Real Emotions: Thinking in Film, KW Institute of Contemporary Art, Berlin

Real Emotions: Thinking in Film considers what the world is and what it has the potential to be. Film is a medium that is able to directly addresses human emotions and effect collective experience. This exhibition at KW Institute of Contemporary Art, running 23 February until 27 April, explores the question of how films transmit emotions that reach both the individual and the collective.

Film, as a practice, is able to liberate and give life to dreams, it also subconsciously teaches society patterns of behaviour. It is an extraordinarily powerful medium in which a subtly or radically different way of thinking can be put forth and tested in the world. Real Emotions: Thinking in Film takes over the exhibition space and examines how mainstream and arthouse films portray basic human emotions through images and narrative. The presentation also displays works by artists who have no interest in catering to the general public’s tastes, but still express the same interest in how the medium tells a story. Each of the selected pieces examine the construction of feelings, and use the practice to demonstrate the difference between film and reality, between real and fake feelings and, at the same time, their mutual and inescapable interdependence.

In contrast to a cinema screening, where the viewer’s position is fixed in one place, the exhibition allows audiences to move around and physically experience the act of watching. Independent scenes, removed from the cinematic whole, attract the viewers’ perception and invite the observers to devote their attention to them. This set-up undermines the way cinematic narrative is taken for granted, and demonstrates the conventions within which emotions are portrayed.

One of the participating artists is Loretta Fahrenholz and her work Ditch Plains (2013) focuses upon the deserted, post-hurricane Sandy New York. She uses the location as a stage for reenacting memories of cinematic genres, scenes or encounters. In her film, reality becomes unhinged from everyday life by the extreme event, offering a space in which to reinvent accepted behaviour. Another work is Ed Atkins and Simon Martin’s Untitled. Strawberry Poison Dart Frog: Demuxed ( 2008–11), which reduce film to its elementary components: a protagonist and a setting. The interplay of image and sound becomes the essential element, repeatedly hinting at a plot only to avoid any form of conventional narrative. Other filmmakers and artists included in the exhibition are Chantal Akerman, Sue de Beer, Harry Dodge and Stanya Kahn, Christian Jankowski, Jesper Just, Peter Roehr, Roee Rosen, John Smith and Mark Wallinger.

Real Emotions: Thinking in Film, 23 February – 27 April, KW Institute of Contemporary Art, KUNST-WERKE BERLIN e.V. Auguststraße 69 D-10117 Berlin.

1.Ed Atkins und Simon Martin, UNTITLED (STRAWBERRY POISON DART FROG: DEMUXED),2011, Film still, Courtesy the artists, Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Cabinet Gallery London und MOT International.