Screening & Discussion Media Encounters | Curated by Merv Espina

1984 Hong Kong Topography (film still) | Courtesy of Ingo Petzke & Jim Shum Courtesy of Ingo Petzke & Jim Shum

Thursday, 30 March 2023, 18:30

Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi

Screening & discussion on the legacy of the 80s-90s Goethe-Institut film & video workshops

Not only were geopolitical states being radically shaken and re-negotiated in the late Cold War and the early post-Soviet era of the 80s and 90s, but so were various states of art and art-making through the emergence of new technological media. During this time period, the Goethe-Institut was among the most prolific international cultural organisations that encouraged new tendencies in media production, most notably experimental film and video art. The works produced through these Goethe-Institut co-productions often captured the social upheavals and turbulent politics in various locations they took place in the global majority. Credited to have produced pivotal works, even influencing key practitioners and initiating sustainable alternative film and media art scenes in their host cities, several of these works also toured festivals and institutions abroad.

Previous collaborators included Harun Farocki, Werner Nekes and Rotraut Pape from Germany; Narcisa Hirsch and Claudio Caldini from Argentina; Lav Diaz and Roxlee from the Philippines; Pimpaka Towira and Manit Sriwanichpoom from Thailand; Danny Yung and Comyn Mo from Hong Kong; and in the Indian context, Ein Lall, Amar Kanwar, and the trio of Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula and Shuddhabrata Sengupta before they were Raqs Media Collective. Unfortunately, a majority of these works have been lost, or are rare, or inaccessible.

This screening programme is part of Media Encounters, an ongoing research project that has resulted in the recovery of some of these works, while also challenging the assumption of a one-way influence of these encounters between local artists and their German collaborators.

Merv Espina is an artist and researcher whose practice spelunks through the cavities of systemic biases and historical lapses in media, knowledge and cultural production, and investigates the networks and organisms that have grown through them. Since 2022, his ongoing research project Media Encounters is supported by the documenta Institut with the documenta archiv and the Goethe-Institut headquarters in Munich. He is currently artist-in-residence at Shiv Nadar University, Delhi NCR, January-April 2023.