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Conference 2023

Conference 2023

Conference 2023

Cinema of Care
Opening conference for the Berlin Critics’ Week 2023

Conference at the Akademie der Künste Berlin on Wednesday, 15.02.2023, starting 7.00 pm
Film program at Hackesche Höfe Kino on Friday, 17.02.2023, starting 8.00 pm

Debates about the relationship between care work, society and art have intensified in recent years. We take that conversation and apply it to the particularly industrial art form that is cinema. Who gets burned out by the film industry? What responsibilities do the institutions and filmmakers of today have for each other, and which kinds of labor relations are outdated? What would be the costs of a “caring cinema” – and which films point the way forward?

On February 15, we will address these topics in a panel discussion with filmmaker Claire Denis, festival director Marek Hovorka and film curator/critic Abby Sun among others, in addition to a workshop discussion with the artist Elke Marhöfer. A film programme on February 17 will be followed by a debate on aesthetic responses to questions of care and caring.

It is a point of consensus among thinkers like social scientist Gabriele Winker (Solidarity-based Care Economy: Revolutionary Realpolitik for Care and Climate), philosopher Silvia Federici (Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body, and Primitive Accumulation), political scientist Joan Tronto (Caring Democracy: Markets, Equality and Justice) and theater scholar Bojana Kunst (Artist at Work, Proximity of Art and Capitalism) that society and the world of paid work cannot function in the long run if people do not regularly practice care towards each other and themselves.

Recent socio-political debates about the lack of care structures in contemporary society turn the idea of art as social utopia upside down, because the fact is that – while many cultural workers and artists themselves represent anticapitalist positions – their own industry is one of the most precarious. Performance-oriented thinking, competitive pressure, status-mindedness, low wages and minimal levels of social security are the order of the day in a sector where reciprocal support and fair working conditions get short shrift. It is no industry secret: Many seem to agree that whoever wants to become an artist must either have start-up capital already or give up their private life. If you are not flexible and healthy, if you need to take breaks at night and on weekends, if you need to take care of family members – then you won’t be running a theater or making a world-changing film. Cultural institutions, despite featuring critical content in their programs, rarely demonstrate an alternative model to having directors who burn out every few years because of their extreme workload and pressure. And woe befall anyone that dares to criticize the art – those critics are just sabotaging the maltreated culture workers even more.

Everywhere, culture work operates under the same slogan, as saccharine as it is cynical: Art and culture are a matter of the heart! So to begin the Berlin Critics’ Week 2023, at our opening conference entitled Cinema of Care, we want to discuss what art, cinema and culture work can learn from the feminist call for social change towards a more caring society – and to discuss how we might conceive of a sustainable industry, and a sustainable form of artistic practice, that is not based on the exploitation and overburdening of individuals.

On February 15, we want to hear from our guests at the Akademie der Künste about how questions of care and caring relate to their professional ethos; we also want to discuss what responsibility cultural workers, institutions, companies and filmmakers all have towards each other. Our panel discussion will include director Claire Denis (Beau Travail), festival director Marek Hovorka (Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival) and film curator/critic Abby Sun. In a workshop discussion, we will examine the working methods of artist Elke Marhöfer, whose research-based practice deals with ecological thinking and action while critically questioning ways of engaging with the world from a human perspective.

On February 17, a film programme will follow at Hackesche Höfe Kino. This programme explores the lines of connection between aesthetic practice and the ethics of care. We want to discuss how images (and montages) might look if they were to make a more caring society not only conceivable, but palpable too.

The events at a glance:

February 15, 2023, 7.00 pm
Akademie der Künste, Pariser Platz 4, 10117 Berlin
Workshop discussion with Elke Marhöfer
Panel discussion with Claire Denis, Marek Hovorka, Abby Sun
Keynote: Isabell Lorey

February 17, 2023, 8.00 pm
Hackesche Höfe Kino, Rosenthaler Str. 40-41, 10178 Berlin
Film program followed by a debate on aesthetics and the ethics of care.

For advance ticket sale please click HERE.