Currents Program 2: Critical Mass
Do Not Circulate
Tiffany Sia, 2021, Hong Kong, 17m
The timeline and vertical aspect ratio of social media set the formal parameters for Tiffany Sia’s essay film, which follows the image trail of a single event in Hong Kong from the 2019 protests. Reckoning with this event, a relentless voiceover reframes archival media salvaged in the midst of disappearance and erasure, drawing upon a traumatic media memory, summoning ghosts and occult forces alongside disinformation and rumor.
Dreams Under Confinement
Christopher Harris, 2020 USA, 3m
Frenzied voices on the Chicago Police Department’s scanner call for squad cars and reprisals during the 2020 uprising in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, as Google Earth tracks the action through simulated aerial views of urban spaces and the vast Cook County Department of Corrections, the country’s third-largest jail system. In Christopher Harris’s Dreams Under Confinement, the prison and the street merge into a shared carceral landscape.
In Flow of Words
North American Premiere
Eliane Esther Bots, 2021, Netherlands, 22m
Bosnian, Croatian, English, and Serbian with English subtitles
(Open Captions (OCAP) available, no device required for captions)
In Eliane Esther Bots’s film, three interpreters for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia share their experiences with translating the testimony of witnesses and victims of genocide. But how can an interpreter—who is so physically and vocally central to the tribunal’s proceedings—remain an objective medium for testimony? How can they provide a simple conduit for meaning, stripped of the original voice’s incommunicable sounds of grief, sympathy, and anger?
All of Your Stars Are but Dust on My Shoes
Haig Aivazian, 2021, Lebanon, 18m
English, Arabic, and French with English subtitles
Provocatively scrambling geography and chronology, Haig Aivazian’s densely associative montage writes a history of illumination as it intersects with the technological evolution of state and police control. From New York to Paris to Beirut, from the origins of whale oil lanterns to the era of predictive policing, this video assemblage accounts for the use of light and visibility in the service of social management, and creates space for a counter-optics of opacity and resistance.
Virgil Vernier, 2021, France, 27m
French with English subtitles
Through television news bulletins, Kindertotenlieder revisits the 2005 riots in France, sparked by the deaths of two teenagers from the Parisian banlieue of Clichy-sur-Bois, who were killed during a police chase. Here, the static formal conventions of TV news—vox pop interviews, B-roll of burning cars, outraged neighbors—slowly reveal a subtler narrative beneath the surface: one of neglect, oppression, and ethnic and class divisions.