Digital Art exhibitions, Events, and Performance and Film programmes at this year’s Sheffield Doc/Fest includes works created by artist-filmmakers, photographers, cinematographers, and creative multi-disciplinaires.
Contemporary digital arts programme Alternate Realities, supported by Arts Council England, showcases powerful interactive narratives and immersive experiences and installations which challenge preconceptions of the documentary form and proposes a new way of seeing and experiencing non-fiction stories. Featuring two free exhibitions, Subconscious Sensibilities at Site Gallery, and Converging Sensibilities in the VR Cinema at Sheffield Hallam’s Performance Lab plus a pop-up igloo on Site Square, the exhibitions include works by Barnaby Frances (aka Bill Posters) and Dr Daniel Howe, Tea Uglow, Tamara Shogaolu and Kelsey Boncato, while keynote speakers at the Alternate Realities Summit feature bio artist Charlotte Jarvis.
Events and performances highlights include artists Kazim Rashid & Lotte Andersen’s curated event The Lovers Table (Part 1), commissioned by Sheffield Doc/Fest, offering a metaphoric ‘meal’ of video, images and conversations exchanged in front of a live audience by guests featuring photographer Giles Duley, filmmaker Ayo Akingbade (whose Street 66 had its UK premiere at Doc/Fest 2018) and Kayus Bankole (Young Fathers), amongst others. Doc/Fest Exchange will also feature a conversation with the Sheffield Doc/Fest Grand Jury Award juror, Turner prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller.
The Film programme, which includes the Art Award (supported MUBI) and the Doc/Vision strand, features premieres from Ai Weiwei, photographers Seamus Murphy and Edward Burtynsky, artist-filmmakers Zia Anger, Aaron Zeghers, Kevin Jerome Everson and Jenn Nkiru, as well as archive screenings of artists Babette Mangolte and Deborah Stratman curated by Machine That Kills Bad People (Erika Balsom, Beatrice Gibson, Maria Palacios Cruz and Ben Rivers), James Lee Byars, a spotlight on David Hockney in newly restored version of A Bigger Splash (1974), and Toshio Matsumoto’s seminal shorts accompanied by Bo Ningen live.
Please find full details of projects and screening dates below.
Alternate Realities Programme
Subconscious Sensibilities Exhibition
6-11 June / Site Gallery
Group exhibition of multidisciplinary artworks, highlights including:
Spectre (in competition: Best Digital Experience Award; First Worldwide Exhibtion; Installation, UK-Hong Kong, 2019, 6 min, creators Barnaby Francis (aka Bill Posters), Dr Daniel Howe) - a cautionary tale of computational propaganda, technology and democracy, curated by an algorithm and powered by personal data.
Another Dream (in competition: Best Digital Experience Award; First International Exhibition, Virtual Reality Installation, Egypt-Netherlands-Norway-USA, 2019, 25 min, creator Tamara Shogaolu) - How do you rebuild a life when you know you can never go home? The gripping story of an Egyptian lesbian couple who, facing a post revolution backlash against their community, must choose between love and home.
Apparatum (First UK Exhibition; Audio Installation, Poland, 2018, 5 min, creators Krzysztof Cybulski, Krzysztof Goliński, Jakub Koźniewski) - Inspired by the Polish Radio Experimental Studio, this installation employs analogue sound generators, based on magnetic tape and optical components to create a unique score for visitors who play with its digital interface.
Echo (in competition: Best Digital Experience Award; First UK Exhibition; Australia, 2018, 4 min, creator Georgie Pinn) - An interactive installation that acts like a virtual mirror, a bridge to another person's memory, identity and intimate experience, the key intention of the work is to
Forest (in competition: Best Digital Experience Award; First European Exhibition; Virtual Reality Installation, USA, 2019, 8 min, creators Kelsey Boncato, Daniel Oldham) - A meditative experience in a hand-drawn landscape of ancient bristlecone pine trees, sculpted organic matter and transmuted earthy-electro music.
Converging Sensibilities Exhibition
6-11 June / Sheffield Hallam University Performance Lab
A curated selection of 360º projects presented as a collaborative experience, highlighting racial injustices, sexuality and modernism; highlights including:
Bauhaus in Bavaria (First UK Exhibition; 360° Video, Germany-USA, 2019, 11 min, creators Andrea Zimmermann, Stefan Goeppel) - Journey back in time and discover the Rosenthal factory buildings in Bavaria, Germany – the last architectural masterpieces of the Bauhaus icon, Walter Gropius.
9 June / Netflix Crucible Studio
A day-long event of provocative and artistic debate, with talks, presentations, panel discussions and performances from the world’s leading immersive and interactive storytellers. This year it will focus on the colonialism of the connected world, examine the evolution of query-based narrative and encourage an awakening in relation to personal data and unconscious bias. Keynote speakers include:
Charlotte Jarvis Over the past six years artist Charlotte Jarvis has been working on a series of pieces collectively titled Corpus, which aim to find alternative spaces of discourse for the human body in this new context. In the third part of Corpus she is collaborating with Prof Susana Chuva de Sousal Lopes in Leiden and Kapelica Gallery / Kersnikova Institute in Ljubljana to place her body at the intersection of gender. The piece is called In Posse and Charlotte is attempting to make semen from her (“female”) cells. The first version of this seminal plasma was created during a performance at Kapelica Gallery on May 7th 2019 using the blood of a coven 13 women. This proto-semen was then exhibited at the Venice biennale for the opening of the Alive in the Universe space on May 9th. Charlotte will be presenting the project at Sheffield Doc Fest in June and then exhibiting the piece during the autumn and winter at multiple venues including the City of Women festival in Ljubljana, Kontejner in Zagreb, The BAD exhibition at MU Eindhoven and the Art's Work in the Age of Biotechnology exhibition at the Gregg Museum in North Carolina.
Events & Performance:
Kazim Rashid & Lotte Andersen Present: The Lovers Table (Part 1) (World premiere)
8 June / 2.00pm / Crucible Theatre
Conceived by artist Lotte Andersen and director Kazim Rashid, the video conference invites an interdisciplinary group of thinkers to present an aspect of their practice, be it video, sound or visual sketch. In this instance work will be shared by Giles Duley, Ayo Akingbade, Sean Frank, Bafic, Ondine Viñao and Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers. Rashid and Andersen will additionally premier new projects.
8 June / 10.00pm / Hope Works
Part 2, The Lovers Party hosted by Andersen and Rashid at Sheffield’s legendary Hope Works, in partnership with Boiler Room’s film platform, 4:3. Join Kazim Rashid and Lotte Andersen in celebration of love and resistance, featuring Lil C / Fauzia & Manara, hosted by Miss Jackson.
My First Film (USA, 2018, 75 min, dir. Zia Anger)
7 June / 7.00pm / Oatly Showroom Cinema 2
Zia Anger screens her lost and abandoned works, with live commentary that details the making of, rejections, and lessons that made her the artist and filmmaker she is today. The performance takes place in a movie theater. On the screen is a projection of a laptop screen. Zia sits in the audience, on her laptop, and communicates with the audience exclusively via typing in the Text- Edit application.
9 June / 3.30 pm / Crucible Theatre
Three films from masters of the surreal and avant-garde in 1920s Paris, ‘Live Cinéma’, explores seminal works by Man Ray, René Clair and Fernand Léger with music by Erik Satie and two new scores by Olivier award-winning composer Terry Davies. These scores include the world premiere of Ballet Mécanique and will be performed live by Modulus Quartet and Charlie Pyne Quartet in a new collaboration between string and jazz ensembles.
Film Programme - Highlights:
A Bigger Splash (European premiere of 4K restoration; UK, 1974, 106 min, dir. Jack Hazan) -When David Hockney's beautiful lover, Peter Schlesinger, breaks up with him, it leaves David a complete emotional wreck. This unique docudrama presents a semi-fictionalised account of the story behind A Bigger Splash. Director Jack Hazan will attend the screening for a Q&A.
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch (in competition International Award; Canada, 2018, 87 min, dir. Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier, Edward Burtynsky) - This visually stunning documentary traverses the globe showing the devastating impact of our lives on Earth. Part of the Anthropocene Project and four years in the making, it is the third instalment in a trilogy that includes Manufactured Landscapes (2006) and Watermark (2013), from the multiple-award winning team of Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and photographer Edward Burtynsky.
The Rest (UK premiere; China 2018, 78 min; Ai Weiwei) - A film about refugees who fled war and persecution and arrived in Europe, the world’s bastion of human rights, yet have not found the safe havens of their dreams. Instead, they now live in limbo within a disintegrating humanitarian aid system, no longer the centre of media attention. The film is a mirror of the European political zeitgeist, demonstrating how pan-European values of liberalism and democracy have largely failed in practice. This Spotlight screening will be followed by an extended conversation with artist Ai Weiwei.
A Dog Called Money (in competition Grand Jury Award; Ireland-UK, 2019, 90 min, dir. Seamus Murphy) - Award-winning photographer Seamus Murphy has made a film that investigates the creative process behind his project with PJ Harvey. While tracing the sources of songs and detailing the journey of their birth, he brings to life the people and places at their very heart.
BLACK TO TECHNO (in competition Short Award; UK-USA, 2018, 21 min, dir. Jenn Nkiru) - Through intersecting narratives, conceptual frameworks, archive and original imagery, BLACK TO TECHNO asserts that Techno is not just a musical gesture but a philosophical, sonic and anthropological model for overcoming of alienation. Jenn Nkiru talks Film, Art & Cosmic Archaeology on 9 June.
Earth (in competition International Award; Austria, 2019, 115 min, dir. Nikolaus Geyrhalter) - Several billion tons of earth are moved annually by humans — with shovels, excavators or dynamite. Nikolaus Geyrhalter observes people, in mines, quarries and at large construction sites, engaged in a constant struggle to take possession of the planet.
James Lee Byars: World Question Centre (Belgium, 1969, 63 min, dir. Jef Cornelis) A special presentation celebrating the 50th Anniversary of James Lee Byars' social experiment, performed and broadcast live on Belgian television in 1969. In this societal litmus test Byars assembles heterogeneous ensemble of intellectuals in a circle, including Marcel Broodthaers, John Cage, writer Simon Vinkenoog, doctor Robert Jungk and Knesset member Uri Avnery, to ask "what is significant today"?
The Machine That Kills Bad People: The Sky On Location (USA, 1982, 77 min, dir. Babette Mangolte) - With the photographs of Ansel Adams, this 16mm film attempts to construct a geography of the land through colours instead of maps, capturing the mood of the landscape as in a Turner painting.
Lemebel (Chile, 2019, 96 min, dir. Joanna Reposi Garibaldi) - An intimate and political portrait of Pedro Lemebel, artist, writer and Chilean activist who became a Queer Latin American icon.
Westinghouse Three (International premiere; USA, 2019, 3 min, dir. Kevin Jerome Everson) - The film showcases an old consumer product produced at the Westinghouse factory in Mansfield, Ohio, the filmmaker's hometown in the 1960s.
Memento Stella (Japan-Hong Kong, 2018, 60 min, dir. Takashi Makino) - In artist-filmmaker Makino Takashi’s practice the abstract is drawn out of the real through the layering of images, flickers of light and the perpetual movement of dots and grains. Memento Stella combines up to 200 layers at any one time, redefining screen space and feels deeper the closer audiences focus their eyes.
Danny (European premiere; Canada, 2019, 50 min, dir. Aaron Zeghers, Lewis Bennett) - After being diagnosed with leukemia in 1993, Danny picks up a camcorder and begins to create a film, with himself as the central character. The lo-fi Vancouver cityscape reflects back an alienated existentialism as Danny grapples with his personal demons, spurred on in the face of his own mortality.
War of Art (UK premiere; Norway-Germany, 2019, 102 min, dir. Tommy Gulliksen) - While the world is on the verge of nuclear war, a group of Western contemporary artists are invited into the eye of the storm - North Korea. This cast of colourful characters invades the notoriously clandestine and bleak country and while they arrive in pursuit of a peaceful cultural exchange, their project may well turn into a War of Art.
Sunrise With Sea Monsters (World premiere; UK, 2018, 71 min, dir. Myles Painter) - Sunrise With Sea Monsters follows a wandering desktop hard drive as it journeys through the British landscape in a quest to explore new ways to store and preserve human knowledge for humanity in the future.
Full line-up of titles in the Doc/Vision strand: https://sheffdocfest.com/strands/166
Full line-up of titles in competition Art Award supported by MUBI: http://tiny.cc/mq3q6y