Cinema Conversación LGBTQ* #4
Lily Scherlis, Anna-Lea Schmitt, Nora Smith
Cinema Conversación LGBTQ* #4
Screening & Artist Talk
Featuring Lily Scherlis, Nora Smith and Anna-Lea Schmitt
For the fourth edition of the Cinema Conversación LGBTQ* series of film screenings/artist’s talks, taking place Friday, January 11th 2019, 7pm, SomoS proudly presents an evening of queer cinema and conversation, curated by Zsombor Bobák. Presenting the work of artists Lily Scherlis (USA/Berlin), Anna-Lea Schmitt (Berlin), Nora Smith (Lausanne), we explore queer intimacy in the disembodied genderless digital realm, and gender-fluid bodies and sexual dissidence within a pornographic context.
The screenings will be followed by a joint discussion led by Zsombor Bobák with Lily Scherlis, Anna-Lea Schmitt, Nora Smith, and Rosario Gallardo, performer in Smith’s I Fall in Love with Everyone.
Apart from the screenings, several photo works by Nora Smith will be presented.
Cinema Conversación brings the audience in direct dialogue with artists and filmmakers, thus creating a platform where thoughts and experiences can be shared freely and where the usual separation between spectator and artist is lifted.
The program series deliberately focuses on LGBTQ* experiences and facilitates an ongoing discussion about feelings, desires, issues, goals, and social, political, and artistic positions of LGBTQ* individuals and communities. Besides the thematic focus, Cinema Conversación is also a platform to challenge and question the rigid boundaries of film and cinema, to expand on the idea of what the cinematic arts could mean, and to experiment with the wide range of genres and artistic practices involved in moving image-based productions.
Lily Scherlis – Interstice/Objectivity
Lily Scherlis’ 11 minute video Interstice is an attempt to embody queer intimacy. It incarnates the ongoing cloud conversation that undergirds almost all intimate relationships in two gender-fluid bodies in the darkness of non-space. It takes the text from all of the SMS-based interaction of the first two weeks of a queer relationship as its script, the silent verbal contact that punctuates and coordinates actual physical encounters. It renders this underlying conversation as an intimate space unto itself, a dark room where the displaced and digitized voices are given bodies as pixels. The vocal grain and the bodies work together with the script to provoke friction with the viewer’s desire to map the conversants into clear, binarized gender roles. The piece, along with most of Scherlis’ work, tries not only to represent queer intimacy in an age of digital love, but to queer our experience of networked interpersonal contact and technologically-facilitated affection. It’s a phenomenologically-investigative trip into how communication technology at once forecloses certain kinds of interpersonal contact but also opens up opportunities for new, queered intimacies and renderings thereof. Interstice is a hyper-literal attempt to make room for queer voices.
Interstice is presented in tandem with Objectivity, a 20 min. video work which explores what happens to a digitally-originating textual dialogue where a gender binary is imposed upon the visual imagery.
I Fall in Love with Everyone – Nora Smith
I Fall in Love with Everyone by Nora Smith presents a vision of sexualities experienced as an emancipation of the private space into the public one, where the body is fluid and sensitive. In her video, explicit and unreal imagery meet, using the pornographic context to present a different expression of desire and self-objectification. Made-to-be perfect 3D bodies are diluted into tangible ones sharing passionate and respectful relationships. Eventually, we see organic shapes emerge, a sexuality made of emotions and fusions. This short movie explores fantasies, claims non-normative bodies and sexual dissidence.
Nora Smith is deeply fascinated by the body; our incredible ability to experience touching and being touched in the same moment. Smith states, “The body is also our link to the world, the visible proof that we exist. Photography is a strange medium to control others bodies. Asking someone to assume a particular posture that he/she didn’t chose to adopt is a kind of dominating action, showing the disturbing power we suddenly have when holding a camera. Instead of freezing the model’s body, I wish to encourage them to disconnect from the mechanical gestures of daily life, to find a wilder and uncontrolled expression of themselves from deep inside, as in a trance. In other contexts, sexuality is a way to reach this kind of state, where the mind gets lost and the body becomes a surface of sensations and emotions, only driven by giving and receiving pleasure. The pornographic image has this unique goal: to excite, without asking the intellect its opinion.” With I Fall in Love with Everyone, Nora Smith aims to encourage an open discussion about sexualities, pleasure and taboos, bringing explicit content out of the intimate space.
Anna-Lea Schmitt – Reverie
Reverie is a 2D-animation project about the inner image of our outside reality. Imagination and fantasy are important factors of our sexual desires, nothing seems more personal than our own thoughts. It’s up to us if we share them or keep them for ourselves.
Reverie is a process orientated work. It’s about how the characters interact with each other in different ways, what they tell if you combine them differently. Every character or graphic is able to stand for themselves but also to interact with each other and get loaded with different meanings depending on the recipient and what meaning he or she is giving it. Reverie shows gender fluently and the idea of embracing the own body, even personalizing the sex organs. It plays in a surrealistic and futuristic scenery to support the idea that it doesn’t take place in our known-world. It might be a dream of the recipient, a desire which he or she can project into the animations. The colors and characters are chosen to set the imagination free and to open the mind for a different reality.
Schmitt designed Reverie to be “as open and freely as our sexuality should be and as society should accept it. The animation doesn’t give you rules which gender you should love or feel sexual attracted to. I feel that the human body and it’s sexuality is something which is in constant flux. We should be free to feel confident openly and at the same time I think it’s one of the most intimate things you can share with a person. The gender itself or the sexual orientation does not play a part in this”.
Reverie imagines what a world could look like, if its people would be brave enough to dream and to follow their desires.
About the Artists:
Lily Scherlis is a Berlin-based artist and writer interested in using media such as video, installation, and print to trespass on the divide between self and other. She has published writing about topics as diverse as Super Mario 64, the films of Maya Deren, friendship and television, elitism and the collegiate literary magazine, artists living in rural Nebraska, and 1970s video art. She studied Comparative Literature and Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University.
Nora Smith is fascinated with the body as a way to experience the real world, and all the sensations this involves. Her photographic and film work visually translates the body’s expressions, its epidermic sensations, tracing its movements from the mundane to the exalted. Building upon this fascination, Smith co-founded “Oil,” an ethical and dissident pornographic film production company, and started performing herself in various contexts.
Smith finished her bachelor at ECAL (Ecole Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne) with a photography specialization in 2018. Strongly influenced by 3D high-res landscapes, Hayao Miyazaki’s characters and Forestia’s psychedelism, she developed a deep fascination for other-worlds. In the photographic medium, Smith found a way to create such worlds overflowing with fantasies, using tools such as studio lighting, digital manipulation and bodily transformation.
Anna-Lea Schmitt is a Berlin-based motion designer. Her work is generally based on an experimental approach, incorporating a multicolored palette and morphing shapes which open the opportunity to recreate and reinvent the depiction of the human body. She likes to play with an naive approach and reflect the reality with an inner, deformed picture of it.
Cinema Conversación LGBTQ* #4
Queer-feminist takes on desire, the body, and friendship
Kottbusser Damm 95, 1.OG