Jeu de Paume, Paris

JEU DE PAUME | 1, place de la Concorde
F-75008 Paris

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artists & participants

press release

Implicit in Nika Autor’s approach is the impossibility of divorcing objective knowledge from embodied location. She also explores the potential for affect to provide transformative ways of knowing about specific historically crucial events in the former Yugoslavia during three periods: the 1940s, the late 1980s and in 2012. With her collaborators, Nika Autor decided to revive the newsreel form – which in the view of Ciril Oberstar has proved to be an “exceptionally resilient film form” – as a way of continuing to explore the political engagement of the contemporary artist. Oberstar sees newsreels as “one of the main vehicles for class and social struggles due to their openness and accessibility to political intervention and political propaganda. Paradoxically, it is precisely the ‘extra-filmic’ reality of social struggles that constantly revolutionises the newsreel and keeps it alive.”

The title “Newsreel – The News Is Ours” is a paraphrase of two renowned film works: Finally Got the News, an American newsreel produced in 1970 by the Newsreel collective about the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, a movement in the Detroit car industry, and La vie est à nous (1936), an early French newsreel, commissioned by the French Communist Party, revealing what working class people felt about the social conditions of the time. Both newsreels used “montage” to prompt viewers to think critically about the existing social reality in which they found themselves. Like both of these historical newsreels, the works in the exhibition also explore the intertwining of image and social engagement within the cinematic apparatus, and the dialectics of montage and thought. Historically, the newsreel form was used as a psychological propaganda weapon, but it is now understood as a research and propaganda tool.

The exhibition presents the latest newsreel, Newsreel 55, a collective work by Nika Autor, Marko Bratina, Ciril Oberstar and Jurij Meden, as well as material compiled from the visual research material collected by Obzorniška Fronta (Newsreel Front), an art and research platform that was set up earlier this year and whose main focus is the serial production of newsreels. The talk organised to coincide with the exhibition will provide a contextual element. It will feature series of screenings, commentaries and dialogues in which Slovenian critics, theoreticians and artists will present the heterogeneous and complex history of the Yugoslav newsreel output and two contemporary Slovenian newsreels produced by Obzorniška Fronta.

Through particular stories and topics developed by Obzorniška Fronta (the history and economic dynamics of the former Yugoslavia, Maribor – the city of industrialisation/deindustrialisation, the 1990s war period, the question of class struggle today, illegal/resistance movement, etc.) and the specificity of the themes under examination, “Newsreel – The News Is Ours” will attempt to highlight a certain generality and universality that are always evident in the sphere of capitalist production. Newsreel 55 is a compilation of quotations, archival footage and footage of current events relating to the territory of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, with a special focus on Maribor, the former country’s third-largest industrial centre. It explores questions that relate to the social and political shifts of the 20th century that have shaped the city’s economic, political and social dynamics; a city of occupation, a city of industrialisation and deindustrialisation, and a city marked by the disintegration of the state. These periods are presented through the eyes of the generation that grew up during the transition between two systems, when it could only watch in silence the rise of capitalism in its most ominous aspects. How can images be used today, and what political impact and power do they have. What issues do they raise with regard to the class struggle of today?

Newsreel 55 is a collective work by Nika Autor, Marko Bratina, Jurij Meden and Ciril Oberstar. Marko Bratina is a philosopher and translator who lives and works in Ljubljana. Jurij Meden is a filmmaker, director of programming at the Slovenian Cinematheque in Ljubljana, and founder of the magazine KINO! devoted to film theory, politics and poetry. Ciril Oberstar has a masters in philosophy and is an editor at the Slovenian cultural magazine Dialogi. He lives and works in Ljubljana.

Curator: Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez

only in german

Nika Autor. Newsreel – The News Is Ours
Satellite Programme 7.

Nika Autor, Marko Bratina, Jurij Meden, Ciril Oberstar

Natasa Petresin