Mapping the City - Video Programme

5 April 2007

In connection with the exhibition ‘Mapping the City’ in Stedelijk Museum CS, SMCS on 11 is presenting a programme of short films and videos by artists, which are devoted to the condition of the city today.

Like their predecessors the Situationists, who are the point of departure for the exhibition, they conceive the city as a grand spectacle with which they wish to enter into critical engagement. But this engagement is much less likely to be accompanied by a moralising wagging of the finger than it was before.

The discrepancy between our personal experience of the city on the one hand and our conditioning by higher powers on the other is central to the films this evening. Some maintain a certain distance and regard the city and urbanity as if they were something being observed from outside, like an avatar in a video game. Then the city furnishes ever-changing, often pleasant moods and a continuous stream of urban images, and the movements of people in it almost take on the nature of a narrative. In this, the city can also serve as the focus for a discourse between history and actuality, between the city as the earlier centre of the age of industrialisation and the city as the commercialised theme park it has become today. Others record their own movements through the city, sometimes resulting in interactions with or interventions in public life, and sometimes not.

A number of videos make it clear that as a rule the image of the city is not defined by personal experience but by the media, and subtly take advantage of this through fictional additions, among other ways. In this they not only employ images but also, if desired, voice-overs, music and/or urban noises, analogous to the many stimuli that emanate from the city and its representations in the media.

It is clear that for many artists the city remains a point of departure of undiminished attraction. The programme below is therefore only a small selection from the work being created today.

Except for the short film by Ed van der Elsken, all of the videos shown were made very recently. Other work by Ed van der Elsken, Matthew Buckingham, Sarah Morris and Frank Hesse is also to be seen in the ‘Mapping the City’ exhibition. This show continues its run through May 20, 2007.

Complete programme:

Ed van Elsken (Ned, 1925-1990)

Een Fotograaf filmt Amsterdam – 1982 – 10’

Matthew Buckingham (US, b. 1963)

Obscure Moorings – 2006 – 23’

Sarah Morris (US, b. 1967)

Capital – 2000 – 18’18”

Aukje Dekker (Ned, b. 1983)

Stuck – 2006 – 4’

Marc Bijl (Ned, b. 1970)

Good Things – 2004 – 3’45

Gabriel Lester (Ned, b. 1972)

Urban Surface – 2005 – 10’40”

Cao Fei (China, b. 1978)

Cosplayers – 2004 – 8’

Valérie Jouve (Fr, b. 1964)

Grand Littoral – 2003 – 25’

Hala Elkoussy (Egypt, b. 1974)

Peripheral Stories – 2005 – 28’

Volko Kamensky (Ger, b. 1972)

Alles Was Wir Haben – 2004 – 22’

Mark Leckey (UK, b. 1964)

This Thing in Regent’s Park – ca. 8’

Frank Hesse (Ger, b. 1970)

Florenz, von St. Groce zum Kunsthistorischen Institut – 2006 – 12’12”

Voice commentaries or texts which may accompany the films are subtitled in English.

On the evening itself there will be more background information about the programme and the various films available.