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PRESENT CLUB: Film programme I

La cabina
Antonio Mercero
1972 | 35min
Proposed by Olivier Gevart (Eté 78)**

Even though La Cabina was created 45 years ago, it is still a very powerful movie today. The Spanish director never offered a unique explanation of the film. He preferred leaving the interpretation to the audience. Various ideas come to mind when watching the film: the manipulation by an invisible, unknown hand; the consequences of a society constantly looking for entertainment and having fun, and that has stopped to think; the inability of an individual who is part of a process and of the society, as a whole, to see the big picture and to understand what is going on. La Cabina forces us to reflect upon and to react to what we see in our everyday life. It encourages us to act.

Eté 78 is a private, philanthropic, non-profit and non-commercial art space located in Ixelles, which goals are: helping and encouraging artists to develop projects that allow them to dare, to develop, to try out new ways in their practice and to confront them with a public and engaging in a dialog with our visitors to discuss artworks and the exhibition. In a humble way and with a human size, through visual art, literature, sound, lectures and dance, we believe that artists and specific projects can open new doors and our horizons.

The Unity of All Things
Alexander Carver and Daniel Schmidt
2013 | 97 min
Proposed by members part of the experimental research project Uncertainty Scenarios (Enough Room for Space).

The Unity of All Things is a work of experimental science fiction about the construction of a particle accelerator on the U.S./Mexico border, and is grappling with questions of self and other by employing particle physics as a metaphor for the morphing nature of human identity. The film engages the utopian impulses of the genre, not through the imagining of another world, but through the rendering of this world as Other. All subjects are treated as alien, or as radical others, who search for, or advance different ideological, psychological, or sexual ideals of belonging. Subjects oscillate between the contemplation of past societal traumas and idealizations of futurity that refuse to synthesize or resolve, but instead reveal a troubling satire of the present.

Uncertainty Scenarios is a collective experimental research project that explores the ways people throughout history have tried to speculate, predict and anticipate the future and different attitudes that go along with this. The project creates a common ground for a group of artists that all share interest in the concerns of the project and aims to establish a context for the development of new works. Together we reflect on possible consequences of current global socio-political or ecological issues and question our position as artists towards these. Uncertainty Scenarios tries to become an artistic tool to grasp the ‘futurity’ that is already, and increasingly, a part of our present.

Community Action Center
A.K. Burns and A.L Steiner
2010 | 69min
Proposed by Jessica Gysel and Katja Mater (GIRLS LIKE US)

GIRLS LIKE US unfolds feminist legacies in a playful yet radical way, mapping possible routes towards a non-patriarchy. Community Action Center does exactly this: infinitely complex gender and performance roles that are both real and fantastical, set to a sound track of music culled from the worldwide sisterhood. It embodies a feminist fantasy where the personal is political (and also sexual), with a focus on intergenerational exchange, re-appropriating our bodies and shining the spotlight upon an international scene of queer artists.

Jessica Gysel and Katja Mater, together with Sara Kaaman & Marnie Slater are the editors of GIRLS LIKE US, an independent publication turning the spotlight on an international community of women from all genders within arts, culture and activism. Through personal stories, essays and vanguard visuals GIRLS LIKE US unfolds feminist legacies in arts and writing. Mixing politics with pleasure, the magazine is mapping new routes towards a feminist, non patriarchal future.

Dark Habits (Entre tinieblas)
Pedro Almodóvar
1983 | 114min
Proposed by Marnie Slater and Alberto García del Castillo (Buenos Tiempos, Inc.)

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have been practicing LGBTQIF+ and aids activism through secular-to-nun transvestism since 1979, when the order was founded by Reverend Mother, Sister Hysterectoria, Sister Missionary Position and Sister Vicious PHB to promulgate universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt. Since the founding of the order in San Francisco, USA, convents have been formed independently in several cities around the world. Marnie and Alberto, who run Buenos Tiempos, Int. together, met the Sœurs of the Couvent du Nord in Lille, France: Garde Cuisse Silver-Tige de l’Amour, Novice Pupuce du Pubis, Novice Yse Riot, Sœur Didasscalie, Sœur Lyric Quand on la Nique, Sœur Salem de la Langue Ardente and Soeur Sissy Phyllis. The Sœurs of the Couvent du Nord have lots to say about the present.

Pedro Almodóvar’s Dark Habits (Entre Tinieblas, 1983) illustrates a queer and activist approach – politically and aesthetically – to Catholic Sisterhood. A Time Out London review described the film as, “slapdash, occasionally slow-moving, haphazardly plotted. That it’s also wildly funny, bitchy, affecting and surreal is a tribute to [Almodóvar’s] perennial warmth and wit. Nightclub singer Yolanda is impelled, via a bit of drug trouble, into the arms of the Mother Superior of the Convent of Humble Redeemers. Lying low in a spacious cell, decked with the trappings of Catholic kitsch, she finds the demands of the religious life needn’t cramp her style too much: Sister Rat pens bodice-rippers, the Mother Superior jacks off in the privacy of her office, Sister Manure has LSD-fuelled religious ecstasies, and Sister Sin is spotted from a bedroom window wrestling with a tiger.”

Dark Habits will be screened in Spanish, with English subtitles.

Buenos Tiempos, Int. is an online exhibition space thematically concerned with “faggotry as it is today” – recent shows include Gülsün Karamustafa, Natalie Diaz, Natasha Papadopoulou, Steev Lemercier, Vava Dudu, Juliana Huxtable and CAConrad. It is a collaborative production initiative focused on “power transvestism” – its productions have been presented in Petunia magazine (2014), at La Loge in Brussels (2015) and at Kunstnernes Hus in Oslo (2016) between other venues. It is the programmer of an annual Evening of Poetry in Brussels – in 2016, the first edition included Olivia Dunbar, Benjamin Seror and Geo Wyeth – and the organizer of a yearly summer party in collaboration with Girls Like Us magazine, also in Brussels. Alberto García del Castillo and Marnie Slater founded Buenos Tiempos, Int. in 2014.