In many ways cinema can be seen as the perfect medium for capturing the dubious charm of violence and crime, and transforming it into pleasurable images. Narration, suspense and voyeurism, but also the relation between design and crime, are played out in selected films by Lene Berg, Keren Cytter, Dias & Riedweg, Willie Doherty, Beatrice Gibson, Alexandra Midal, Michael Portnoy, Nicolas Provost, Aida Ruilova, Hans Schabus.

This film program is presented with the kind cooperation of the International Film Festival Rotterdam.



Beatrice Gibson – The Tiger’s Mind (2012)

The Tiger’s Mind is an abstract crime thriller set against the backdrop of a brutalist villa. Six characters, the set, the music, the foley, the special effects, the narrator and the author battle one another for control of the film as it unfolds on screen. The film explores the relationships between these characters as they emerge and unfold: grappling, wrestling, and dreaming with one another. The film’s production elements were produced – employing the character-driven improvisational score The Tiger’s Mind, by Cornelius Cardew – by Alex Waterman as Tree (foley), Jesse Ash as Wind (special effects), John Tilbury as Mind (soundtrack), Celine Condorelli as Tiger (props), Will Holder as Amy (narrator) and Beatrice Gibson as the Circle (author). Co-commissioned by The Showroom and CAC Brétigny supported by Fluxus and produced in partnership with Index – The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation, Stockholm.

Hans Schabus – Atelier (2010)

The video “Atelier” is quoting the famous final sequence of Sam Peckinpah´s “The Wild Bunch” (1969), a film that is remembered above all for its trailblazing construction of temporarity, staged by the director in the brutal massacre in which all the main protagonists die. Schabus´ unusual remake “Atelier” reconstructs the decisive scene with the same cuts, camera pans and angles, but using only images from his empty studio and its surroundings. In this way, the sequence begins outside the communal building Winarskyhof, a social housing estate in “Red Vienna”, designed by renowned architects, such as Joseph Hoffmann or Peter Behrens. This is no chance reference, since the nearby district was the scene of major civil unrest in the Austro- fascist era from 1933 until 1938. The fact that we are fast approaching the studio is underscored by the crescendo of the original soundtrack – mariachis singing, gunfight breaks out, the spectator is already inside the studio. The rhythm of the editing starts to pulsate, abruptly alternating images of the exterior and the interior, views of the balconies, roofs and windows of the building around the studio, and medium and close-up shots denoting a certain activity that is suspended there. The noise of the violent confrontation contrasts with the sensation of absence and total calm exuded by the images, suggesting to us that the real conflict may be taking place inside the artist´s mind. (author: Pable Fanego)

Michael Portnoy – Thrillochromes (2013)

In a world where everything looks the same, it ain’t easy making monochromes…
What are the war cries of Neo-Formalism? Are there any? Or are its fighters and agents doggedly anti-dogmatic?
THRILLOCHROMES imagines a subterranean world where such overblown directives (Dismantle… ! Infiltrate… !) are the scores for a collection of trench-coated operatives in a series of abstract thriller films which lead to the creation of excruciatingly beige monochromes. The six short films were shot in the WWII bunkers beneath Gare de l’Est in paris. The series continues Portnoy’s recent interest in “improving”, in the manner of an engineer/futurologist, recent dead-ends of contemporary art making. In this case the metastasis of textural abstraction and quasi-monochromes.
Thrillochrome 2 will also be on view at Witte de With center for Contemporary Art as part of the exhibition The Crime Was Almost Perfect.

Dias & Riedweg – Crime Master (2013)

This recently made video by Dias & Riedweg entitled Crime Master is made after the series of photographs called The Mirror and the Dusk (2011), which were shot at the huge slum Favela do Alemão in Rio de Janeiro. In this new video, the protagonist of the photographs re-appears involved in a dream, in which he himself steals his own photograph out of an exhibition in an art gallery and take it back to his home at the slum. The insolvable existent dilemma of artistic representation of the other in the field of contemporary art and moving image is itself pointed out in this piece as a particular territory between potential crime and artistic authenticity in the relation between the artist and the model.

Willie Doherty – Non-Specific Threat (2004)

Non-Specific Threat consists of a long pan as the camera moves slowly around a young man who is standing alone in a derelict warehouse type space. As the camera rotates around the young man we are invited to scrutinize the bumps and marks on his shaved head and to read the changing expressions on his face. His head is evenly lit from above while the background shifts between light and shade. The sequence is accompanied by a reserved but threatening voiceover that describes a future state of impending doom and fear, while implicating the viewer in an act of mutual recognition.


Alexandra Midal – Hocus Pocus: Twilight in my mind (2009)

If philosopher Vilèm Flusser claims that “You must choose between being a saint or a designer,” Alexandra Midal would add: are tricks, or even crime, a valid perspective to reconsider design and design history, and can such a thing as the aesthetics of crime be considered?
Hocus Pocus: Twilight in My Mind is a visual essay that portrays the power and the entertainment of ruse and treachery and goes far beyond moralism. From the various and spectacular hoaxes realized by Barnum for his Museum to the prestige and tours presented by 19th century magician Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, the arts have hosted several forms of fascinating sort of crimes, but, maybe, the most compelling of all is the machiavelic house that H. H. Holmes designed to commit 22 murders. The first serial killer of the USA sanctified the most recent technological innovation in his “castle” where, fascinated by the potential of industrial aided murder, he has taken the full measure of design.


Nicolas Provost – The Dark Galleries (2013)

The Dark Galleries by Nicolas Provost creates a fascinating hall of mirrors through a montage of film noir scenes where the actors face a painted portrait. This blend of cinema and painting was commissioned to supplement a book study. Provost elegantly exploits the rules of editing to create an imaginary museum visit. He guides us through living rooms and picture galleries of 1940s and 1950s noir crime thrillers, gothic melodramas, and ghost stories.

Lene Berg – Dirty Young Loose (2013)

Dirty Young Loose uses the themes of seeing and being seen, topical in today’s society. A young couple picked up by an older man create an erotic triangle where the roles of abusers and victims become uncertain. By her scrutinizing close-up, Berg turns the viewer into a participant, which provokes a disturbing sense of unease. Berg uses stereotypes in a way that changes or disrupts our view on sexuality. The spectator is the one ultimately exposed when s/he starts to wonder about her own position in the situation presented in the film. The moralizing questions of the interrogators in the movie force the viewer to position themselves.

Aida Ruilova – Goner (2010)

The film Goner shows an event immediately preceding and following an act of extreme violence. Using POV camera, Ruilova constructs an unseen assailant who pursues actress Sonja Kinski in a claustrophobic single set bedroom. Alternately slammed, stabbed, chased, and terrorized, Kinski becomes not only the ultimate object of her predator, but the perfect illustration of the violent potential in cinema. Shot on 35 mm film, and edited with Ruilova’s trademark percussive cuts and jarring audio, Goner examines how gendered concepts of power (seeing) and vulnerability (being seen) are reproduced through the conventions of horror film genre.

Keren Cytter – Corrections (2013)

The film Corrections tells the story of a man ridden with guilt for ruining his parents’ life. He compares his life to that of a cockroach. While trying to remember what happened in the past, he discovers the real reason for his guilt. The film is created by repetitive camera movements and the actions of the actors. Keren Cytter uses traditional film components such as actors, casting, voice and text in a most unusual way. Through her methodical and effective use of deconstruction, she calls into question our blind dependence on the prevailing narrative structures.