Backgrounds Up Front

Compilation Film


HD video

05:56 min.


There is history because there is the past – and there is history because there is an absence of things in words, of the denominated in names.
(Jacques Rancière)

‚Backgrounds Up Front‘ is a film put together from 16mm film footage I discovered stored in a steel cabinet in the Griechisches Haus in Munich. The source material was produced in the late 1950s as introductory information for labour migrants – the Gastarbeiter arriving in West Germany to work in its booming industries. The content of the reels – short language lessons, news and various information about everyday life in Germany –  was kept schematic, in an attempt to bridge language issues. Through ‚Backgrounds Up Front‘ I enquire into these simple visual narratives by slowing down, repeating, cutting up and juxtaposing film sequences. I introduce new layers of sound and redirect the focus of attention through lighting techniques, in an attempt to reveal sub-narratives and concealed ideological assumptions built into the original stories.