7. junij/june, 21.00 // Kino/Cinema Udarnik // vstopnina: 10€/7€ za študente, dijake in upokojence
“Silent films from Southeastern Europe shown and accompanied with live, contemporary music”
A Project by RDEČA RAKETA (Maja Osojnik, Matija Schellander) and the FILMARCHIV AUSTRIA (Karl Wratschko).
In cooperation with ZAVOD UDARNIK & EPEKA.
“Traversing the Balkans” wants to strengthen the cooperation with Southeast European cultural institutions as well as the local music scene. In addition, they want to do their part in regard to coming to terms with the “shared” past. Part of the goal is also to create a certain sustainability, in order to encourage and facilitate other collaborations in future projects of other Austrian artists and scientists.
On a concert tour through various cities from Slovenia to Turkey, silent films dealing with or originating from Southeastern Europe will be shown and accompanied with live, contemporary music. Each venue will have its own customized film and music program, which will be designed in cooperation between the Filmarchiv Austria and the local partner organization. To that end, the content of the silent film archives of the Filmarchiv Austria will be augmented with material from the inventory of the partner organizations. These materials will be presented together for the very first time. The programs have the goal of reflecting the history of a region, and also, in a sense, of bringing the regional history “back home.” This will be accomplished by always complementing the film recordings from the Filmarchiv Austria with others from the collections of the regional film archives. This course of action will promote the exchange of cinematographic documents and their public viewing, and thereby advance the process of coming to terms with the shared history. Well-known images of momentous events in the Balkans (for example, the outbreak of the First World War) could be supplemented with documents from various parts of Southeastern Europe. This may foster a more pluralistic understanding of these events.
The film programs, as arranged, will be accompanied with live music by Rdeča Raketa (Maja Osojnik, Matija Schellander). Performances will take place in renowned cultural institutions and/or festivals throughout the region. Performances are scheduled in film archives, at film and music festivals, and in galleries. Rdeča Raketa has already accompanied two silent films as part of the “CinemaSessions” program at the Filmarchiv Austria in 2011: the Croatian experimental film “Nocturno” and the Greek silent film “Daphnis kai Chloe.”
Just like in 2011, the musical performances in the Balkans shall be based on previously developed compositional sketches. Special emphasis will be placed on the process of formation, on the constant back and forth from which the music derives its moments of suspense, its surprising twists and ultimately, its aesthetic value. The artist duo works primarily with a set of electronic instruments, which are combined with a recorder, voice, various devices, audio tapes, or an electric bass, as needed. However, simply re-enacting a composition is not Rdeča Raketa’s style. Rather, Maja Osojnik and Matija Schellander are embarking on a musical journey which is in a state of constant flux and change. In regards to “Traversing the Balkans,” regional musical traditions and styles will be integrated into their play. Collaborations with local musicians are possible, as well.
This process of coming to terms with history and performing together will lead Rdeča Raketa from Slovenia through the countries of Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Albania and Greece, all the way to Turkey. The compositions, improvisations and film selection will be subject to continual changes. At the end of “Traversing,” a selection of movies from the pool of those that were “recovered,” shown and musically accompanied shall be performed in Austria as a kind of cinematographic and musical “Road Movie.” The films will subsequently be digitalized and released as a DVD, together with live recordings of Rdeča Raketa’s soundtrack.
Since the fall of the Iron Curtain and as a result of European integration, Europe has been rapidly growing together. The bulk of societal and political attention, however, is still being paid to Western Europe rather than to the states of the former Eastern Bloc and the Balkans. That holds true in the arts as well: It is much more likely to find Austrian artists and art institutions in Western European countries. With just a few exceptions, the tour schedules of Austrian artists and ensembles rarely include any of the Southeastern European countries. Since 1989, there has been almost no expansion of the old, historic connections, with the result that the impact of the erstwhile isolation of Southeast Europe is still sorely felt today.
This phenomenon is not limited to artistic endeavors, but is present in the scientific community as well. Cooperation with academic or cultural actors in Southeast Europe is still the exception rather than the rule. Both culturally and politically, far more efforts are undertaken to come to terms with the shared history with Western European countries than with the neighbors in the Southeast. Even here, the old blocs live on in people’s minds. It is precisely the “shared” history of the Danube Monarchy and the regional proximity that ought to have a strengthening effect on both the interest and propensity for cooperation.
In the last few years, the Filmarchiv Austria has cultivated its relations to its counterparts in Southeastern Europe. The shared past of the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary has created an often overlapping cinematographic heritage. Back then, the majority of the film production companies, usually located in Vienna, were sending their cameramen to Southeastern Europe to document life and occurrences in the southern part of the Danube Monarchy. The few recordings from that time that have been preserved “survived” in the Filmarchiv Austria and in similar institutions in the successor republics of former Yugoslavia. At the same time, production companies from that region worked all over Europe and produced a great number of recordings that are, as of yet, unknown in those countries.
Besides its intensive collection activities, the Filmarchiv Austria has increasingly devoted itself to the musical interpretation of films from the “Silent Era”. A large number of contemporary composers and musicians have been invited to use the footage as a kind of musical score or as the starting point for improvisation. In that process, they were searching for new approaches and interpretations when it comes to the expressiveness, impact and topicality of the newly combined film and music. The resulting events resonated strongly with both the audience and the musicians. In the context of these live music performances, silent film – often dismissed as inferior – was established as a vibrant part of contemporary art.