Salt’s summer program presents different genre
Among the videos, Salt presents A shot from the film ‘Restricted sensation,’ directed by D.Narkevicius (above), ‘Stalin by Picasso’ or ‘Portrait of Woman with Moustache,’ (R) and also a short video by Dammi i colori by the director Anri Sala. The video program titled ‘Summer Crossing’ gathered different genres.This summer Salt presented a video program, Summer Crossing, gathered from across different genres. Movies by famous directors and cult videos were presented to audiences.
Among those videos, “Restricted Sensations” focuses on the public negativity towards sexual and racial minorities that is still widespread in Central Europe. The starting point of this film was the inherited homophobia and intolerance for otherness in general, on which political reforms did not really have an impact. It is a fictional story inspired by homosexual life during the Soviet period. Laimonas, the main character, loses his job at a theater, where he acted as a stage manager. He is suspected of being gay. The events take place in Soviet Lithuania during the ‘70s, when homosexuality was criminalized. Article 122 of the Soviet Penal Code condemned “sexual intercourse between male partners” with a penalty of three years of imprisonment. Laimonas is arrested and taken to the police station for this reason. An investigator, who is a KGB officer, falls in love with this young detainee, despite his obligation to examine Laimonas and prepare a case against him for the court.
“The Man in the Background” by Lene Berg is built around a sequence of 8 mm images from 1958, shot by Michael Josselson, the director of the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF), and his wife. The images show the couple on a trip through Western Europe in 1958, ending on Rhodes where they take part in a seminar with friends and colleagues from all over the world. In other words: seemingly typical amateur holiday images. What makes them not-so-typical is what they don’t show and what was not generally known at the time; mainly that Josselson was a CIA agent within the field of art and culture and that the seminar the couple was attending was secretly financed by the CIA, as one of many undertakings of the CCF during the ‘50s and ‘60s.
Another video in the program, “Stalin by Picasso” or “Portrait of Woman with Moustache,” is a story that evolves around two seemingly opposite icons from the 20th century, Pablo Picasso and Joseph Stalin, and what they had, or didn’t have, in common. On a different level, it is a story about art and artistic freedom, or un-freedom, and of ways of reading and using images, particularly images of so-called great men. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this anecdote from the beginning of the Cold War is how a simple charcoal drawing can stir such strong feelings, discussions and intrigue as this one did.
The video “Berlinmuren” (2008) tells the story of a highly unusual relationship: the love affair between the Swedish woman Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer and the Berlin Wall. She considers November 9, 1989, the day the wall “fell,” the saddest day of her life. Berliner-Mauer now lives in Liden in northern Sweden where, besides running a museum that displays models of guillotines and the Berlin Wall, she moderates a number of websites about the wall and the phenomenon of human love for objects.
“Magical World” by Johanna Billing was shot during a summer day in 2005 at a free after-school center in Dubrava, a suburb of Zagreb. The looped and therefore never-ending footage of children rehearsing the 1968 Rotary Connection song “Magical World” (written by Sidney Barnes) acts as an anthem for an uncertain future and presents a glimpse of a country in transformation. The images move from inside the music room to the outside, capturing the run-down surroundings of this cultural center that was constructed in the ‘80s. In “Nathan Phillips Square, A Winter’s Night, Skating” (2009), Mark Lewis uses rear projection, a historical Hollywood technique, featuring two lovers skating in the foreground set against the background of Nathan Phillips Square, which was designed by the Finnish architect Viljo Revell and opened in 1965.