A joint curatorial project of the paradoks festival and the WRO Art Center is devoted to documentary formats that go beyond the edges of conventional cinema. Journalistic research and reconstruction, incorporation of scientific discoveries or analysis of archival materials are elements of aesthetic strategies used in visual arts and interdisciplinary projects that operate at the junction of activism, science and art. Interested in the documentary that challenges established boundaries and examines the moving image, we present the installation SPIN by Ginan Seidl (exhibited as part of the paradoks festival in 2021) with a set of materials selected from the WRO Archive (collected since 1989).
paradoks – at the edges of documentary is a platform for diverse perspectives that are both presented and questioned in terms of their socio-political conditions. The selected artists operate at the border of visual anthropology and explore different states of consciousness or bodily sensations evoked by cultural techniques such as research, scientific experimentation, dance or music – becoming ways of investigating the human condition.
Through video art and materials from the WRO Archive we have created a transnational platform for the exchange of ideas, in which we collaborate as curators, animators and art mediators.
SPIN (a term taken from particle physics) asks about the extent to which ritualised (and thus sometimes vacuous) forms of behaviour prevent us from grasping the true essence of things. As a result, we only perceive a world that revolves exclusively around itself. In the installation, various forms of thinking, doubting, and spinning are explored audiovisually, spatially, and linguistically. This leads to a reflection on the body and mind as instruments for experiencing that which is situated along the lines of science and spirituality. Fictional dialogues, interviews, quiet recordings of circular movements as well as documentary observations of a Sufi ceremony blend into one another. Spinning around in their dance, the bodies of the dervishes not only act as an antenna for a perceived divine power, they also become a resonating chamber that amplifies and transforms energies to eventually allow their release into the social space of the Umma (a community of believers).
Ginan Seidl, born in Berlin, completed her art studies in Halle (Saale), Berlin and Mexico City. She graduated from the Professional Media Master Class and the Master Class Lab in Werkleitz. She has participated in residency programmes in Istanbul, Mexico and Lebanon. She has won numerous art awards and her work has been exhibited in many art exhibitions and festivals, and at international film festivals such as FID Marseille, Berlinale/Forum Expanded and CPH:DOX. She is a member of the FILZ film and art collective. In 2021, Seidl was a juror of the 7th Best Media Arts Graduation Projects Competition. She currently lives and works in Halle (Saale) and Berlin.
SPIN was funded by the Kulturstiftung Sachsen-Anhalt, the Kloster Bergesche Stiftung and was created within the framework of the PMMC Labs of the Werkleitz Gesellschaft e.V.; supported by the Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung GmbH and the state of Saxony-Anhalt, from ESF (European Social Fund) funds.
The project is co-financed by the Wrocław Municipality and realized with the support of the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation.
paradoks was established in 2018 as a collaboration between two Leipzig collectives, the
Filmische Initiative Leipzig (FILZ) and the GEGENkino Festival. Before joining forces,
both project partners had been exploring the documentary qualities of the moving image
for years, including formats operating beyond the confines of conventional cinemas. In
2019, motivated by a shared vision of creating a space for dialogue, which would allow
local perspectives using an installation-based and (semi-)documentary approach to come
into contact with works of an international level, the project managed to launch its first
successful exhibition. In the festival edition of 2021/22, these fundamental focal points of
documentary-based realities and knowledge production are embraced again.
What motivates and connects FILZ and GEGENkino is the shared interest in reflecting on
documentary work that challenges established boundaries in the field and explores the
moving image within somewhat ambiguous categories such as reality, authenticity and
morality. Another aim of the project is to increase the visibility of perspectives and works
that deal with urgent social issues. The decision to run the event parallel to the Leipzig
DOK week was influenced by the goal of making these themes and works accessible for
both an expert audience and a broader, local public, as well as our wish to involve the
artists in the implementation of the project.