Part Four / Screening: Éric Baudelaire, Letters to Max

Part Four
Screening: Éric Baudelaire, Letters to Max

Éric Baudelaire, Letters to Max, 2014.

Éric Baudelaire:

To Do With

Part Four
Screening: Éric Baudelaire, Letters to Max

Conversation: Éric Baudelaire and Omar Berrada

Admission starts at $5

December 4, 2021, 5–7pm
172 Classon Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

e-flux Screening Room presents Éric Baudelaire’s Letters to Max (2014, 103 minutes), followed by a conversation between Baudelaire and writer and curator Omar Berrada.

The screening and conversation comprise Part Four of Éric Baudelaire: To Do With, a four-day program taking place December 2-5 at e-flux Screening Room, 172 Classon Ave, Brooklyn. The program will present a selection of films and films-in-progress by Éric Baudelaire, in dialogue with works by Chantal Akerman and Naeem Mohaiemen, and followed by conversations with special guests Omar Berrada, Stuart Comer, Dennis Lim, Naeem Mohaiemen, Paige Sarlin, and Kaelen Wilson-Goldie.

Éric Baudelaire, Letters to Max
103 minutes

“Abkhazia is something of a paradox: a country that exists, in the physical sense of the word (a territory with borders, a government, a flag and a language), yet it has no legal existence because for almost twenty years it was not recognized by any other nation state. And so Abkhazia exists without existing, caught in a liminal space, a space in between realities. Which is why my letter to Max was something of a message in a bottle thrown at sea, a wink to the world of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi that Maxim Gvinjia seems to inhabit. But my letter arrived, and somehow fiction has penetrated the real.” And so Éric Baudelaire launched on a letter-writing campaign, 74 letters sent over 74 days, a script for a voiceover to a film in which Maxim Gvinjia, former Foreign Minister of the unrecognized state of Abkhazia, becomes the narrator. The film is structured by this exchange: letters that should not have arrived and yet somehow reached Max, his recorded responses, and images that Eric Baudelaire filmed in Abkhazia once their correspondence ended. As in The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi and 27 Years Without Images, the tools of cinema are not only at the service of information, but also act as makers of artefacts. What landscape footage is shown here: that of an emerging nation or that of an old country? The mute landscape of nature or the talkative one of politics? Once again, Baudelaire drags us into the obscure and twisted meanders of history. (Jean-Pierre Rehm)

Experimental Film, Video Art
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Éric Baudelaire: To Do With

French-American artist Eric Baudelaire has developed an oeuvre primarily composed of film, photography, silkscreen prints, performance, publications, and installations. In his research-based practice, Baudelaire examines the relationship between images, past events, and their documentation. Interested in the role of the cinematographic image as an index marker, Baudelaire creates narratives in which recorded facts serve as a starting point for an exploration of the unknown. In examining the changes in human behavior through interrogating the political structures that govern global, national, and micro-communities, Baudelaire’s practice could be read through a bio-political perspective. Navigating the experience of urban living; the global, technical, and economic dependencies of war; movement and the contemporary paradigm of geographical proximity and distance, his works evoke a hauntingly provocative perspective on the current political climate.

Omar Berrada is a writer and curator whose work focuses on the politics of translation and intergenerational transmission. He is the author of the poetry collection Clonal Hum (2020), and the editor or co-editor of several books, including Album: Cinémathèque de Tanger, a multilingual volume about film in Tangier and Tangier on film (2012), The Africans, a book on migration and racial politics in Morocco (2016), and Ahmed Bouanani’s posthumous history of Moroccan cinema, La Septième Porte (2020). His exhibitions include Memory Games: Ahmed Bouanani Now (2016) and Saba Innab: Station Point (2019). His writing was published in numerous exhibition catalogs and magazines, including Frieze, Bidoun, and Asymptote, as well as anthologies such as The University of California Book of North African Literature (2013) and Poetic Justice: An Anthology of Contemporary Moroccan Poetry (2020). Currently living in New York, he teaches at The Cooper Union where he co-organizes the IDS Lecture Series.

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