Film program on occasion of the exhibition Street: behind the cliché, in which the spectator is challenged to position himself in relation to two apparently totally different films.

Lawrence Weiner’s Plowmans Lunch (28 mins, 26 seconds, 1982)

Introduction by Renske Janssen will feature a live phone interview with Lawrence Weiner himself all the way from France; about the motivation for making this film and the way it relates to current issues in art and society, a question which forms the backdrop of the presentation.

A ‘ploughman’ is a ‘man who ploughs’. A ploughman’s lunch is a square country meal, which can be ordered in English pubs. The word ‘Plowman’ in the title – apart from being the American spelling of ploughman – possibly also refers to the famous poem ‘Piers Plowman’ by William Langland, the 14th-century English poet. The lengthy poem describes a number of visions, in which the Christian figure of the Plowman leads the quest for truth and redemption.

In Lawrence Weiner’s film, a ship is manned by a number of eccentric figures including two children. The texts recited by the characters appear to be art-historical discourses. The more complex and affected the text, the more the person reading it becomes estranged from himself: ‘Constant placation of previous aesthetics consumes present resources to the extent that, as the needs and desires of a present aesthetic make themselves felt – even when the basis is in a previous aesthetic – the resources have been exhausted.’ The children, by contrast, are very mature in their behaviour, taking part in, among other things, discussions on politics, pronouncing phrases such as ‘Politics, I think it imposes on style too much.’

Lawrence Weiner (1942) is one of the most important and renowned artists of his generation. In his rich and layered artistic practise he translates and investigates the linguistic and visual structures, as they are presented to us today in films, books, videos, performances and sound pieces. With his approach he radically redefines the relationship between artist and spectator.

Surprise screening (144 min., 2004)

Introduction by Amsterdam-based film expert Kees Brienen in conversation with Renske Janssen.
This is a film not to be missed. An unforgettable document, capturing the Zeitgeist, in which a certain musical genre is once and for all connected, in a intensified and dynamic manner, to the routine of everyday life. The music is even proved to be related to the emancipation movement of 1972 in L.A., seven years after the Watts race riots (144 minutes).

The quote “I Am – Somebody”, taken from a poem by Jesse Jackson, reflects the upcoming awareness for the need of equal social rights. The poem was first recited by Jackson in 1971 during a broadcast of the American children’s program Sesame Street, where education and entertainment are interwoven.