Aesthetics of Resistance: Straub-Huillet and Contemporary Moving-Image Art

Aesthetics of Resistance

Straub-Huillet and Contemporary Moving-Image Art

Aesthetics of Resistance: Straub-Huillet and Contemporary Moving-Image Art

Admission starts at $5

December 2022–March 2023
e-flux Screening Room
172 Classon Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

With Atteyat Al-Abnoudy, Ali Hussein Al-Adawy, Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri, Marwa Arsanios, Annett Busch, Pedro Costa, Harun Farocki, Liam Gillick and Anton Vidokle, Louis Henderson, Laura Huertas Millán, Deimantas Narkevičius, Rosalind Nashashibi, Uriel Orlow, Marion von Osten, Matt Peterson, Matías Piñeiro, Marta Popivoda, Keith Sanborn, Deborah Stratman, Oraib Toukan, Ana Vaz, Clemens von Wendermeyer, Nele Wohlatz

Curated by Lukas Brasiskis

“What we try to explore are things that are outside ourselves. We address ourselves to texts that offer us resistance. We try to test them out; we make audiovisual objects out of them, which consist of movements, movements within a visual frame, movements of light and sound.”
—Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub

e-flux Screening Room presents Aesthetics of Resistance: Straub-Huillet and Contemporary Moving-Image Art, a four-part series of screenings and discussions inspired by the works of the French filmmaker duo Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub.

The series is conceived as a way of initiating discussion about the reverberations of Straub-Huillet’s ideas in contemporary moving-image art. “The aesthetics of resistance”—a concept associated with Straub and Huillet as well as with Peter Weiss—is defined here as an opposition to both: the spectacularization and the uniformization of complex issues. In contrast to the idea of political filmmaking as the production of closed and easy to identify narratives that aim at instilling consensus among audiences, this series showcases works by artists and filmmakers who openly and audaciously examine the political potential of the film form and of post-dramatic storytelling. The screenings and discussions in this series will scrutinize ways of reenacting the past in the present; performing the archeology of historical texts; treating landscape as a depository of traces of colonialism and class tensions; making films together with local communities; and pushing the limits of the direct use of voice and sound; among other politically motivated strategies of filmmaking that bear either direct or indirect lineage from, or function as parallel vectors to, the works by Straub-Huillet. 

Aesthetics of Resistance: Straub-Huillet and Contemporary Moving-Image Art unfolds in four, multi-day chapters taking place at e-flux Screening Room from December 2022 through March 2023, each consisting of screenings of works by contemporary artists and filmmakers, and a screening of a select film by Straub-Huillet, accompanied by discussions.

Aesthetics of Resistance: Straub-Huillet and Contemporary Moving-Image Art is produced and organized by e-flux; with the support of the German Film Office, an initiative of the Goethe-Institut and German Films.

I. In the Present, the Scripted Past Is Performed
Thursday, December 1, 2022 at 6pm and 8pm: Double feature and discussion: Straub-Huillet and Matías Piñeiro
Saturday, December 3, 2022 at 5pm: Screening and discussion: Clemens Von Wedemeyer
Tuesday, December 6, 2022 at 7pm: Screening and discussion: Louis Henderson, Keith Sanborn, Liam Gillick and Anton Vidokle, and Rosalind Nashashibi

Between the words written in the past and the bodies reciting them in the presence of a camera, an abyss widens. The voices of the readers serve neither to psychologize them nor to take over the place in which they are heard. Rather than the model of narrative chronology, the films and videos presented in this chapter depend on the model of productive dissociation, which does not need to establish the perceptual solidity of space in linear time. Offscreen is nearly entirely represented by what is onscreen. The ruins and traumas of the past are absorbed into the modern setting, texts of the past are appropriated by the bodies through speech. There is no exterior to what one sees. The characters are not shown as fictional constructs. They reenact historical texts over the cacophony of everyday life, separating what the narrative was about from what it is now. Following Straub-Huillet’s pursuit of radical materialism, the artists and filmmakers featured in this chapter do not tell stories about the past that are typically based on temporally situated flashbacks and flashforwards; instead, relying on direct images and sounds and aesthetically struggling with the texts they attempt to reenact, they bring history to life in the present.

II. Landscapes to Be Deciphered
Tuesday, January 17, 2023 at 7pm: Double screening: Straub-Huillet and Atteyat Al-Abnoudy​
Saturday, January 28, 2023 at 5pm: Screening and discussion: Deborah Stratman
Tuesday, January 31, 2023 at 7pm: Screening and discussion: Ana Vaz, Oraib Toukan, and Deimantas Narkevičius
Tuesday, February 7, 2023 at 7pm: Screening and discussion: Marta Popivoda

In Too Early, Too Late (1980-1981), as well as in other films such as Moses and Aaron (1975) and From the Clouds to the Resistance (1979), Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub present a stunning collection of landscapes that function both as a backdrop and an integral part of their films’ narrative, and serve as a tool for a topographical exploration of political history(-ies). As film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum writes, in Too Early, Too Late Straub-Huillet invert the usual relationship between landscape and text, “the landscape becoming the film’s central text, the verbal text becoming the film’s ‘setting.’” Too Early, Too Late thus can be seen as an example of a rigorous intellectual approach to filming environments dialectically and treating them as a tool of critique of the current state of the world. By bringing together a diverse range of works that explore the political power of the images of landscape, this chapter of the series explores the aesthetics of resistance through landscape filmmaking in contemporary moving-image art. The films presented in the screenings seek to uncover the hidden histories embedded within the landscape. Through the use of long takes and precise framing, the filmmakers featured in this chapter aim to reveal the layers of meaning to be deciphered within the landscape, and to expose the ways in which it has participated in supporting or challenging dominant power structures, as well as in constructing historical memories. 

III. On Communities, Labor, and Class Relations
Tuesday, February 21, 2023 at 7pm: Screening and talk: Straub-Huillet and Annett Busch
Saturday, February 25, 2023 at 5pm: Double screening and discussion: Marwa Arsanios and Nele Wohlatz
Thursday, March 2, 2023 at 7pm: Screening and discussion: Marion von Osten and Matt Peterson
Saturday, March 4, 2023 at 5pm: Screening and discussion: Laura Huertas Millán

Straub and Huillet’s body of work consistently challenges dominant ideology and invites us to reconsider the complexities of human relationships in regard to power dynamics. Departing from their 1983 film Class Relations, this chapter engages the filmmakers’ distinct examination of the ways in which class struggle informs individual experiences and shapes social interactions.

IV. Films to Be Made and Unmade
Thursday, March 9, 2023 at 7pm: Uriel Orlow: Affirming Difference Through Rituals of Filming
Saturday, March 11, 2023 at 5pm: Straub-Huillet at Work: A Screening of Harun Farocki’s and Pedro Costa’s Films
Tuesday, March 14, 2023 at 7pm: Screening and Discussion: Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri

For more information, contact



Screening and Discussion: Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri
March 14, 2023, 7pm

Straub-Huillet at Work: A Screening of Harun Farocki’s and Pedro Costa’s Films
March 11, 2023, 5pm

Uriel Orlow: Affirming Difference Through Rituals of Filming
March 9, 2023, 7pm

Laura Huertas Millán: Ethnographic Fiction as Deconstruction and Reinvention
March 4, 2023, 5pm

Screening and discussion: Marion von Osten and Matt Peterson
March 2, 2023, 7pm

Double screening and discussion: Marwa Arsanios and Nele Wohlatz
February 25, 2023, 5pm

Screening of Straub-Huillet’s Class Relations, with a talk by Annett Busch
February 21, 2023, 7pm

Screening and discussion: Marta Popivoda, Landscapes of Resistance
February 7, 2023, 7pm

Screening and discussion: Ana Vaz, Oraib Toukan, Deimantas Narkevičius, and Martha Rosler
January 31, 2023, 7pm

Screening and discussion: Deborah Stratman
January 28, 2023, 5pm

Double screening: Straub-Huillet and Atteyat Al-Abnoudy​
January 17, 2023, 7pm

Screening and discussion: Louis Henderson, Keith Sanborn, Liam Gillick and Anton Vidokle, and Rosalind Nashashibi
December 6, 2022, 7pm

Screening and discussion: Clemens Von Wedemeyer
December 3, 2022, 5pm

Double feature and discussion: Straub-Huillet and Matías Piñeiro
December 1, 2022, 6pm and 8pm


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