Screening and talk: BALLADE – Céline Berger

Meta Marathon 2019

Screening and talk: BALLADE – Céline Berger

Temporary Gallery
thu, 7.06.2018, 7pm

Office medienwerk.nrwScreening

Short film: Céline Berger, BALLADE, 23 min, 2017

A project manager, a personnel manager and a managing director wander through a barren landscape and talk about the constraints and fears of everyday working life and their longings for a different, better life. The screenplay for Céline Berger’s short film “Ballad” is based on recordings of coaching sessions at german business schools and deals with the handling of corporate strategies, management rhetoric and the potential use of labour as a human resource.
More info about the event

Céline Berger, born 1973 in Saint Martin d’Heres, France, is an artist and lives in Cologne and Rotterdam. Her work is concerned with the linguistic and visual world of today’s work and corporate structures. Before studying art at the KHM Academy of Media Arts in Cologne and the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, she studied physics and materials science and worked as an engineer for semiconductor manufacturers. Berger is the winner of the NRW Scholarship for female media artists (2015).

Emmanuel Mir, born 1972 in Toulon, France, studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, art history at the University of Düsseldorf and received his doctorate on the function of art in private companies. Since 2017 he has been project manager of the LaB K State Office for Visual Arts NRW.

The office was funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. The office is supported by the Hartware MedienKunstVerein, Dortmund.

Short film programme “Working Life”

The Working Life – Still

Short film programme “Working Life”

SAT, 24.03.2018, 8PM

Office medienwerk.nrwScreening

Superflex, The Working Life, 9:50 min, 2013
Céline Berger, Ballad, 23:00 min, 2017 (Premiere)
Romana Schmalisch & Robert Schlicht, Recitando, 33:00 min, 2010

A professional hypnotist shows us the labyrinth of our working life. During long coaching sessions three hikers move through a barren landscape. Former workers of the Moscow paper factory “October” reflect on the lost work and their current situation. Three very different situations, three artistic short films.

Along these stations, the office and the artist Céline Berger invited us on a complex and unusual journey into our working life. The event presented “Ballade”, a movie which emerged from the the NRW grant for female media artists (supervised by office

FILM 1: The Working Life, SUPERFLEX
SUPERFLEX, The Working Life, HD, 9:50 min, 2013, English

The Working Life is a 9:50-minute film that deals with working life from a therapeutic perspective. How should one behave as a “good citizen” when the central demand of an economy in crisis seems to be the individual willingness to work and at the same time the structural necessity of a certain percentage of unemployment to keep wages low? A hypnotist guides us through the labyrinth of working life – looking for relief or maybe even a way out, if there is one.

SUPERFLEX was founded in 1993 by Jakob Fenger, Bjørnstjerne Christiansen and Rasmus Nielsen. Using a versatile and complex approach, SUPERFLEX questions the role of the artist in today’s society and explores the nature of globalisation and power structures. Their artworks, full of wit and subversive humour, are dedicated to serious social and cultural concerns. SUPERFLEX describe their works as instruments for pointing out numerous possible areas of application for their art.

FILM 2: Ballade, Céline Berger
Céline Berger, Ballad, 2K, 23 min, 2017, sync. English

Based on real coaching conversations, Ballade examines the rhetoric and narrative strategies of business coaching.

A barren landscape. The wind is blowing. Three people, immersed in successive coaching sessions, are describing specific events from their working lives as project managers, personnel managers, managing directors. Banal words of regret, fears, dreams of an easier future resonate strangely in the minimal landscape.

Since 2009, Céline Berger has been developing artistic works that examine our working life, its language, routines and rituals. After studying physics and materials science, she worked as a project engineer in various large companies until 2008. Berger’s work is an attempt to artistically continue the dialogue which developed with her former colleagues – in search of new ways to question our daily professional life, beyond simplification, irony or fatalism.

FILM 3: Recitando, Romana Schmalisch & Robert Schlicht
Romana Schmalisch & Robert Schlicht, Recitando, HD, 33 min, 2010, Russian with English subtitles

Recitando documents the encounter between workers in a moscow factory and two filmmakers from abroad. The cinematic production process is only made possible by the standstill of the machines. What at first looks like everyday work soon turns out to be theatre, simulation. The “October” (formerly “Red October”) factory, built in 1924, was one of the largest paper factories in Moscow. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, parts of the complex were converted into an art space.

Romana Schmalisch (Berlin) and Robert Schlicht (Berlin) have been working together since 2004 on projects at the interface between film and theory. Their main focus in recent years has been on the theme of work, for example in the performance series The Choreography of Labour (2013-15), the play All the best from Labour Power Plant (2017), the short film Top/Down (2017) and the feature film Labour Power Plant (in post-production).

Afterwards: artist talk with Romana Schmalisch, Robert Schlicht and Céline Berger.

Organized by the office & Kino im U e.V.

The office and the event were supported by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of NRW. Office hosted by: Hartware MedienKunstVerein, Dortmund

Afro-Tech – movies about technology and science-fiction

Ausstellungsansicht „Afro-Tech
DREXCIYA – Detroit Techno, Aquanauten und die Politik des Dancefloors
Ausstellungsansicht „Afro-Tech
DREXCIYA – Detroit Techno, Aquanauten und die Politik des Dancefloors
Panel Afro Fest
Workshop „Afro-Tech

Afro-Tech – movies about technology and science-fiction

FR, 23.07.2017, 8 pm

Office medienwerk.nrwScreening

A cooperation between Office, Africa Positive e.V., Hartware MedienKunstVerein, Interkultur Ruhr, Regionalverband Ruhr (RVR)

A space program in Zambia, speculations about the future of Zanzibar, a little boy in 1980s Burkina Faso dreams of superheroes, and a trip to the utopian island of Drexciya.

On June 23rd, 2017, the media-art-project Afro-Tech Fest was a guest at the Afro-Ruhr Festival 2017 (organizer: Africa Positive e.V.) and invited visitors to an evening of cinema with four short films, which gave a first insight into the discussed topics during an international exhibition and festival week in Dortmund at the end of October (opening Afro-Tech Fest: 20.10.2017). 

The film programme in June focused on stories about the future from a variety of african perspectives. What they all have in common is an independent view on technology and on various myths of popular culture, which challenges the ruling powers of interpretation. The film is understood as a medium in which one’s own utopias and dystopias can be created. 

The filmmakers, whose works have been shown, use such diverse and creative design possibilities to create these imaginary spaces: In her film, director Frances Bodomo, for example, adds a third actor to the well-known story about the race to the moon in the 1960s – a village community in Zambia which is building its own rocket. Simon Rittmeier tells of a future in which the current “refugee crisis” has turned into its opposite: In his film, it is people from Europe who embark on the perilous journey across the Mediterranean to seek refuge in the countries of Africa – and sometimes end up on a legendary island whose inhabitants have access to unknown, advanced technologies.

Alternative historiography meets speculation. Science fiction stories from the “global North” meet much older myths and legends in different regions of Africa, always starting from the very real social and political situations of the present.

The evening, curated by Alex Moussa Sawadogo (Afrikamera/Berlin), provides an insight into current film production in various african countries and aims to arouse curiosity about the numerous events and the exhibition in the context of the Afro-Tech Festival, which were presented later in 2017 in Dortmund by the cooperation partners Hartware MedienKunstVerein (HMKV), Interkultur Ruhr, Africa Positive e.V. and office 

Afronauts, Ghana/USA 2014, 14 min. engl. OF / Director: Frances Bodomo

Afronauts tells an alternative story of the race to the moon, based on true events. It is the night of July 16th, 1969, when the United States prepares to launch Apollo 11. At the same time, in the now independent Zambia, an inventive group of villagers builds a rocket to enter the “race into space”. As the launch date approaches, their astronaut – 17-year-old Matha Mwambwa – has to decide whether she wants to give her life to keep up the myths of her family …

Ghanaian filmmaker Frances Bodomo studied film at Columbia University and at the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. Her first short film “Boneshaker” (with Oscar-nominee Quvenzhané Wallis) was screened at more than 20 festivals. “Afronauts” celebrated its world premiere at the Sundance Festival 2014. 

Twaaga, Burkina Faso/France 2013, 31 min / Original with English subtitles / Director: Cédric Ido

Burkina Faso is a country in transition in 1985. Manu, who has a passion for comics, and his big brother Albert grow up in a time when the impossible seems to be possible. When Albert one day decides to undergo a magical ritual designed to make him invisible, Manu realizes that there are real powers, which can compete with those of his superheroes.

The Burkinabè Cédric Ido works as a scriptwriter, director, actor, musician and draftsman. In 2008 he appeared as an actor in Spike Lee’s film “Miracle at St. Anna“. As a director he is responsible for the television documentary “Un ‘Stains’ de musique” (2009) and the short film “Hasaki Ya Suda” (2011).

Jonah, Tanzania/Great Britain 2013, 17 min / English OF / Director: Kibwe Tavares

Mbwana and his best friend Juma are two young men from Zanzibar with big dreams. These dreams seem to come true when they photograph a giant fish jumping out of the water and their small town becomes a tourist hotspot. But the sensational discovery not only puts the relationship of the two friends to the test, it also changes their formerly sleepy hometown.

British Sundance winner Kibwe Tavares realised his award-winning film “Robots of Brixton” while he was studying architecture. Together with Jonathan Gales and Paul Nicholls he founded the production company Factory Fifteen, with which he also created the special effects for “Jonah“. He combines his knowledge in architecture with storytelling and animation to create futuristic animated 3D live-action movies. 

Drexciya, Germany/Burkina Faso 2012, 27 min. / English OF / Director: Simon Rittmeier

Simon Rittmeier’s short film is inspired by the afro-futuristic myth of the place “Drexciya” – a “black Atlantis”. Europe has gone under long ago. A young man tries to bring european refugees – in the hope of a better life in Africa – in boats across the Mediterranean Sea. One day his boat sinks and he is the only survivor to be stranded on the African coast. Alone, he sets off for the next big city – Drexciya.

The filmmaker Simon Rittmeier studied fine arts and film at the Academy of Fine Arts in Hamburg and at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne. He often uses archive images to explore the power and political influence of the moving image. His films, both experimental and essayistic, question social conventions and classical narratives about history.

The films are subtitled in English or in English. Introduction by Alex Moussa Sawadogo in German. Handouts with short descriptions of the films in German will be available in the evening.

The entire film programme of the Afro-Ruhr Festival took place on 22 and June 23rd, 2017, at the cinema in the U (Dortmund). Concerts, parties, lectures and discussions of the Afro-Ruhr Festival could be experienced from June 30th – July 2nd, 2017, in the Dietrich-Keuning-Haus (Dortmund) (

Film programme Afro-Tech curated by: Alex Moussa Sawadogo

Organizer of the film program: Office (Office hosted by: Hartware MedienKunstVerein)
Partner Film Programme: Afrikamera – Current Cinema from Africa, Kino im U, Africa Positive e.V.

Cooperation partner Afro-Tech Fest: Hartware MedienKunstVerein, Interkultur Ruhr, a project of the Regionalverband Ruhr (RVR), Africa Positive e.V., Office

The exhibition was sponsored: in the TURN Fund of the Federal Cultural Foundation; by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of NRW

The project week was supported: by the Federal Agency for Civic Education; by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of NRW from the cultural office of the city of Dortmund

Main sponsor HMKV: Dortmund U