Looking Up

Looking Up

Artist Cinemas

Kevin Jerome Everson, Recovery (clip), 2020. Courtesy of the artist, trilobite-arts DAC, and Picture Palace Pictures.

March 13, 2023
Looking Up
Convened by Jorge Jácome
March 13–April 24, 2023
Instagram / Facebook

e-flux is very pleased to present Looking up, an online film program put together by Jorge Jácome as the twelfth edition of Artist Cinemas, a long-term series curated by artists for e-flux Film.

Looking up runs in six episodes from March 18 through April 24, 2023, streaming a new film each week accompanied by a commissioned conversation or response published in text form.

It features films by Sandro Aguilar, Luis López Carrasco, Kevin Jerome Everson, Pauline Curnier Jardin, Jacqueline Lentzou, and Malena Szlam; and interviews and responses by Ana David, Matías Piñeiro, Alejandra Rosenberg, Francisco Valente, Daniela Delgado Viteri, and Uli Ziemons.

The program opens its first week with Kevin Jerome Everson’s Recovery, accompanied by a conversation between Everson and Uli Ziemons.

New films and texts will be released every Monday here

Looking up
By Jorge Jácome

You’re walking down the street, you look up and see that, in a split second, a piano is about to fall on your head. Unbelievable. Bam. You see stars. Everything is spinning. Confetti. Beginnings. Money. Dreams. Planets. Pixels. Your parents. Turtles. External hard drives. Kisses on the lips in the Aegean Sea. Your whole life in a flash. 

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve dreamed of having a television screen on the ceiling of my room. Imagine lying in bed, looking up and falling asleep to your favorite shows. I’m almost positive I saw this in a famous person’s house, on the MTV show Cribs. What a dream. 

This generation will no longer be able to see the stars: Light pollution is growing by 10% a year.” In a recent article for El País, Miguel Ángel Criado wrote about visual pollution and how it negatively affects our ability to look up at the sky and admire the stars. In the article, scientists, researchers and astronomers discuss how, with each passing year and with urban growth, light pollution increases and the number of stars we can see in the sky decreases. 

I don’t get why most people who are afraid of heights feel the effects of vertigo when they look down but don’t feel anything when they look up at the sky. Why aren’t we constantly vomiting and dizzy with vertigo of the cosmos?

In Portuguese “heaven” and “sky” are the same word.

In the future, we will have to leave our homes (those of us who can still afford to have homes), our cities, in order to “see.” Like when we’re in the countryside, in the forest, or at the beach, and we hear someone say, “I came here to breathe.” What are you doing here? “I came here to see.”

My boyfriend has a hereditary disorder called cone-rod dystrophy. The first time he went to the hospital, the doctor, after examining him, asked him whether he could see the stars in the sky. My boyfriend knows that over time he will progressively lose his peripheral vision and will no longer be able to see the stars. His brother, who has the same disorder in a more advanced stage, decided to buy a Tesla.

On the day I am writing these notes, an American military official looked up and saw a Chinese spy balloon the size of three buses. 

The most moving night sky I have ever seen was on vacation last year in Ikaria, an island in the Aegean Sea. I’m going to book a flight there with the fee from this curation. 

To be honest, the stars and sky have become unnecessary. Historically, they have always guided us—helped us know what time it was, where we were, where we were going. But, the truth is, with the invention of the clock and the invention of Google Maps, humans no longer need the stars or sky for anything. 

One of the films I tried to include in this program was (2017–2022) by Johann Lurf. However, the film is only available for viewing on large screens. Even so, Johann very graciously sent me lovely photos from his new book of people looking up. You can get the book here

As a friend of mine says, “The planet is a rotating stage.” And that’s where I want to be: being watched by the stars, the planets, by aliens, and by everything that has yet to begin. Looking up, upside down. 

Some years from now, we will probably look at the sky the same way we look at the ocean today: the beauty and immensity of the waves in contradiction with the weight of cruel history of colonialism. Intergalactic exploration is already underway, and we have the responsibility to anticipate the new ways in which humans will extract, invade, destroy, and plunder other planets. There is still time. We are the aliens. 

When we destroy this world and are all on a spaceship heading somewhere else, these are the six films I am bringing with me on my external hard drive. 

This program is a mixture of all of this. And it’s none of this. The program suggests connections between the sky, the universe, dreams, flying, religion, aliens, possibilities, imagination, life, and death. 


#1: Monday, March 13–Sunday, March 19
Kevin Jerome Everson, Recovery (2020, 10 minutes)
In conversation with Uli Ziemons
Recovery is about an Airman training to be a pilot at the Columbus Air Force Base 14th Flying Training Wing in Columbus, Mississippi.

#2: Monday, March 20–Sunday, March 26
Malena Szlam, Lunar Almanac (2013, 4 minutes)
In conversation with Matías Piñeiro
Lunar Almanac traces the observational points of the lunar cycle in a series of visual notations. Using single-frame and long-exposure photography, the unaltered, in-camera editing accumulates over 4,000 layered field views of half-moons, new moons, and full moons. These lunar inscriptions flit across the screen with a frenetic energy, illuminating nocturnal reveries that pull at the tides as much as our dreams.

#3: Monday, March 27–Sunday, April 2
Pauline Curnier Jardin, Explosion Ma Baby (2016, 9 minutes)
With a response by Daniela Delgado Viteri
It’s August. Feel the suffocating heat of the sun penetrating your skin. All around you, an abundance of flesh is spinning. Thousands of men offer up the naked bodies of baby boys to the angelic icon of San Sebastian. Screams, colors, chants, and explosions. Money-garlands. Imagine no women but me. Wait, yes, behind us women are following with devotion, dressed in well-pressed clothes and their stocking feet. Now, come back here. Imagine how badly I fell in love with this. I desperately wanted to be part of it. To be there. I wanted to belong. But I know that I can’t. And so I try to capture it on film. I go there and film it every year, over and over, again and again. One day I will tell the story of a poor and sterile man who wants to replace San Sebastian. But more summers will have to pass before our hero will appear. 

#4: Monday, April 3–Sunday, April 9
Luis López Carrasco, Aliens (2017, 23 minutes)
In conversation with Alejandra Rosenberg
“This world has always seemed to me to be somewhat strange, somewhat alien to all of my emotions.” An alien is a foreigner, an outcast and, in popular culture, an inhabitant from another planet. Tesa Arranz, a key figure in the 1980s Madrid scene and lead singer of The Zombies, has painted over 500 portraits of outer-space creatures. Confronting the singer’s paintings with memories of her youth, her poems and diaries, Aliens depicts an emotional landscape in Spanish history where happiness, nightmarish experimentation, and alienation walked hand in hand.

#5: Monday, April 10–Sunday, April 16
Sandro Aguilar, Jewels (2013, minutes)
In conversation with Francisco Valente
Hypnosis. Diapausing insects and a broken heart.

#6: Monday, April 17–Sunday, April 23
Jacqueline Lentzou, Hiwa (2017, minutes)
In conversation with Ana David
Jay wakes up in Manila, yet he was dreaming of Athens. He’s had a nightmare, in which he had to save his two daughters from a special surgery: Their houses are attached to their bodies, and must be removed. In his attempt to fetch his daughters, he roams the Athens cityscape, seeing things in a very different light while he narrates his dream to his wife.

Monday, April 24
Last day


Jorge Jácome (b. 1988) is a filmmaker and artist based in Lisbon. In his works, which blur the lines between documentary and fiction, he investigates relations between utopias, nature, disappearance, and desire. His films have been shown in festivals and exhibition contexts, such as the Berlinale, TIFF, San Sebastian, NYFF, 25 FPS, Winterthur, IndieLisboa, Curtas Vila do Conde, Palais de Tokyo, Tate Modern, MoMa, and Tabakalera among others. He is a recipient of the Critics FIPRESCI Prize (Forum) at the Berlinale with Super Natural (2022); Best Film Award at the Hamburg Short Film Festival and Grand Prize at Indielisboa with Past Perfect (2019); Grand Prix at 25 FPS, Best Film Award at the Hamburg Short Film Festival, Punto de Vista, BIEFF, and New Talent at IndieLisboa with Flores (2017), among others. Parallel to his work as a filmmaker he works as an editor of projects by other filmmakers, and regularly collaborates in performing arts projects.

Artist Cinemas is an ongoing series on e-flux Film 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 also acknowledges the circles of friendship and mutual inspiration that bind the artistic community. 

For more information, contact program [​at​] e-flux.com.

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March 13, 2023

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