Traces left by Dream. Curatorial

Agnieszka Wolny-Hamkało

Disenchantment is a feeling elicited by a painful confrontation with reality. It’s the moment when our knowledge, beliefs or hopes turn out to be wrong. Our calculations have gone awry, and we’ve become laughable: It didn’t work; we’re victims of our own naivety. Disenchanted, disillusioned – the magical coating has been stripped from reality  Disappointment is a let-down, a wound. Mourning for a dream.

Describing Max Weber’s concept of the disenchantment of the world, Zygmunt Bauman emphasized that focusing on what is tangible, “within reach, without glancing to the right or left” leads to spiritual devastation. The sociologist Krzysztof Konecki wrote that the disenchantment of the world relates to love as well. He quoted Basho: “In this place/all that meets the eye/is cool.”

In Eden Auerbach Ofrat’s film “Scapegoat”, we watch a figure with the head of a goat and white clothing covering the empty monochrome space around it with red paint. The scene is oppressively strange, making dark symbolic references to the animalistic and to the power of ritual, presenting a hopeless activity: The attempt to change the surroundings is doomed to failure. Michael Lyons’s film  “Auto Repair” presents an image of a bygone world – a film from the past. The slow-motion shots accompanied by the characteristic clatter of a projector evoke childhood memories documented on old tapes and negatives. Flecks, scratches, flickering light, sepia – the tools for awakening nostalgia. A story of time and loss.

Constantin Hartenstein’s “Alpha”, on the other hand, makes ironic references to “new age” esthetics and motivational films for multilevel marketing schemes, using bright colors and a hypnotic, evocative off-camera voice to inspire the viewer to fight for social status. The piece is a comment on the culture of narcissism and the cult of the ego, a bitter joke on the concept that  human beings can be stimulated to do absolutely anything. Disappointment is lurking on the other side of the coin. The implication is that humans are weak, irrational mortal beings, whose destiny is not always in their own hands.

“Reign of Silence”, Lukas Marxt’s beautiful, esthetically perfect image, juxtaposes a little motorboat going around in circles with the majesty of mountains and a lake. In relation to nature, technology is a mere trifle that’s lost its causative force, even in the eyes of its devout followers.  The circles on the lake dissipate and all signs of the motorboat are eliminated. The landscape remains untouched.

Two very funny films have found a place in the program about disappointment: Meliti Kontogiorgi’s “History Lessons” and Aleksei Dmitriev’s wonderful “The Shadow of Your Smile”. The first is about disappointment with the standards established for art by institutions and the beneficiaries of the system of institutionalized art. The second treats porno as a dream: an escape from suffering, a world of endless pleasure, a form of love in which objectification is an asset. But porno is in fact deception, a story of disappointment – even when there’s a happy ending.

And the last film, which was included to counter the rest: Saša Tatić’s “Light Defense” is a work that presents something genuine for a change: genuine emotions and pain. It’s an intense and moving piece about determination and suffering, and about endless second chances.