Workshop of Termite Art: Towards a History of the Essay film

Workshop of Termite Art poster

Workshop of Termite Art: Towards a History of the Essay film
[蟻蛀藝術:朝向一種隨筆電影的歷史] 工作坊
14-15 June 2016, Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei National University of Arts & Taipei National University of the Arts

The two day workshop ‘Termite Art: Towards a History of the Essay film’ will approach at the essay film as a critical category that draws on different languages and disciplines from cinema, visual arts and curatorial practice. The term “Termite Art,” taken from the critic Manny Faber, is used here to argue for the importance of the essay film as the critical meeting place between cinema and contemporary art. French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Goran proposed the term for the essay film in the retrospective The Way of the Termite. The Essay in Cinema 1909-2004 he organised for Vienna Film Museum. Faber defines ‘Termite Art’ as follows: “The most inclusive description of the art is that, termite-like, it feels its way through walls of particularization with no sign that the artist has any object in mind other than eating away the immediate boundaries of his art, and turning these boundaries into conditions of the next achievement.”

The workshop aims to propose a distinct approach of the essay film as a critical practice that devours and cannibalises other art forms, blurring the boundary between visual art and cinema, between documentary, experimental film, artists cinema, etc to create a distant critical art that eats away at fixed histories and definitions. The workshop will explore the meeting place between cinema and art with reference to the diverse work of Chris Marker, Camille Henrot, Luis Ospina, Kidlat Tahimik, Duncan Campbell, Hito Steyerl, Trinh T Minh Ha, Raul Ruiz, Morgan Fisher and others. With this in mind I’ll present a selection of screenings to reflect the concept of ‘Termite Art’ , focusing on works that eat away at each other and categorizations around art and how this idea relates to contemporary artists working across media and disciplines and connects debates within curatorial and art practice from Hito Steyerl’s idea of ‘poor image’ to debates around cultural appropriation. (Text by George Clark)

Workshop led by George Clark (Artist and curator) with Austin Ming-Han Hsu (Chief editor of Film Appreciation quarterly magazine) and Hongjohn Lin (Chair of Fine Arts Department, Taipei National University of the Arts)

The workshop was presented in English with Chinese translation by Fang-Tze Hsu. The workshop was developed and delivered as while I was participating in the 2016 Kuandu Residency programme from 2016.05.20-06.17.

Session One / 第一場
Termite Art as History: Essay film and the meeting of Contemporary Art and Cinema
作為歷史的「蟻蛀藝術」
從「隨筆電影」談論當代藝術與電影的遭遇點

Session Two / 第二場 
Termite Art as Practice: Images of the world in Curatorial and Artistic Practice
作為實踐的「蟻蛀藝術」:
從「隨筆電影」談論策展與藝術創作中的影像世界

【講座介紹】

本工作坊旨在探討隨筆電影作為一種批判文類,此文類來自不同語言和學科,諸如電影、視覺藝術和策展實踐。「蟻蛀藝術」一詞是取自於評論家曼尼.費巴(Manny Faber),對探討隨筆電影作為電影與當代藝術的遭遇點相當管用!法國電影導演尚.皮耶.高藍(Jean Pierre Goran)將此詞用於他為維也納電影博物館(Vienna Film Museum)所組織之隨筆電影回顧展「白蟻的路徑:電影中的隨筆 1909-2004」(The Way of the Termite. The Essay in Cinema 1909-2004)。費巴是這樣解釋「蟻蛀藝術」的:「對於藝術來說,最具有含括力的描述是『如蟻蛀一般,它自行其是地穿越了專屬化的牆垣且沒有任何徵兆,藝術家滿腦子想的除了吃掉他在藝術中突如其來的邊界之外,沒有別的想法,並且把這些邊界轉化為他進展到下一階段的條件。』」

藉此,本工作坊將戮力探索隨筆電影在觀念上與作法上的明確取向,隨筆電影作為對於藝術形式進行「同類相食」(cannibalised)或「異性相噬」(devours)的批判實踐,混淆著視覺藝術與電影之間、紀錄片、實驗電影與藝術家電影之間的種種界線,並且去創造一種帶有距離的、批判的蟻蛀藝術,蛀掉僵固的歷史與定義,吃掉電影與藝術的觀念。本工作坊亦將會選映法國導演克里斯.馬克(Chris Marker)、美國藝術家卡米爾.亨洛特(Camille Henrot)、哥倫比亞導演路易.奧斯皮納(Luis Ospina)、菲律賓導演奇拉.塔西米克(Kidlat Tahimik)、愛爾蘭藝術家鄧肯.坎貝爾(Duncan Campbell)、德國藝術理論家希朵.史戴爾 (Hito Steyerl)、越南媒體藝術家鄭明河(Trinh T Minh Ha)、葡萄牙導演拉烏.盧伊茲(Raul Ruiz)、美國導演摩根.費雪(Morgan Fisher)等人的作品,來探討上述有關「蟻蛀藝術」的理念,去吃掉與藝術相關的你我和各種範疇化的企圖,以及這個理念如何與那些處理不同媒體與學科的當代藝術家發生關連,並且聯繫到希朵.史戴爾(Hito Steyerl)所提倡之「弱影像」在文化挪用上的諸多討論。(徐明瀚翻譯)