Week two of Cairotronica Symposium: Film screenings at Zawya

Ahram Online , Sunday 8 May 2016

A look into the second and last week of events at the Cairotronica Electronic and New Media Arts Symposium

Cairotronica Symposium
(Photo: Fragment from promotional material)

Following a week of vibrant performances and screenings as part of this year's Cairotronica, a 13-day symposium of electronic and new media arts that kicked off on 3 May, the event's second week brings an exciting selection of films to art-house cinema Zawya.

On 8 May, Zawya will screen a programme of short films selected from the 2014 edition of Impakt festival, an offshoot of the Impakt festival for audiovisual arts founded in 1988 and titled ‘Soft Machines.’

According to the event description on Facebook, the programme tugs at the increased computerisation of the world, focusing on “the emotional and empathetic capabilities of computers and machines” and asking whether the fact that “robotic nurse assistants are already carrying out important work in nursing homes, and computers and mathematical models are playing an increasingly greater role in ethical decision-making” constitutes artificial empathy.

“Would humans be able to deal with robots that in terms of appearance and behaviour almost can't be distinguished from real people? What happens when we increasingly computerise the world and the influence of humans fades away into the background?” 

The screening programme will include a selection of eight short films and will be followed by a Q&A with Impakt’s director, Arjon Dunnewind, who was co-organiser of the first Impakt Festival in 1988 before he established the Impact Foundation in 1993. Dunnewind is also the founder of Impakt Online, “a project aimed at developing the internet as a platform for the presentation of interactive art projects.”

On 10 May, another film programme titled Moving Pictures and comprising 19 short films, will screen at Zawya. According to the event description on Facebook, Moving Pictures is an “innovative programme of single-screen moving image works by 20 UK-based artists.”

The films were selected from the Film London Jarman Award, which is an annual award “celebrating the spirit of experimentation and imagination among UK artists working in moving image.”

On 15 May, Zawya will screen B-Movie: Lust and Sound in West-Berlin, a film comprising images and audio material compiled by Jörg A. Hoppe, Klaus Maeck and Heiko Lange. 

The film is a “documentary and a declaration of love rolled into one,” reads the event description on Facebook.

“A warm-yet-wrecked reencounter with themselves for all those who are part of it. And downright mind-expanding for all those who have arrived since and claim to know where Berlin’s bear got down, or even dare assert that things only began to swing in 1990.”

A total of 50 local, regional and international artists, academics and technology experts are participating in this year's Cairotronica symposium through an array of activities, exhibitions, talks, workshops and screenings. 

The first iteration of what is planned to be a biennial event, Cairotronica aims to act as a platform, catalyst and incubator.

Under the theme of ‘Connect,’ Cairotronica offers a space to connect disciplines, people, artists, designers, ideas and nations.

The gathering aims to inspire, educate and challenge students and audiences to exchange ideas, products and services as it brings people from different fields together to share, discuss, learn, talk and work.

“The past will connect with the future, history will connect with the present, art will connect with technology and new media, tradition will connect with modernity, and Cairo will connect with the world,” the Cairotonica website states.


8 May, 7.30pm

Soft Machines (IMPAKT in Cairo)
New Improved Institutional Quality: In The Environment Of Liquids And Nasals A Parasitic Vowel Sometimes Develops (Owen Land, 1976)
Walking up and down to a woman I once had a crush on (Feiko Beckers, 2009)
You Are Here (excerpt: The Chinese Room)  (Daniel Cockburn, 2011)
Suchy Pion (Dry Standpipe) (Wojciech Bąkowski, 2012)
Still Life (Betamale) (Jon Rafman, 2013)
Last Episode (HOTEL) (Benjamin Nuel, 2013) 
The Ethical Governor (John Butler, 2010)
Metahaven – Interference (Holly Herndon, 2015)

10 May, 7.30pm
Moving Pictures

Screening program 1: 
Hold Your Ground (Karen Mirza and Brad Butler, 2012)
The Call of Mist – Redux (John Akomfrah, 2012)
An Exchange for Fire: Personal Responsibility Anja Kirschner and David Panos, 2013)
Choir (Elizabeth Price, 2011)
Come to the Edge (Stephen Sutcliffe, 2003)
O Come All Ye Faithful (Stephen Sutcliffe, 2007)
Looking So Hard at Something It Distorts or Becomes Obscured (Not Blacking Out, Just Turning the Lights Off) (James Richards, 2011)
Death Mask II: The Scent (Ed Atkins, 2010)
The Pips (Emily Wardill, 2011)
The Lion and The Unicorn (Rachel Maclean, 2012)

Screening program 2:
It, Heat, Hit (Laure Prouvost, 2010)
Dad’s Sick (John Smith, 2012)
The Magic Know-How (Laura Buckley, 2013)
Origin of the Species (Ben Rivers, 2008)
Edgeland Mutter (Andrew Kotting, 2004)
Sludge Manifesto (Benedict Drew, 2011)
Dark Glass (Clio Barnard, 2006)
Lester (Luke Fowler, 2009)
MiddleSea (Zineb Sedira, 2008)

15 May, 7.30pm
B-Movie: Lust and Sound in West-Berlin

Cinema Zawya, 4 Abdel Hamid Said Street, off Talaat Harb Street, Downtown Cairo

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