Screaming from the Inside

Screaming from the Inside

Artist Cinemas

Ilana Harris-Babou, Decision Fatigue (clip), 2020.

July 18, 2022
Screaming from the Inside
Convened by Camille Henrot
July 18–August 29, 2022
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e-flux is very pleased to present Screaming from the Inside, an online program of films and texts put together by Camille Henrot as the eleventh edition of Artist Cinemas, a long-term series curated by artists for e-flux Video & Film.

Screaming from the Inside runs in six episodes released every Monday from July 18 through August 29, 2022, streaming a new film each week accompanied by a commissioned text. 

It features films by Ilana Harris-Babou, Monster Chetwynd, Mindy Faber, Alexa Karolinski and Ingo NiermannCaroline Leaf, Peter Wächtler; and texts by Ilana Harris-Babou and Camille Henrot, Jacob BrombergOrit Gat, Mathilde HenrotEstelle Hoy, Jean-Luc Nivaggioni.

The program opens its first week with Ilana Harris-Babou’s Decision Fatigue (2020), accompanied by a conversation between Harris-Babou and Camille Henrot.

Scroll down for more information on the program and films.

Films and texts will be released weekly on this page.

Screaming from the Inside
Convened by Camille Henrot

The more the digital world claims its own existence, the heavier it feels to inhabit a physical body. During the pandemic our personal lives were physically limited and for some time, many of us subscribed to the mirage that our digital existence could expand the spaces in which we felt restricted. Ultimately, we’ve discovered that the in-person sensations of the flesh and the mind—even the active choice to disengage and do nothing—is what truly makes us feel alive. But we have also discovered that home is not a safe space, that neither online nor in the flesh is our privacy fully protected, and that there is no intimacy without drama,  intensity, and the desire to escape.  Screaming from the Inside took as its starting point the feeling of claustrophobia, isolation, and inescapability (both inside the home, and inside our own bodies) induced by the pandemic and sustained by digital experience. It was through a meditation on the desire to recoil and regress, and the unspoken emotions associated with this return, that I made an intuitive selection of films to feature in this program. 

In many of the films, there is a wound associated with with close relationships. Peter Wächtler’s Untitled (Crutches) (2013) portrays a character walking with a limp, in a loop, reciting a bitter lament of a love lost. Caroline Leaf’s Two Sisters (1991) is about an overprotective sister who, out of care for her blind sibling, a famous writer, essentially denies her the experience of life. 

In an environment surrounded by only close relatives, suffering is a condition of intimacy—any declaration of love can easily become a declaration of war. When the boundaries between the self and the other are in constant flux, all love is essentially ambivalent. Are we at odds with those we love, or at odds with ourselves? Is a lack of confidence in the other essentially a lack of confidence in ourselves? Our relationships with loved ones and the comforts of the home replicate a womb-like environment, and it is only natural that the thoughts and fears of a pre-verbal stage resurface. Monster Chetwynd’s The Call of the Wild (2007) features a primal scream that resonates as a protest against home—a gray suburban landscape seems inescapable as the camera scans for a possible exit that is nowhere in sight.

Our concept of home is closely related to the associations we make of maternal or parental figures. In Ilana Harris-Babou’s Decision Fatigue (2020), the artist’s own mother is the main actress. The portrayal is not one of pure celebration or reverence—it is burlesque, tender, cruel, and sarcastic all at the same time. Mindy Faber’s Suburban Queen (1985) is seemingly a dedication of love and admiration while also a rejection of origin stories. Alexa Karolinski and Ingo Niermann’s Army of Love (2016) shows characters extending tender gestures while floating in a pool, reminiscent of a sort of collective return to an idyllic, amniotic environment. 

Proximity sets the stage for a complex bundle of emotions—a combination of comfort in the familiar, and deep disgust arising from habitual monotony. It is in the grappling and attempted resolution of this ambivalence that the artists featured in this program have created space. They have given shape to the confrontational nature of intimacy in order to ask the fundamental questions: Who am I, where do I come from, where is my home, and what lies beyond it? Ultimately, there is no resolution or escape from that which made us who we are—only a venture towards new illustrations and narratives.


Week #1: Monday, July 18–Sunday, July 24, 2022
Ilana Harris-Babou, Decision Fatigue
2020, 8 minutes
Text: Camille Henrot in conversation with Ilana Harris-Babou

In Decision Fatigue Ilana Harris-Babou confronts the absurdities of the wellness industry: a space where structural inequalities are often framed as personal choices. The artist’s mother, Sheila Harris, stages an intimate, playful, and sometimes painful beauty tutorial. In a decidedly “unclean” morning ritual, she traces the choices she has made in her life, both large and small, to hold on to youth and remain well.

Week #2: Monday, July 25–Sunday, July 31, 2022
Mindy Faber, Suburban Queen
1985, 3 minutes
Text: Mathilde Henrot

This classic feminist tape deviates from David Byrne’s and Jonathan Demme’s popular 1980s versions of suburban life, True Stories. Rather than poking sarcastic fun at the woman locked in the split-level, Suburban Queen poignantly evokes a daughter’s longings. Portraying the relationship of a mother and daughter inextricably bound yet puzzled by each other’s lives, Faber recounts her frustration with her mother’s depression and passivity, and her fantasy of how her mother might transcend these conditions.

Week #3: Monday, August 1–Sunday, August 7, 2022
Alexa Karolinski and Ingo Niermann, Army of Love
2016, 40 minutes
Text: Jean-Luc Nivaggioni

Romantic love is saturated with commoditization. The socialistic premise behind “free love” crumbles when desiring competition gets in the way, and in the age of hook-up apps, the possibility of free sex represents the liberalization, not the liberation, of love. Alexa Karolinski and Ingo Niermann engage these issues with Army of Love (2016), a video campaign introducing a propositional regiment of soldiers diverse in age and appearance and tasked with solving the persistent social malaise of dire loneliness. The docu-fictional video is in part a utopian proposal framed by conversations questioning the basic premises of love and justice.

Week #4: Monday, August 8–Sunday, August 14, 2022
Peter Wächtler, Untitled (Crutches)
2013, 8 minutes
Text: Estelle Hoy

The silent video re-runs 12 seconds of animation, while in the subtitles a ranting monologue on harm and hurt unfolds. With every step the stop-motion animated wire figure on crutches engages deeper in an intimate soliloquy that keeps confusing past and present, cause and effect. Different scales of injury, from imagined war wounds, the public whipping of traitors, and hurtful discussions about open relationships at the Speaking Food Café all get mashed up by the relentless blurring of anxiety and isolation. The phrase “I’ve been in deeper shit before” works as a chorus line structuring the text in passages of violent hubris and fearful prostration. Yet, despite the threads, the fury and all the enemies, lovers, and buddies the figure moves on in an abstract landscape of slushy wax in solitude and silence. Unable to enter any learning curve with his manly mantra of “deeper shit” he loops away in frailty to a “place I cannot imagine,” where the plants “laugh at all the cutting shit things in this world.”

Week #5: Monday, August 15–Sunday, August 21, 2022
Caroline Leaf, Two Sisters
1991, 10 minutes
Text: Orit Gat

This animated short, etched directly onto tinted 70 mm film, depicts the story of two sisters: Viola, who writes novels in a dark room, and Marie, her only companion. Disfigured, Viola counts on her sister to take care of her and shelter her from the outside world. But when an unexpected stranger turns up on their front door, the sisters’ quiet lives are disrupted and their routine turns to chaos.

Week #6: Monday, August 22–Sunday, August 28, 2022
Monster Chetwynd, The Call of the Wild
2007, 6 minutes
Text: Jacob Bromberg

Spartacus (one of the previous names for Monster Chetwynd) spent September 2006 living in Edinburgh, where she worked with different women she met, including students on a pattern-cutting course, a knitting demonstrator, and a costumier. Together they devised a trip to the Isle of Lewis in the Western Isles to make the short film The Call of the Wild. The film twins events on Lewis with the women’s lives in urban Edinburgh. The finished film draws on cinematic influences such as Walkabout (dir. Nicolas Roeg, 1971), Picnic at Hanging Rock (dir. Peter Weir, 1975), and the anthropological film Les maîtres fous (1955) by Jean Rouch.

Monday, August 29, 2022
Last day

Over the past twenty years, Camille Henrot (b. 1978, France) has developed a widely recognized practice encompassing drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, and film. Drawing inspiration from literature, second-hand marketplaces, poetry, cartoons, social media, self-help, and the banality of everyday life, Henrot’s work captures the complexity of living as both private individuals and global citizens in an increasingly connected and over-stimulated world. Her 2013 fellowship at the Smithsonian Institute resulted in the critically acclaimed film Grosse Fatigue, for which she was awarded the Silver Lion at the 55th Venice Biennale. She elaborated ideas from Grosse Fatigue to conceive her 2014 installation The Pale Fox at Chisenhale Gallery in London. The exhibit, which displayed the breadth of her diverse output, went on to travel to institutions including Kunsthal Charlottenburg, Copenhagen; Bétonsalon – Centre for art and research, Paris; Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, Germany; and Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Japan. In 2017, Henrot was given carte blanche at Palais de Tokyo in Paris, where she presented the major exhibition Days Are Dogs. She is the recipient of the 2014 Nam June Paik Award and the 2015 Edvard Munch Award, and has participated in the Lyon, Berlin, Sydney and Liverpool Biennials, among others. Henrot has had numerous solo exhibitions worldwide, including the New Museum, New York; Schinkel Pavilion, Berlin; New Orleans Museum of Art; Fondazione Memmo, Rome; Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Japan, among others. Current and upcoming solo exhibitions include Middelheim Museum in Antwerp, Belgium (2022), Kunstverein Salzburg in Salzburg, Austria (2022) and Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway (2022).

Artist Cinemas is an e-flux platform focusing on exploring the moving image as understood by people who make film. It is informed by the vulnerability and enchantment of the artistic process—producing non-linear forms of knowledge and expertise that exist outside of academic or institutional frameworks. It will also acknowledge the circles of friendship and mutual inspiration that bind the artistic community. Over time this platform will trace new contours and produce different understandings of the moving image.

For more information, contact program [​at​]

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July 18, 2022

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