can be used to express their meaning. Half poems are on the verge of madness and may even make you faint. Half poems aren’t unhealthy – hypothetically speaking…

In your room
(CH, 2008, 4 min 11s)
Sonja Feldmeier
In the video you see a woman with a drum set under her burqa. She plays her instruments reaching dramatic heights despite the voluminous folds of material in which she is enveloped. She begins with filigree rhythms that gradually swell into ear piercing and almost enraged but precise drumming.

Home Improvement
(CH, 2004, 6 min 15s)
Susanne Hofer and Marianne Halter
On the basis of every-day situations, we show how easy it is to trigger absurd catastrophes. Two women living on a stereotypically suburban housing estate make use of various labour-saving materials and devices. These spontaneously mutate and threaten their revered small-town idyll.

CH = Switzerland, B = Belgium, UK = United Kingdom, F=France