2012, Fri, Jun 22

The Forgotten Space

D: Allan Sekula and Noël Burch

The Forgotten Space

The Forgotten Space

Essay film, 112min. Language: English. The film received the Special Orizzonti Jury Prize of the film festival in Venice in 2010.
Followed by a conversation with Allan Sekula and Gertrud Koch in English.

“Those of us who travel by air, or who “go surfing” on the Web, scarcely think of the sea as a space of transport any more. We live instead in the age of cyberspace, of instantaneous electronic contact between everywhere and everywhere else. In this fantasy world the very concept of distance is abolished. More than 90% of the world’s cargo moves by sea, and yet educated people in the developed world believe that material goods travel as they do, by air, and that money, traveling in the blink of an eye, is the abstract source of all wealth. Our premise is that the sea remains the crucial space of globalization. Nowhere else is the disorientation, violence, and alienation of contemporary capitalism more manifest, but this truth is not self-evident, and must be approached as a puzzle, or mystery, a problem to be solved”. Allan Sekula


Since more than three decades Allan Sekula’s photographic and filmic work, his theoretical enquiry of the photographic image and his insights as a historian and chronicler of the effects of globalization have greatly influenced his own and following generations of artists. In 1997 Allan Sekula came to Berlin as a guest of the DAAD’s artists-in-Berlin-program. Shortly before, his seminal photo-series “Fish Story” (1995) was first shown – an exploration of maritime space and the world ports – which was also presented at the documenta 11 (2002) und which gave the impulse for the essay film “The Forgotten Space”. “The Forgotten Space” is a collaboration between Allan Sekula and the French filmmaker, film critic and originator of the concept of the essay film, Noël Burch. At its world premiere at the film festival in Venice in 2010 the film received the Special Orizzonti Jury prize.


Allan Sekula (* 1951 in Erie, PA, lives and works in Los Angeles) has participated in numerous international group exhibitions, amongst other things he participated twice in documenta (2001 and 2007). Recent Solo-Shows: 2011: “Allan Sekula Retrospecive”, La Virreina Centre de l’Image, Barcelona, Spain; 2010: “Ship of Fools”, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, Antwerp, Belgium; “Allan Sekula: Polonia and Other Fables”, Ludwig Museum, Budapest, Hungary; “This Ain’t China”, e-flux, New York, NY; 2009: “Polonia”, Renaissance Society, Chicago, Illinois, Zacheta Gallery, Warsaw. Since 1985 Sekula teaches photographie and media art at CalArts, Valencia, CA.


Gertrud Koch is professor for Film Studies at Freie Universität Berlin with a research focus on aesthetic theory, film- and image theory and political and historical representation. She is co-editor of the periodicals: „Frauen und Film“ and „Babylon. Beiträge zur jüdischen Gegenwart“. Publications (Selection): „Herbert Marcuse zur Einführung“, (with H.Brunkhorst), Hamburg 1987; „Was ich erbeute, sind Bilder. Zum Diskurs der Geschlechter im Film“ Basel/Frankfurt a.M. 1988; " Die Einstellung ist die Einstellung. Visuelle Konstruktionen des Judentums“, Frankfurt a.M. 1992. „Siegfried Kracauer zur Einführung“, Hamburg 1996/ „Siegfried Kracauer. An Introduction“, Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ 2000; „Auge und Affekt. Wahrnehmung und Interaktion. (Ed.) Frankfurt a.M. 1995; „Inszenierungen der Politik“, (Ed. with Paula Diehl), Munich 2007.



An evening organized by the Berliner Künstlerprogramm / DAAD as guests of the Haus der Kulturen der Welt