Tag Archives: Asia And Europe

Confounding Expectations: The Forgotten Space: Film Screening and Conversation with Allan Sekula

© Allan Sekula & Noël Burch. Still from ‘The Forgotten Space’, 2010, digital film, color, sound; 112 mins. Produced by DocEye Film, Amsterdam, in co-production with WildArt Film, Vienna. Courtesy DocEye Film, Amsterdam

Aperture Foundation, The Vera List Center for Art and Politics, and The Photography Program at Parsons the New School for Design presents:

A special screening of The Forgotten Space, a film by Allan Sekula & Noël Burch. A conversation with Allan Sekula will follow at the end of the screening.

Monday, December 5, 2011, 8:00 pm

Tishman Auditorium at The New School University
66 West 12th Street
New York, New York 10011

The Aperture Foundation, the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, and The Photography Program at Parsons the New School for Design presents a special screening of The Forgotten Space, a film by Allan Sekula and Noël Burch, followed by a conversation with Sekula.

The Forgotten Space follows container cargo aboard ships, barges, trains and trucks, listening to workers, engineers, planners, politicians, and those marginalized by the global transport system. We visit displaced farmers and villagers in Holland and Belgium, underpaid truck drivers in Los Angeles, seafarers aboard mega-ships shuttling between Asia and Europe, and factory workers in China, whose low wages are the fragile key to the whole puzzle. And in Bilbao, we discover the most sophisticated expression of the belief that the maritime economy, and the sea itself, is somehow obsolete.

A range of materials is used: descriptive documentary, interviews, archive stills and footage, clips from old movies. The result is an essayistic, visual documentary about one of the most important processes that affects us today.The Forgotten Space is based on Sekula’s book Fish Story (1995), seeking to understand and describe the contemporary maritime world in relation to the complex symbolic legacy of the sea.

Born in 1951, Allan Sekula’s works with photographic sequences, written texts, slide shows and sound recordings have traveled a path close to cinema, sometimes referring to specific films since the early 1970s. However, with the exception of a few video works from the early 70s and early 80s, he has stayed away from the moving image. This changed in 2001, with the first work that Sekula was willing to call a film, Tsukiji, a “city symphony” set in Tokyo’s giant fish market.

Born in 1932, Noël Burch has been living in France since 1951. While primarily known for his theoretical writings, he has always positioned himself as a filmmaker and has directed over twenty titles, mostly documentaries. From 1967 to 1972, he collaborated with Janine Bazin and Andrè S. Labarthe for the celebrated series,Cinèastes de Notre Temps, and directed seven programs which are considered to have renewed the “film-maker portrait” in the heroic years of French public television. Burch co-founded the Institut de Formation Cinèmatographique, an alternative film school associating theory and practice.

Carrie Levy

All images © Carrie Levy

This project came across my desk a few days ago via one of our contributing writers, Susan Bright. Both beautiful and poetic, it is also disquieting and dark. It’s serious stuff, in the sense that it addresses some of the underlying tensions of photography – namely the politics of representation – not in an obvious way, but by various subtle and beguiling means.

“For my latest body of work, You Before All (2008-present), says Levy, “my photographs continue to concentrate on my camera’s ability to harshly manipulate its subjects while controlling their bodies and emotions. The simple approach and ominous tone in this series introduces two paradoxical states: pain and ecstasy along side villain and victim. As the photographer, I want the viewer to question my motives as they experience the potential harm or pleasure inflicted upon my models. Being a female artist and the authority behind this work, I chose solely male subjects in order to enhance the submissive nature of the imagery.
You Before All questions the line that separates pain from pleasure. The work magnifies how in the moment it is hard to decipher between these two very different emotions. Both are intense, but are very much the opposite of another.The aim in this body of work is to ask the viewer to uncover which one of these emotions is behind a single frame and where he or she is more sympathetic. Throughout the series, my role as the photographer is to play the part of the predator. I contort my subjects to look like victims. However, whether they are victims of pain or pleasure is up to the viewer to decide.”

Carrie Levy is a photographer and a photo editor based in Brooklyn, New York. She received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2000 and her MFA from The Royal College of Art, London, in 2005. She is represented by Daniel Cooney Fine Art since 2002 and has exhibited throughout the US, Asia, and Europe. Trolley Books published her first monograph in 2005 titled 51 Months. Her next solo show opens at Daniel Cooney on 17 February 2011. Besides widely exhibiting her works, Levy has also been a photo editor at numerous publications such as The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek. Today she is a freelance senior photo editor at GQ magazine. Levy is part-time professor of photography at the School of Visual Arts.