Me, You, and Everyone We Know: Interrelationality, Alterity, Globalization

Me, You, and Everyone We Know: Interrelationality, Alterity, Globalization


Zacharias Kunuk, Inuit Knowlege and Climate Change (clip), 2010. Courtesy of Vtape, Toronto.

August 4, 2021
Me, You, and Everyone We Know: Interrelationality, Alterity, Globalization
Part Four: Frames for Alterity (Ethnography, Human Rights, Class, and Race)
August 4–July 17, 2021
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Join us on e-flux Video & Film for Frames for Alterity (Ethnography, Human Rights, Class, and Race), the fourth and final part of the online film and discussion series Me, You, and Everyone We Know programmed by Irmgard Emmelhainz

Ethnography in the twenty-first century has delivered images of vanishing populations made redundant or communities self-destroying, appearing as the collateral damage of the globalization of modernity. Ethnography today, moreover, only makes sense ethically and politically as autoethnography or as ethnographic fiction, as opposed to the ethnographer-as-subject delivering his or her point of view in relationship to an alien community. The works in this program draw a constellation of the contemporary discourses we are working with to frame the remnants of colonial alterity: decolonization as restitution, the unresolved contradictions of class and race polarization, human rights as an apparatus to deal with mass political and climate refugees, and empathy as the emotion that will fix all these problems.

Part Four: Frames for Alterity (Ethnography, Human Rights, Class, and Race) feautures films by Ariela Aïsha Azoulay, Yael BartanaJohn BockClarisse HahnZacharias Kunuk, and Juan Manuel Sepúlveda streaming from Wednesday, August 4 through Tuesday, August 17, 2021; and a live discussion with Pip DayDalaeja Foreman​, and Suzanne Kite, moderated by Emmelhainz on Tuesday, August 17, 2021 at 1pm EST.

The series will conclude with a repeat of all films from parts one through four on August 18. Watch the films here.

Me, You, and Everyone We Know: Interrelationality, Alterity, Globalization
Part Four: Frames for Alterity (Ethnography, Human Rights, Class, and Race)

Screening: Wednesday, August 4–Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Juan Manuel Sepúlveda, The Ballad of Oppenheimer Park, 2016, 71 minutes
The Ballad of Oppenheimer Park follows Harley Prosper, Janet Brown, and Bear Raweater (First Nation exiles from Canadian reserves) as they make a movie within the confines of the park where they gather every day. Using their current life and their long history of oppression, their daily ritual of drinking together becomes a defiant celebration.

Ariela Aïsha Azoulay, Un-Documented: Unlearning Imperial Plunder, 2019, 36 minutes
Un-Documented argues—against Alain Resnais and Chris Marker’s film Statues Also Die (1963)—that statues plundered from imperial exhibitions do not die. Those who plundered millions of statues and objects, isolating them from their communities, should be charged with the attempted murder of these objects. The objects, however, survived and still stand alert, even when they are confined to museal glass cases, awaiting reunion with their people. Un-Documented argues that there is a strong connection between the plundered objects in European museums and the calls of asylum seekers trying to enter the countries of their former European colonizers: these are twin migrations. The first migration is of the objects, generating professional care, scrupulous documentation, and generous hospitality in museums and archives: they are the (relatively) well-documented. The second migration is of people who do not have the documents that would allow them access to care and hospitality, nor the documents they need to rebuild their homes and worlds. As the film argues, the rights of the undocumented are inscribed in the plundered objects themselves: Colonizers stole not just statues, but rights inscribed in objects. Yet, the statues still live—and can be reclaimed and the rights inscribed in them renewed.

Yael Bartana, Pardes (Orchard), 2014, 71 minutes 
In Pardes (Orchard), Yael Bartana takes a very personal look at how Westerners seek personal enlightenment by appropriating traditional rituals. She documents the journey of her close friend Michael—an Israeli artist, who, on the one hand, sceptically rejects all organized religion, but on the other hand, is on a constant search for deeper understanding, investigating Kabbalah as well as the cults of the Amazon. Under the guidance of a Brazilian shaman he undergoes the Ayahuasca ritual, taking the psychedelic brew that is said to lead to deep spiritual revelations about the universe and one’s own personality, a feeling described as an experience of rebirth, enlightenment or—in the worst case—as one of the worst trips possible. The once very specific and local ritual becomes an inclusive performance, open for very different needs and cultural backgrounds.

Clarisse Hahn, Mescaline, 2015, 45 minutes 
Under the influence of a hallucinogenic cactus, a French couple arrives like a virus to a Mexican landscape whose practices, codes, and uses they do not know. By their presence and clumsy acts, the oblivious Agathe and Mehdi upset the life balance of a family of villagers in the desert. Two worlds meet, without understanding each other. With alcohol and drugs, the misunderstanding drifts towards violence.

Zacharias Kunuk, Inuit Knowlege and Climate Change, 2010, 60 minute
Zacharias Kunuk and his team at Isuma Productions have teamed up with researcher Ian Mauro, PhD, University of Victoria, to document and communicate Inuit knowledge regarding climate change in Nunavut. This community-based video research and filmmaking project values the important contribution Inuit have made regarding climate change impacts and associated adaptation strategies.

John Bock, Hell’s Bells, 2017, 60 minutes
Developed over five years and shot in Germany in 2016, the feature-length Hell’s Bells is styled as a contemporary Western. It interweaves the familiar storylines and stock characters of the genre with the theatrical and anarchic mode of Surrealism for which Bock has become known. The story unfolds in a gloomy, nocturnal realm—an indistinct conflation of reality and dream—centering on an unnamed town. Against a backdrop of simultaneous industrialization and grinding poverty, Bock tells the story of a stranger (Bibiana Beglau) who arrives in town pursued by mysterious guilt. She is accompanied by a young deaf girl, who emerges gradually as a powerful force—telepathically controlling the course of the story. A conflict develops between two other characters—the local priest (Frank Seppeler) and a diabolical, dandified villain (Lars Eidinger) who plays with Death in the style of a medieval demon. Each character is revealed to be burdened by a different kind of guilt—stemming variously from the loss of a child, the loss of morality, and the loss of religion.

Discussion: Tuesday, August 17, 2021 at 1pm EST   
Pip Day, Dalaeja Foreman​, and Suzanne Kite, moderated by Irmgard Emmelhainz 
Livestream and Q&A with audience

About the series  
In the pre-history of globalization, modernity was promoted by international postwar agencies that prescribed epistemologies, means of economic organization and production methods, and even a cultural sensibility to the so-called third-world countries. From a decolonial standpoint, modernity and colonialism are inextricable; indeed, they form the basis of our contemporary globalized socioeconomic and political systems: market-based predatory relationships. In order to normalize these toxic forms of interdependency and interrelationships that are leading to civilizational and environmental collapse, human and non-human inhabitants of the world are differentiated by means of signifiers, for instance, of alterity, class, gender, ethnic origin, and religion. These differentiations affect how we relate to each other and how we become subjects. This series gathers audiovisual works from Canada, Europe, North and South America, and Australia, from inside or on the margins of Western civilization. Beyond positing the question of whether decolonizing would mean undoing these differential categories and bringing justice to oppressed peoples, they provide pieces in a puzzle that could enable us to better see global capitalism not as a generalized, abstract whole, but as heterogeneous processes composed of beliefs, knowledges, relationships, daily practices, and the disassociation from our bodies and from social relationships that denigrate the reproduction of life in favor of production and consumption cycles. As such, they bring forth a pressing view on the contradictions and toxic interrelationships inherent to the subject of Western modernity, who has sought to feel at home anywhere on the globe, yet now finds itself increasingly alien to the basic means to reproduce life.

Me, You, and Everyone We Know: Interrelationality, Alterity, Globalization is a new online series of films and discussions programmed by Irmgard Emmelhainz for e-flux Video & Film. It will run in four thematic parts from June 23 through August 18, 2021. Each part will include a two-week group screening, and a live discussion. 

With films and videos by Ariela Aïsha Azoulay, Yael Bartana, Cooper Battersby and Emily Vey Duke, Ursula Biemannb.h. YaelJohn BockMaja BorgNoël Burch and Allan SekulaMiguel CalderónSara EliassenJohn GreysonClarisse HahnMike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, Nicholas ManganJuan Manuel Sepúlveda, and Miguel Ventura; and discussions with Emily Vey Duke and Cooper BattersbyFranco “Bifo” Berardib.h. YaelAnita Chari, Pip DayDalaeja ForemanElena Comay del Junco, Suzanne KiteSiobhan F. Guerrero Mc ManusJohn Paul RiccoMiguel Ventura, and Soyoung Yoon

For more information, contact program [​at​]

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