Art Basel 2016 Film Programme

Art Basel reveals its programme of film and video work for the upcoming art fair held in Switzerland later this month. This year’s line-up has been curated for the second time by the Cairo-based film curator and lecturer, Maxa Zoller, who is known for her series of experimental film screenings across art institutions and project spaces. Marian Masone, New York film lecturer and widely-published writer, accompanies Zoller in the programme’s curation.

Each film screened at Art Basel will be accompanied by a Q&A with the filmmaker(s) and one of the curators, while three collections of short works will also be shown at various intervals throughout the fair. Artist and filmmaker Fiona Tan will present her first feature-length piece History’s Future (2016), which introduces a character who has been so severely beaten that he has lost all his memories and has to rebuild his life. This touches on sensitive yet relevant subjects of violence, shock, and being omnipresent yet also being nowhere.

Another first feature-length project, Where is Rocky II? (2016) by Pierre Bismuth, will also be screened at the fair. The 93-minute genre-crossing film tells the story of the search for an artificial rock hidden in the California desert in the 1970s by the artist Ed Ruscha. It is simultaneously a documentary, a crime thriller and a work of art, blurring the line between reality and fiction. Elsewhere, Omer Fast’s most recent work Continuity (2016) will be presented by the Festival del film Locarno in collaboration with Art Basel. The film follows an emotional homecoming that turns uncanny as the two protagonists repeatedly invite young men into their home for a mysterious ritual.

Additional highlights include Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania (1971/1972) by Jonas Mekas and Burden (2016) by Timothy Marrinan and Richard Dewey. The Short Film programme covers a variety of themes; the first is entitled Arbeit ist schön, macht aber viel Kunst – a rewording of the famous Karl Valentin phrase ‘art is beautiful but it takes a lot of work’ – and focuses on the relation between work and value, particularly manual and virtual work. The second, Sound Spaces of Trauma, looks at how we come to terms with the past using classical musical compositions, while the third Migrating Birds tackles ideas of mass migration using metaphorical language.

Art Basel, 16-19 June, Messepl. 1, 4005 Basel.

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1. Still from Omer Fast’s Continuity.