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Le réel et le possible
Prendre la parole:
up for / about / on behalf of / out /
with / over

Donner à voir
Limes – voyages de frontière
L'espacement des temps
Rivedersi diversi
Chroniques du sentiment politique


le réel
et le possible

exhibition at the Médiathèque
18 September - 08 November 2014

with films by Harun Farocki, Alberto Grifi, Johan Grimonprez, Clarisse Hahn, René Pulfer, Carole Roussopoulos, Axel Salvatori-Sinz, Andrei Ujica (with Harun Farocki)

screenings at Cinéma Spoutnik
01 November 2014
6.30pm - Harun Farocki et Andrei Ujica, Videogramme einer Revolution, 1992
8pm - Corneliu Porumboiu, Al doilea joc [The Second Game], 2014

The image flickers, the colours are faded; the scene and the moment, however, reveal
themselves, they are tangible:

Repetition is not the return of the identical, it is not the same as such that returns. The force and grace of repetition, the novelty it brings us, is the return as the possibility of what was. Repetition restores the possibility of what was, renders it possible anew…

Copied and archived onto a tape of an obsolete format, transferred from one format to another, this video recording restates the words of the philosopher Giorgio Agamben spoken in 1995 at a conference devoted to the cinema of Guy Debord (1), whose films were also available to view – after difficult negotiations – at the 6th International Video Week, ("Biennal of Moving Images" since 1999). Entitled Visions of the World, this edition was based on the observation that images “are now part of a common reality, shared or appropriated”, significantly reconfigured by computer networks and new technologies. It brought together works that deploy “a view on the contemporary world”, addressing political issues, and therefore marking a change from the themes, mainly formal, covered in previous biennials organised by the Centre pour l’image contemporaine / Centre for Contemporary Images, Saint-Gervais, Geneva (CIC).


Stemming from the materiality and the specificities of the recording of this conference found in the collection of the former CIC in which institutional archives, such as this one, and works of art share the same medium, le réel et le possible problematizes the archiving function of video and the notion of documentation. The programme focuses on the reactivation of a document inserted into a new context, caught in the logic of repetition – echoing the thoughts on editing developed by Agamben in this conference, who emphasises the power of cinema to open up a zone of undecidability between the real and the possible, to transform the real into the possible and the possible into the real.

From early experiments with video linking artistic and political practices at the beginning of the 1970s in Europe to the contemporary situation in the Middle East, the programme examines the process of documentation: the relationship between the camera and the event itself, the shifts between the filmed event and the filmic event – but also the aesthetic potential of this process, or furthermore the subversion of its apparatus. It is interested in the editing that allows the invocation of the document for submission to a new critical and self-reflexive examination. The issues here revolve around a certain takeover – appropriation or reappropriation – whether it happens through the recording itself, through the diversion of a specific format, or by creating new associations, thus reconfiguring hierarchies between image and sound. The body – the body in action, speaking, filmed or filming, the body of the author – is at the centre of attention or procedure: camera and editing allow for subjective views and recompose existing material to challenge the dominant representations and shape alternative histories.

Popularization of video devices and other means of recording has contributed to the emergence of a multitude of points of view, altering the perception of reality, of the event, of histories in the making. In the early 1990s, the shift between history and film was formulated as such in Videogramme einer Revolution (Harun Farocki and Andrei Ujica, 1992, to be projected November 1st at the Cinéma Spoutnik and at the Médiathèque on a monitor throughout the project): “We look on, and have to think: if film is possible, then history, too, is possible”. Historical experience is obtained by the image, and the images themselves are charged with history.

“It’s not about showing that cinema speaks of its time. It’s about establishing that cinema is a world of its own, that it should have made its own world. The history of cinema is that of a power to create its own history.” (2)

curated by Emilie Bujès,
Raphaël Cuomo and Maria Iorio

Top: still from Harun Farocki et Andrei Ujica, Videogramme einer Revolution, 1992

Bottom: still from Axel Salvatori-Sinz, Cher Hassan, 2014

1. 1. The recording of the conference is available at the Médiathèque, reference AGA002-XCF.
The text of the conference was published in Giorgio Agamben, “Le cinéma de Guy Debord”, 1995, Image et mémoire, Hoëbeke. Paris, Arts & Esthétique, No. 14, pages 65-76, 1998. An English translation of the text was published in Giorgio Agamben, “Difference and Repetition: On Guy Debord’s Films”. In: Tom McDonough (ed.), Guy Debord and the Situationist International. MIT Press, 2002
2. Jacques Rancière, "La phrase, l’image, l’histoire", in Le destin des images, La Fabrique éditions, 2003