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It is time to talk about attention. On August 10th and August 11th, Locarno75 will host an experimental streaming format exploring the state of attention and its futures. For 24h, 3 hosts and 24 invited speakers talk about attention as a practice, the attention economy and possible alternatives: live at the festival and online via Twitch. Curated by USI researcher Rafael Dernbach, the event is a collaboration with USI Università della Svizzera italiana, BaseCamp and Film Comment Magazine.
It is time to talk about attention. A buzzing attention economy is inscribing itself ever more deeply in our lives: when the founder of a streaming platform proclaims that the company’s main competitor is sleep. When moving images and music are algorithmically and economically optimised and traded like financial assets. And when bursts of attention determine the political agenda and the agendas of our personal lives: attention is limited, desired and moves fast: the perfect currency for digital societies. How do we take part in these attention economies? Is it possible to approach attention differently? And what is cinema’s role in the future of attention?
Starting at 12 PM CEST on August 10th, for 24h, 3 hosts and 24 invited speakers are exploring the future of attention. The event brings together distinguished persons from the world of cinema with scientists, thinkers and practitioners of attention. At each full hour, a new speaker joins the conversation, takes the lead for one hour, and stays as long as they feel like. It can be experienced in person at the Locarno Film Festival at Instituto Sant’Eugenio or via live stream on Twitch.
We will explore these questions in the setting of an ambient ‘study with me’ live stream, a format that became really popular during the pandemic. The lights are low, the sense for day and night evaporates. You can lie down, close your eyes or listen attentively. The conversation is as much about spoken word as it is about co-presence. It will have floods and tides as will our floating thoughts
Speakers include Hito Steyerl, Laurie Anderson and Kevin B. Lee, whose artistic works have been critically addressing attention and its economization for many years. The conversation also features academic experts on attention such as Carolin Duttlinger, Professor at Oxford University and author of Attention and Distraction in Modern German Literature, Thought and Culture and Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou, Associate Professor at University College London and author of Speculative Communities. There will also be a number of experimental interventions from streaming collectives including the Krakow-based Ukrainian collective UKRA))i((NATV, the Los Angeles-based collective Dream Video Division, the Berlin-based collective Omsk Social Club and the media guerilla collective Total Refusal.
The conversation is hosted by Devika Girish, Khesrau Behroz and Milosz Paul Rosinski. The space of the conversation is designed by a team of architecture students from the Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio.
The conversation starts at noon on August 10th and ends at noon August 11th. It can be experienced in person at the festival at Instituto Sant’Eugenio or via live stream on Twitch.
Milosz Paul Rosinski is a philosopher, film & media scholar particularly interested in contemporary aesthetic practices refusing easy categorisation. Rather than grasping what some piece of art is — let’s think about how we attend to it. His recent writing includes a questionnaire for Sterben Üben/Learning to Die (Edition Taube, 2021), a trilogy for Tegel Media (2020) and an essay for En Plein Air: Ethnographies of the Digital (Spector Books, 2019). Milosz is also acting as Founder & CEO of the tech startup Leav: Quit Smarter using digital biodata to trigger interactions on your smartphone against addictions to substances.
Khesrau Behroz is an Afghan-German journalist, writer and producer. He is co-founder and co-CEO of Undone, a Berlin based production company that creates podcasts and films around (investigative) journalism. In the past, Behroz wrote, produced and hosted »Cui Bono: WTF Happened to Ken Jebsen?«, Germany’s most successful storytelling podcast that is now being adapted into a major motion picture. For his journalistic work, he received numerous awards, i.e. the prestigious »Grimme Online Award« and »Deutscher Reporterpreis«. Khesrau Behroz is also currently serving on the board of advisors of the Journalism Innovators Program of the Hamburg Media School.
Laurie Anderson, born in Glenn Ellyn, Illinois, in 1947, is a composer, writer, filmmaker, visual artist and vocalist. After training in music and sculpture, she began producing innovative performances combining theater, spoken poetry, technologies and multimedia, earning recognition as one of the leading exponents of the avant-garde art scene. Her recording career blossomed in 1981 with the release of O Superman, and has included albums such as Big Science (1982), Life on a String (2001) and Homeland (2010). Home of the Brave (1986) became the soundtrack to her feature concert film Home of the Brave. In 2002 she was appointed the first artist-in-residence of NASA, an experience which culminated in her touring solo performance The End of the Moon. In 2015 her film Heart of a Dog, dedicated to her husband Lou Reed who died in 2013, was presented at the 72nd Venice Film Festival. In 2018 Anderson and the Kronos Quartet published the album Landfall, inspired by Hurricane Sandy, which won a Grammy Award. Her visual art has been exhibited at leading museums around the world. The Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C. recently hosted a major solo exhibition, Laurie Anderson: The Weather, presenting new artworks with key works from her career such as Habeas Corpus (2015) in an immersive audiovisual experience showcasing her creative storytelling process. Anderson presented the prestigious Norton lectures at Harvard University in 2021. These are accessible online.
Kamal Aljafari works as a filmmaker and artist interweaving fiction, non-fiction, and contemporary art. An Unusual Summer (2020), created from surveillance camera material recorded by his father, premiered at Visions du Réel, then it screened at various festivals and won several awards.
Coline Confort is a filmmaker. Her diploma film "Impériale" was presented at several festivals and won the prize for the best school film at Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur. Her work is based on a documentary approach, creating intense moments of truth and mise-en-scène, always starting from a long research work.
Julie Sando is as active in filmmaking, between documentary and fiction, as in performance and installation art. Her last medium-length film "Fuku Nashi" was presented at the last edition of Visions du Réel in Nyon and received the National Competition Prize and the Zonta Prize. Her extensive work in the visual arts has enriched her cinematic vision, which is characterized by great sensitivity and attention to others.
Zhaoyuefan was born in Wuhan, China and grew up in Beijing, China. She has been working and living in Germany and Switzerland since 2016. zhaoyuefan's artistic practice revolves around her experience of living as a legal alien in foreign countries. Through video, installation, performance, and writing/storytelling, she uses lightness to touch on themes related to shaping of identity and collective memories. Often starting with collecting images, texts and objects from daily life situations, her works are a series of translations, transformations and transpositions based on the transcultural context.
Carolin Duttlinger studied at the Universities of Freiburg/Breisgau and Cambridge (UK), where she received her doctorate in 2003 with a thesis on Franz Kafka and Photography. She is Professor of German Literature and Culture at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Wadham College Oxford. From 2003 until 2006 she was Fellow and Tutor in German at Wadham College, Oxford. In 2006 she was appointed Associate Professor of German Literature at the University of Oxford; sShe is also the a Co-Directors of the Oxford Kafka Research Centre. She has widely published on modern German literature, thought and visual culture, with particular reference to modernism and contemporary literature. For her research she was awarded the Zvi-Meitar/Vice-Chancellor University of Oxford Research Prize in 2008. Her books include Kafka and Photography (Oxford University Press 2007) and The Cambridge Introduction to Franz Kafka (Cambridge University Press 2013). Her most recent book is Attention and Distraction in Modern German Literature, Thought and Culture (Oxford University Press 2022). This, a wide-ranging interdisciplinary study which explores the dynamic relation interplay between attention and distraction in high and popular culture and in everyday life from the Enlightenment to the present day.
DREAM VIDEO DIVISION is a new media artist collective specializing in experimental video art and immersive reinterpretations of pop media. (They make movies go weird.)
Dream Video Division–or DVD if you're short on time–operates in an "exquisite corpse" style where they segment a movie, edit the parts individually, and stitch them back together to find out what the group has created as a whole.
Through their work, DVD experiments, explores, and reinvents the way audiences watch and relate to movies and digital images, whether through live stream remixes, temporal editing experiments, or in-person art installations. DVD regularly streams their work online which is accompanied by a live chat, giving the audience a digital front row seat and allowing the work to be enjoyed live as a community.
Their work has screened at the Overlook Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival, and has future exhibition plans forthcoming both live and in-person.
Anna Eriksson spent most of her formative years traveling around the world. She has recorded ten albums. Her first feature film M premiered at 33rd Venice International Film Critics Week 2018. Her first solo art exhibition, The Rituals of a Lonely Bitch, was held 2021 Art Museum of Rauma.
Giona A. Nazzaro, born in Zurich, Switzerland, 1965.
He previously served as the General Delegate of the International Film Critics’ Week at the Venice Film Festival, a member of the artistic committee of IFFR – International Film Festival Rotterdam (2020), and a programmer and curator on the selection committee of the Visions du Réel Festival in Nyon (2010-2020). He also worked as a programmer and curator for Torino Cinema Giovani, Festival dei Popoli and the Rome Film Fest and in 2015 he co-created and curated the exhibition “Il di/segno del cinema” at the Cagliari Civic Museum. He has authored and edited books on Gus Van Sant, Spike Lee and Abel Ferrara. He pioneered the study of Hong Kong cinema in Italy, as the editor of the volumes Il cinema di Hong Kong - Spade, kung fu, pistole, fantasmi (Le mani, 1997), John Woo - La nuova leggenda del cinema d'azione (Castelvecchi, 2000) and Il dizionario dei film di Hong Kong (Universitaria Editrice, 2005). His book Action - Forme di un transgenere cinematografico (Le mani, 2000) won the Barbaro/Filmcritica Prize. His fiction debut was A Mon Dragone c'è il Diavolo (Perdisa Pop, 2010). A member of the National Union of Italian Film Critics (SNCCI), he works as a film journalist and regularly contributes to il manifesto, Film Tv, Micromega and other online and print outlets. He was one of the founders of the film monthly Sentieri selvaggi. He is also a member of the Federal Commission of Cinema.
Dana Linssen is a film critic, philosopher, writer, teacher from the Netherlands. She is a long term critic for nationwide daily newspaper NRC and former editor in chief of the independent film magazine de Filmkrant. She teaches at the Theatre Faculty of the ArtEZ Academy of the Arts in Arnhem and the Writing for Performance Department of the HKU Utrecht University of the Arts. She has contributed to books about Chantal Akerman, Jem Cohen, Fiona Tan, Béla Tarr and Apichtapong Weeresatkahul. She is the founder of the Slow Criticism Project and, together with Jan Pieter Ekker, curator of the International Film Festival Rotterdam affiliated Critics' Choice program, where they produce and commission video essays and other forms of expanded criticism for the big screen and the cinema space. For composer Maarten Ornstein she wrote the libretto Creator/Destroyer, about the discovery of the Higgs Particle. This fall her new text for theater KROON will have its world premiere at het Zuidelijk Toneel in the Netherlands. Between 2020 and 2022 she has been working as a quarter master for FilmForward, a new talent development institution for film and audio visual media in the Netherlands where she developed the Vrijplaats Residency.
Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou is a sociologist and writer. He is associate professor of sociology at University College London, where he leads the Sociology and Social Theory Research Group, and an editor at the British Journal of Sociology. Komporozos-Athanasiou is the author of Speculative Communities: Living with Uncertainty in a Financialized World (University of Chicago Press, 2022). His second book project, Real Fake: An Intellectual History of Distortion, documents the historical role of market technologies in shaping our collective understandings of reality and truth. His public writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Guardian, Public Seminar, Roar Magazine, and other publications.
Maya Shenfeld is a Jerusalem born Berlin-based composer and musician. In her practice, Shenfeld explores the intersection between modes of musical production used in popular, electronic, and experimental music. Her debut solo album In Free Fall, encompassing a series of electroacoustic pieces for analogue synths, brass, electric guitar, and a youth choir, was released on the UK/US label Thrill Jockey on the 28th of January 2022. The album received multiple positive reviews including contemporary album of the month on The Guardian, single release on FACT magazine, and a feature on the Berliner Tagesspiegel. Shenfeld's most recent projects include the original film scores for Kevin B Lee's Piazza Futura, commissioned by the Locarno film festival, and the original film score of Cynthia Wade and Sharon Liese's upcoming documentary The Flag Makers. Maya Shenfeld is a graduate of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance and the University of the Arts (UdK) Berlin, where she completed an MA in classical guitar and contemporary music composition.
Omsk Social Club’s work is created between two lived worlds, one of life as we know it and the other of role play. These worlds bleed into one. That is where Omsk positions their speculative fictions, through these immersive installations they move into a territory they coined in 2017 called Real Game Play (RGP). Their work aims to induce states that could potentially be a fiction or a yet, unlived reality.
Omsk works closely with networks of viewers, everything is unique and unrehearsed. The living installations they create examine virtual egos, popular experiences and political phenomena. Allowing the works to become a dematerialized hybrid of modern-day culture alongside the participant's unique personal experiences. In the past Omsk Social Club’s Real Game Play immersive environments have introduced landscapes and topics such as otherkin, rave culture, survivalism, catfishing, desire&sacrifice, positive trolling, algorithmic strategies and decentralized cryptocurrency.
They have exhibited across Europe in various institutions, galleries, theatres and off-sites such as Martin Gropius Bau, House of Electronic Kunst Basel, HKW, Berlin, Seventeen, London Volksbühne, Berlin, Stroom den Haag, Den Haag the Netherlands and Light Art Space Berlin. They have been included in CTM Festival (2021), 34th Ljubljana Biennial (2021) 6th Athens Biennale (2018), Transmediale Festival (2019), The Influencers (2018) and Impakt Festival (2018). In 2021 they co-curated the 7th Athens Biennale with Larry Ossei-Mensah.
Claire Tolan (b. 1986) is an American artist, writer, and programmer living in Berlin. Tolan has worked primarily with ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) since 2013. Her work is concerned with the phenomenology and poetics of whispered speech, with a particular focus on rumor, secrets, and enthralldom. Tolan hosted an ASMR radio show, “You’re Worth It”, on Berlin Community Radio from 2013-2019. With musician Holly Herndon, she co-wrote and performed “Lonely at the Top”, the ASMR track on Herndon’s 2015 album Platform. Other past projects include SHUSHTONES, packages of ASMR ringtones; Die Siedler von SHUSH, an ASMR tabletop RPG prototype; CICADA GAMES, an augmented reality ASMR audio play; and SOOTHER, a prototype AI ASMRtist. Tolan’s current research involves the expansion of SOOTHER into a functional whispering AI voice companion and the composition of stories, plays, and papers that orbit the AI conceptually and performatively. Tolan has exhibited, performed, and presented her work at venues such as Martin Gropius Bau, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berghain, Volksbuehne, Münchner Kammerspiele, Goethe-Institut London, ArkDes, and Sonar+D.
The pseudo-Marxist media guerilla Total Refusal explores and practices strategies for artistic intervention in contemporary computer games. It works with tools of appropriation and rededication of game resources. Their films were presented among others at Berlinale ‘20 and at the MoMA in NYC.
UKRA))i((NATV is an information platform, internet tv and centre for intercultural integration created by a group of Ukrainian, Polish and all-language people, organisations and institutions. They are embedded in the cultural and media environment of Krakow, and have equipment, a studio and a small dynamic team that has been working intensively since the beginning of the war. The philosophy of the creators is to establish and explore intercultural connections, to discover history and to build a common Central European hybrid identity and future with a core in Polish-Ukrainian relations. They also engage in ongoing aid, but try to avoid the aid industry and big western foundations. They have built and are expanding our network of direct contacts, and based on this network we want to help directly.
Ana Vaz is an artist and filmmaker whose films and installation work from within entangled relationships between environments, territories and hybrid histories pushing the boundaries of our perception. Recent screenings include: Jeu de Paume, Courtisane, Palais de Tokyo, Berlinale, IFFR, NYFF.
Helena Wittmann, born 1982 in Neuss, Germany, is a filmmaker and visual artist based in Hamburg. Her films, among them her debut feature film Drift (2017), have been shown internationally at film festivals and in exhibitions and have received several awards.
Philipp Wüschner is a philosopher specialized in affect theory, media philosophy, aesthetics and the philosophy of art and design. He lives, writes, and teaches in Berlin. He published books on boredom and on the Aristotelean concept of habit. Recently, he translated Alexandre Kojèves „La notion de l’autorité“ into German. His current interests touch topics like intimacy, hysteria, and the concepts of immersion and absorption. Beginning in October 2022 he will co-host the philosophical roundtable „Feelings at the End of the World“ at Volksbühne Berlin together with Henrike Kohpeiß.
Concept, Artistic Direction
Francesco De Biasi
Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio
Isabela Ferrari Rey Carneiro
Kevin B. Lee