Harkat Studios (हरकत) Mumbai

21. September 2019 - 20.00h  |  September 21st, 2019 - 8 p.m.
Bungalow #75, Aram Nagar 2, JP Road, Versova,
Andheri West, Mumbai, India

Werkschau | Michael Brynntrup  –  AND / versus / OR  (analogue / digital)

Harkat is an international boutique arts studio with a passion for film, new media, community art spaces and contemporary art. Based in Mumbai & Berlin, Harkat takes many forms and identities across disciplines & related creative industries. As an alternative performance & arts space, we have hosted more than 150 shows in the past year in the mediums of theatre, film, music, community projects & contemporary art. We support the new, unheard, upcoming, exciting, cutting edge, the political, the forgotten, nostalgic, melancholic, soul stirring, the beautiful & more. And that's what Harkat is. Harkat. (हरकत)

As a teaser to the 16mm film festival this year, Harkat Studios is proud to present a curated selection of Brynntrup's films. The 11 works center around the relentless question of "and vs or - analogue /digital". – Is it really a "versus" or is it more "and"? Can these two co-exist, or should one be forced to take sides? – See for yourself. – The screening will be partly in digital and in analogue format from 8mm/16mm prints. (program notes Harkat Studios, September 2019)

Man nannte ihn bereits den „Posterboy des deutschen Undergroundfilms“: Michael Brynntrup, Medienkünstler, Professor für Experimentalfilm und eine feste Größe auf internationalen Festivals. Er selbst fasste seine Biographie recht knapp zusammen: „Tod des eineiigen Zwillingsbruders bei der Geburt, seither Studium der Philosophie.“ Sein bisheriges Leben war allerdings weniger kontemplativ als produktiv. – Er hat ein umfangreiches Werk geschaffen, das sich mit Themen wie Tod, Geburt, Medien, Grenzüberschreitungen, Extremen und Tabus auseinandersetzt.
(Programmtext Lichtblick-Kino Berlin, Oktober 2014 - Hansi Oostinga)

Michael Brynntrup is an experimental film-maker and media artist living in Berlin. With short movies, shot mostly on super 8mm, he became the poster child of German underground cinema in the 1980s. Soon he moved on to his personal version of a Cinema of Transgression, self-obsessive and self-abusive, focussing on issues like death, birth, narcissism, while simultaneously commenting on mass media and the medium of film itself. Brynntrup is a regular guest on international film festivals, where his films have won numerous prices. Since 2006 he is also a professor of film and video at HBK Braunschweig.
(program notes Image Movement Berlin, July 2013 - Andreas Reihse)

[english]   [deutsch]

Programm | Details  –  AND / versus / OR  (analogue / digital)
[ 83 min | 1983-2017 | 11 filmvideo ]

TODESSTREIFEN - ein deutscher Film
9 min | 1983 | Super8 + 35mm | col | sound [MBCFILM#02]
(Dreifachprojektion) | (triple projection)
Between an overgrown West Berlin graveyard and a desolate stretch of land under communist rule, there is a supposedly dead no-man's land. - Around noon, the main character arrives at this inevitable place.
{Information sheet of the film, 1983}

At the start of 1983, Brynntrup joined forces with almost twenty filmmakers, artists, musicians, and others active in the squatter cinema movement to form the collective OYKO. [...] On July 17, 1983 in the Hasenheide park in Kreuzberg, OYKO put on their first public event: a five screen – better, a five bed sheet – open air projection of super-8 films accompanied by live music. Such an expanded cinema event was not untypical in the super-8 world, in which innovative and performative modes of film exhibition flourished.
(Marc Siegel, "Reflections on Arriving [...]", In: "West Berlin Film in the ‘80s", b_books verlag, Berlin, 2008)
7 min | 1986 | Super8 + 16mm | col | sound [MBCFILM#15]
(Problemfilm) | (problem film)
Sooner or later everyone is confronted with this problem: what to do with the body. A problem film. - Psychosomatic birth preparation with practical exercises for euthanasia.
{Information sheet of the film, 1986}

He is addressing himself directly to the audience. He looks into the camera, he talks to the spectator, he reads texts off camera - or he displays written statements like "please publish after my death" (in »Testamento Memori«). (...) In some of his films the skull is his partner and his second ego (»Musterhaft«, 1985 or »Testamento Memori«, 1986), with whom he talks, plays, kisses, and even has sexual intercourse. The death theme runs through his work from his early films on. Death is the end in the beginning, before life has really started. (...) »Testamento Memori« ironically describes the birth-death theme. Texts with music about breathing techniques accompany his playing with the skull, in which the exhortation at the end is satirized. In this film his talent to create his own new images comes to full expression. His face, his hands, the skull, and a 'Chinese' bird cage dangle in the room like silver shadows on a golden background.
(Berlin - Images in Progress, Katalog Hallwalls Buffalo, Mai 1989 - Birgit Hein)
VERONIKA (vera ikon)
VERONIKA (vera ikon)
12 min | 1986 | Super8 + 16mm | bw | sound [MBCFILM#17]
(Trailerfilm) | (trailer)
The biblical prohibition of images word for word. God's life story in the form of a trailer: from zero B.C. to the Second Coming of Christ - coming soon.
{Information sheet of the film, 1986}

Brynntrup even went so far as to make a special promotional short for »JESUS« called »VERONIKA«. As well as raising theological questions on the Turin Shroud, »VERONIKA« divulges the best way to knock a nail through the hand; how to experience eternal mysteries anew, and that yes, He is coming "to this theatre - soon." - Still no joy with the Catholic church.
(Headpress Manchester, 3/91 - David Kerekes)
2 min | 1987 | Super8 + 16mm | col | sound [MBCFILM#18]
(Intermezzo) | (intermezzo)
Women piss too - only less.
{Information sheet of the film, 1987}
DIE BOTSCHAFT - Totentanz 8
THE MASSAGE - Death Dance 8
10 min | 1989 | Super8 + 16mm | bw | sound [MBCFILM#26]
"blind spot: term for a currently not reachable or visible space."
{Information sheet of the film, 1989}

Totentanz 8 returns to the figure of a young woman, perhaps the young girl from the very first film grown older. She climbs a V-necked stairwell, lighting on a birdcage stuffed with bird feathers before flinging them into an open courtyard. She appears again in an immense, emptied warehouse space, the image now rephotographed and solarized. She begins to dance through this fantastical silvery sheen, this veil of abandon. She recalls for us that death is also a place for celebration. Her frenzy spent, she rests in a large window opposite the skull, continuing to cast feathers. She takes up the skull and kisses it long and longingly with her tongue. Hers is a final embrace and acceptance, an eroticization of death, a romantic fury. In the end, in the film's sumptuous closing image, she casts feathers out the window in a storm of solarization, the light pouring through its aperture in a silver storm which suggests another world waiting beyond.
(Millenium Film Journal No. 30/31, Fall 1997 - Mike Hoolboom)
5:30 min | 1993 | 16mm + 35mm | col | sound [MBCFILM#42]
(Kopffilm) | (head film)
Using found footage from the early 70s porn films, Michael Brynntrup creates a humorous and titillating moving collage of mediated erotic imagery - one that keeps promising the viewer always anticipated cum shot, as well as asking the question, "How 'graphic' does an image have to be before it comes pornographic?"
(Mix '95 New York, Festival Catalogue)

»All You Can Eat« by Michael Brynntrup takes the 'cum-shot' to new heights with a montage of some of the wildest, orgasmic, facial expressions ever composed to a mellow, easy listening sound track.
(Boys On Film No.6, cover text, dangerous to know 1996)
1:20 min | 2000 | 35mm + internet | bw | stereo [MBCFILM#54]
(Festivalfilm) | (film festival film)
Film is no longer what it should have been.
Rhythm in the age of its digital producability.
{Information sheet of the film, 2012}

In Michael Brynntrup's playful internet piece Kein Film | No Film: A Motion Picture Experience a stick figure walks mechanically on the spot. (...) Brynntrup, in his choice of title, also insists that his web art is decidedly not a film. The manifesto flashes up on the computer terminal: "Film is no longer what it should have been. Rhythm in the age of its digital producibility." Brynntrup therewith challenges his viewer to reconsider what the status of the old medium of celluloid is in the digital age.
(Alice Kuzniar, "The Problem of Agency in the Digital Era: From the New Media Artist Michael Brynntrup to Run Lola Run", Rutgers German Studies - Papers Series, New Brunswick, NJ, 2003)
The Hong Kong Showcase (eine Fallstudie)
The Hong Kong Showcase (a case study)
3:20 min | 2005 | DV | col | stereo [MBCFILM#64]
(minikino) | (micro movie)
“The world is everything that is the showcase.”
Living in a globalized world - a case study.
(loosely based on Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus logico-philosophicus, sentence no.1)
{Information sheet of the film, 2005}

The Emporio Armani shop window in Hong Kong is a small theatre of the global fashion industry. At night, a window cleaner sways across the stage, accompanied by classical Chinese music.
(http://www.idfa.nl/idfa_en_filmdescription.asp?filmid=27497, October 2006)
ACHTUNG - die Achtung (concentration chair)
ACHTUNG - Respect (concentration chair)
14 min | 2001 | 35mm | bw + col | stereo [MBCFILM#56]
(Sensations- und Besinnungsfilm) | (sensation film)
There can be no doubt that all our knowledge begins with experience.
(Immanuel Kant, Introduction to the Critique of Pure Reason, opening sentence)
Born in the body (...and in time...)
{Information sheet of the film, 2001}

Certainly even today some viewers will be affected by this work. Respect for the true art of filmmaking demanded that even the closeup be kept in, where a razor slices through an eye.
(Warning introduction to the German archival copy of UN CHIEN ANDALOU)
Siebenundsiebzig Vulkan
Seventy-seven Volcano
17:00 min | 2017 | HD (16:9) | col | stereo [MBCFILM#80]
(Wanderer im Nebelmeer) | (Wanderer in the Sea of Fog)
"Close your bodily eye so that you can see with the mental eye first your picture. Then show what you have seen in the dark, that it can have an effect on others from the outside in."
(Caspar David Friedrich in letters and confessions)

More than 100 million people in 196 countries are creating change in their communities. (www.change.org)
{Information sheet of the film, 2017}

2:12 min | 2016 | HD (+GIF) | bw+col | stereo [MBCFILM#79]
(maschinenlesbarer Film) | (computer generated film)
Bye-bye, bits and bytes: I’ve mathemetized myself into digital codes.
-- .. -.-. .... .- . .-.. -... .-. -.-- -. -. - .-. ..- .--.

QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is an optical label that contains information arranged in a square grid on a white background, which can be read by an imaging device (such as a camera, scanner, etc.) (en.wikipedia.org)
Bye-bye, bits and bytes: I’ve mathemetized myself into digital codes.
{Information sheet of the film, 2016}



Being used to a certain aesthetic presented in mainstream TV and cinema, people often find experimental short films strange and hard to digest. However the personal works of Michael Brynntrup, one of the most profilic German filmmakers working mainly on the underground circuit, are regarded as small jewels of cinematic culture that are very appealing and attract enthusiastic audiences.

Michael Brynntrup often performs the leading role in his movies. Yet his films are different than the films originating from an autobiographical filmmaking tradition in North America who use private lives as a form of artistic expression. When Michael Brynntrup exposes his subjectivity, it's not a one-to-one representation and he addreses always the human being in general. His films can be seen as experimental reflections of a narcissistic artist who presents himself as a man portraying himself to others who are supposed to recognise themselves in him.

"I see cinema, in essence, not as mass media, but as an individual experience that takes place in the mind of each viewer." (Michael Brynntrup) He leaves the audience to decide on the ambivalence of his work and to reflect on themselves while identifying with the exposed character in the film. As an experimental and independent filmmaker who sees his work as a medial self-reflection (film as metafilm) and working from a gay male perspective, he tries to direct his films to different contextual and technical limits. How well can reality be presented? What limits do morals and the media set? Despite his preoccupation with heavy existential themes of death and personal identity in his work, his vision is often ironic. He is able to integrate a personal diaristic strategy using humour and pathos to subvert, to create films which are both intimate and visually stunning.

(Tampere International Short Film Festival, catalogue March 2004 - Maarit Jaakkola)

Michael Brynntrup

Born in Münster, Germany, 1959. Studied in Freiburg, Rome and Berlin. Master degree Fine Arts at the Braunschweig School of Art in 1991. Experimental poems, texts, paintings, photography, fotocopies, performances, installations and exhibitions since 1977. Over 70 experimental short films and videos since 1981, three feature films. Digital art in interactive media since 1995 (CD-ROM, DVD and internet).

Film exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art New York (1987, 1992 and 1999). Numerous international exhibitions and film awards. Organisation of avantgarde and gay film events for museums, institutions and international film festivals. Publications on Super8 and Off-Off-Cinemas. Guest lecturer on Experimental Film and Interactive Media (e.g. at Merz Akademie Stuttgart and at Beijing Normal University Zhuhai/China). Since 2006 Professor for Film/Video at Braunschweig University of Art. - The artist lives and works.

Personal notice: As an independant 'experimental' film-maker who sees his task in particular in a medial self-reflection (film as metafilm) I try to lead films in all its different forms to contextual and technical borders. (And naturally I make the viewers come along to these borders). I comprehend film in its essence not as a mass media but as an individual experience which takes place in the head of each viewer.


Michael Brynntrup

Geboren 1959 in Münster/Westfalen, Studium Kunstgeschichte und Philosophie in Freiburg und Rom. Seit 1982 in Berlin, 1987-91 Studium Freie Kunst (Filmklasse der HBK Braunschweig, Prof.Büttenbender/Hein), 1991 Meisterschüler. Diverse Künste und Copyart seit 1977. Über 60 Filme und Video (drei Langfilmprojekte) seit 1981. Digitale Künste in interaktiven Medien seit 1995 (CD-ROM, DVD und internet).

'Film Exhibition' im Museum of Modern Art New York (1987, 1992 und 1999). Zahlreiche Werkschauen, viele Filmpreise, Organisation und Präsentation von Experimentalfilm-Reihen im In- und Ausland. Stipendiat des Kunstfonds e.V. Bonn (1993). Publikationen zu den Themen Super-Acht und Berliner Off-Off-Kinos. Gastdozenturen für experimentellen Film und interaktive Medien (u.a. an der Merz Akademie Stuttgart und an der Beijing Normal University Zhuhai/China). Seit 2006 Professor für Film/Video an der Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig. - Der Künstler lebt und arbeitet.

Persönliche Anmerkung: Als unabhängiger 'experimenteller' Filmemacher, der seine Aufgabe vor allem in einer medialen Selbstreflektion sieht (Film als Metafilm), versuche ich, Film in allen seinen Erscheinungsformen an dessen inhaltliche und technische Grenzen zu führen. (Und selbstverständlich nehme ich den Zuschauer immer mit an diese Grenzen). - Ich begreife Film in seinem Wesenskern nicht als Massenmedium, sondern als individuelles Erlebnis, das sich vor allem in den Köpfen jedes einzelnen Zuschauers abspielt.