Nature. Light. Darkness. Romance. Youth. Sexuality. Drama. Angst. Politics. Ever since the mid-19th Century the Nordic countries have been viewed as a world that is almost imaginary and mythical But times have changed, and the North is no longer perceived in the same way. And this is true of the arts as well.
Hit the North is an anthology compiled by Filmform of 49 works by contemporary artists and filmmakers from the five Nordic countries. What these works share is not a traditional Nordic feeling of affinity, but rather a powerful manifestation of a world in flux, where pictures of reality are juxtaposed against embellished notions from myth and tradition about life and mankind’s place on earth.
Hit the North is also a major Filmform project, which in recent years has involved many organizations and contacts in the fields of experimental filmmaking and video art in the Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. In the long run, this network will widen the scope of Filmform’s archival and distribution activities.
/ Henrik Orrje, member of the Filmform board
Hit the North is a pilot project dealing with the distribution of experimental films and video art. There are very few active distributors in the North, and with Hit the North, Filmform would like to create a major contact network and make this art form more visible, on an international level as well. The works have been selected through visits to all of the Nordic countries and from material submitted to Filmform. The emphasis has not been placed on getting new works into distribution, but rather on showing a wide range of expression and form. Hit the North shows experimental documentaries, performance related video works and music videos.
Thanks to Hit the North all of these titles can now be rented from Filmform for screenings and exhibitions. For more information about the filmmakers and artists involved, see “Distribution”.
The programme is produced and curated by Anna Linder
Hit the North is supported by Nordisk kulturfond
Who gets the food? + Willy goes for a drive
Gitte Villesen, 1995, 4 min + 7 min
»Who gets the food?« This is about Willy and the cats living out-side his house. This video wasn’t planned. Willy saw his chance when one of the cats happened to pass by, and as he had told me several times about the cats stealing his food, I knew what he was up to. I told Willy that I would like to do a video about a man who leaves his house to go for a drive in his car. Willy liked the idea. As he said: “It’s a situation that says a lot about life”. In the video, after checking the car, he takes three short rides in the parking lot and talks about the car.
Family Sha la la
Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen, 1998, 4:35 min
We are all dressed in black attempting to dance in sync to a disco-pop hit. This piece emphasizes the feeling of oneness with others and then discovering personality and individuality. I reconstructed the choreography of Filipino kids dancing in the streets and at social gatherings. I took the song from a group called Dreamhouse. It was a remix. A couple of years later I found out that it was a Danish duo from the Seventies who had written the song. I thought I had given the world something from my country of birth and then brought it back to Denmark. But I had actually just brought the song back to where it came from.
Language is the House we Live in
Jesper Fabricius, 2002, 19 min
A dreamy film about Icelandic building sites. Director Jesper Fabricius is more interested in the possibilities of cinematogra-phic expression than traditional storytelling. He plays with the magic of moving images, colours, movement, emotion. The result is a very personal essay on architecture.
Berit Basten , 2004, 3 min
In the work »Hysteria Shows« I’m interested in the concept and construction of hysteria – in relation to photography as well as in relation to gender. The word “hysteria” has its origins in the greek word for uterus, thereby being not only culturally but also ontologically attached to the female body. In »Hysteria Shows« I examine three levels of hysteria: a personal, a cultural and an institutional one.
Khaled D. Ramadan , 2004, 3 min
Observations about the concept and reality of virtual identity, the mobile touristic identity. Dedicated to all those who have become tourists trapped in their own countries.
Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen, 2005, 4 min
Barefoot and wearing a grass skirt and a flower wreath I rap and dance to choreography inspired by dances from India, Hawaii and Africa. The song is about what it’s like to be an exotic object because of my ethnic appearance. Backing me up are two young white males, who sing and dance in this music video inspired by the 30s.
The Beauty of Powerful Argumentation
Schou & Land, 2005, 1:32 min
A collaboration between the artists Schou & Land. The intense reactions that ignite arguments may be due to all the fantasies, trolls and ghosts from childhood that reappear when one is strongly emotionally attached to another person. Such strong attachment may have only been experienced in relation to one’s father or mother in childhood. The fear of defeat and disappointments may return, and dramatic situations from the past may resurface.
Dissimilate and Transgress
Jane Jin Kaisen, 2005, 3:50 min
The video »Dissimilate & Transgress« is an edited documentation of a twelve-day performance series. All the acts of transformation play with issues of transforming the self as symbol from one state to another with an inherit element of conflict or paradox. Each day, I provoked an alteration in my body or the surrounding space.
Roi Vaara, 1997, 4 min
Man facing a difficult choice. A performance for film.
Pirjetta Brander, 2003, 1:30 min
A little girl, dressed as a princess, is singing about her wish and disappointment: “I told YOU on my birthday that I would like to have a guinea pig. But YOU, YOU, YOU brought me a stuffed owl twirling with moths…”
Liisa Lounila, 2003, 5:50 min
The third part of a trilogy (Popcorn, 2001, and Flirt, 2002) using the time slice technique. Time seems to have stopped in a club, people are frozen in the middle of their discussions and drinking.
Seppo Renvall, 2003, 5:20 min
Seppo Renvall made the music video for Mira Calix’s song »Woody«, using material from narrow gauge home films shot by his father, Ben Renvall, at their summer house in the early 1960’s. The child in the video is the artist himself. He seems to be wandering all alone in the middle of a forest.
Julio & Lupita
Aurora Reinhard, 2004, 4:35 min
Julio & Lupita is a video work in which a middle-aged Latino man, Julio, dances with a life-size female doll named Lupita. Lupita bends into the strangest and even most perverse positions, to a ghostly Latino rhythm playing in the background. The dance with the doll is based on the Latin American custom of an abandoned husband making a doll in the likeness of his wife and dancing a last dance with the doll, after which it is burned.
Hanna Maria Anttila, 2004, 8 min
Rosie measures the varying emotional and physical distance separating two people. Picturesque, still-life-like, imagery and a slow editing pace give Rosie a melancholic feel. The camera is used as the storyteller’s intimate point of view. The bittersweet process of getting closer is always followed by an inevitable separation.
Pekka Sassi, 2004, 2:34 min
A black hole appears in the kitchen sink. If the mass of an object is known, a radius can be calculated for it, which equals the radius of a black hole of equal mass. This is the so-called Schwarzschild radius.
Pasi Karjula, 2004, 3:15 min
People walk in and out of the Helsinki railway station. It is raining outside. They open their umbrellas as they step outside.
Mika Taanila, 2005, 6 min
Office technology becomes obsolete very quickly. Old tools transform into musical instruments of the future. The film is based on »Symphony #2 for Dot Matrix Printers«, composed by [The User].
Finnbogi Pétursson, 1992, 10:50 min
dur is Finnbogi Pétursson’s audio-visual ode to the nature of Iceland. dur begins with only one fleeting image and sound fragment which is followed by a few seconds of “nothing”. Then, dur is built up image by image. Every time a new image is added, the sequence starts all over again.
Bjargey lafsdóttir, 1998, 4 min
Jean is a passionate love story. A male narrator describes the course his feelings take, from falling in love to being totally possessed by jealousy. Abstract sequences accompany his storytelling and reveal his ambiguous emotions. In between, we catch a glimpse of the beautiful woman, Jean, jumping up and down, laughing.
Oh I need your love babe
Egill Sæbjörnsson, 1999, 7 min
The video was originally made as a music video for a song I wrote for my first album called »The International Rock n’ Roll Summer of Egill Sæbjörnsson«. It is made with album covers from album sleeves I borrowed from friends and from my own CD collection.
You Are My Loving Insane
Egill Sæbjörnsson, 2001, 3:30 min
A music video based on a story invented from a record cover. On the cover there was a drawing of three objects: A small, hairy creature with two eyes, a white deer, and a ghettoblaster. There was no reason for putting those three objects together. Nonetheless Egill used these images as a point of departure for the video.
The Icelandic Love Corporation, 2002, 3 min
The women enter the white space with a black briefcase. It contains the ocean silver, a heart and intestines – the natural system of the slimy silver mine. They are dressed in the glittery glitz of the rich. They repair the victim of a hundred years with their sharp blades. The cod anthem is in their ears. He has given and he shall receive. In memory of the cod, Iceland’s biggest resource.
The Icelandic Love Corporation, 2003, 5 min
None of you are special. Fear is what drives you. Friendship is discipline. Darkness is innocent. Shake hands with your inner fear. Shake hands with your fantasy. The animated film »Sympathy« is based on a series of drawings made for SODA magazine 2003.
Dodda Maggy, 2004, 3:20 min
A girl takes off her pantyhose and shamefully covers a big bruise. She caresses it and peeks at it and finally rubs it vigorously in a sexual manner.
The total cycle of psychoanalysis in seven minutes
Lotte Konow Lund, 1998, 7 min
The total cycle of psychoanalysis in seven minutes obviously refers to the seven-year process of Freudian analysis. The person in this video literally takes the process in her own hands, and goes through the stages of self-denial before moving swiftly through self-acknowledgement and ending up with self-love. All in total self-denial.
Marius Mørch, 2001, 3:59 min
A video collage of manipulated classic horror film footage. The film depicts women fleeing from evil to the sound of Elvis Presley’s »Can’t help falling in love«, in an experimental juxtaposition of beauty and terror.
Thomas Hilland, 2002, 3:36 min
This music video made for the group Röyksopp takes us on a beautiful, in-depth journey into nostalgia with family albums and postcards.
Ane Lan, 2004, 4:01 min
A woman, dressed in traditional costume, is singing a song in which she expresses her qualms about joining the EU, hoping for a better future alone. Her duplicate, on the contrary, is more than willing to bargain for a member-ship. But finally, after finding something disturbing at the bottom of her dowry chest, she realizes the true consequences of membership.
One day all towers and spires will take off (The City Hall)
Mai Hofstad Gunnes, 2004, 3:12 min
The City Hall is part of an ongoing series of works titled »One day all towers and spires will take off« and it presents the realisation of a fictitious prophecy. The towers and spires take off and disappear through the clouds, like rockets leaving Stockholm’s City Hall transformed.
HC Gilje, 2004, 5 min
Sunblind was intended as a track on a noise video compilation DVD, which was supposed to be released in the USA, but never was. It is a collaboration with the Montreal-based musician Tim Hecker.
At the Peak of Boredom
Lotte Konow Lund, 2005, 2 min
When it comes to telling the truth, the body is probably a more reliable instrument than words. The body often expresses feelings against our intentions. In the video »At the Peak of Boredom«, the woman portrayed is a victim of the contrary. Her long-lasting yawn is divided into parts. The woman’s face climaxes at the top of the yawn in a horrifying, silent scream.
Burning Love II
Jorunn Myklebust Syversen, 2005, 3 min
A little boy dressed up as part eunuch, part geisha is sitting, singing and playing the accordion with his father. In some of the scenes the boy has a dog in his lap while he sings and gesticulates. The music in the video is a mixture of Norwegian folkmusic and the boy singing badly off-key with improvised texts. There is no traditional narration, there is only a musical progression. Under a seemingly humoristic surface lies a dark, psycholigical aesthetics that produces a touch of distaste.
Kabul Ping Pong
Bodil Furu and Beate Petersen, 2005, 43 min
Today’s Afghanistan exists in a void, set in between two eras. 23 years of war is over. Their first democratic election took place on October 9, 2004, after a two-year interim administration led by the USA-friendly Hamid Karzai. But when the battle between internal and external enemies is more or less brought to an end, how do define yourself positively: as a nation, as a culture, as a people? Which ideas shall the future be based on? Which stories and common beliefs can hold the people together? Where can they find their role models? And how can the traumas of war be overcome? The film presents three persons who approach these questions in different ways.
Movements in Sleep
Andrea Lange, 2005, 6:52 min
The video shows people in constant movement: at an airport terminal, in a plane, and at some destination. The editing of sound and images suggests a common space in time, where one can sense that sooner or later some will be victims, some will be witnesses, and some will be responsible.
Mariken Kramer, 2005, 2:25 min
When a person is being carried, whether during a rescue, in play or in a ritual, a feeling of kinship and closeness evolves amongst those who are carrying. The person being carried has only to trust that she is in good hands. The idea to »Trust« is inspired by a scene in »Deliverance« by John Boorman, 1972.
Then I’ll take your cat: Part one – cat kiss
Joanna Rytel, 2002, 5 min
Joanna Rytel: “My work can be divided in three main themes. One is my interest in the relation between animals and humans. I have created performances for animals and filmed their reactions. In »Then I’ll take your cat: Part one« I kiss a cat, in part two, I masturbate in front of a cat. In both of these works I am interested in how animals react to human behavior.”
Lina Selander, 2003, 6 min
»Inner Pond« is a bent horizontal split screen in which the seam is the essence, the surface without dimensions – the line, the meeting – to which everything relates. The joint bears witness to the rectangular origin of the image. Two journeys filmed at night, an abstract landscape of fugitive colour memories in a tranquil self-referring meditation over surface, light and colour. The colour and being of drowning. The colour and being of drowning. The sound is a compilation of several manipulated sounds, among others the scratching from an old LP-record and »If Ye Love Me« byT. Tallis, reversed and stretched. A voice sings: Save me.
Miss Universum, 2003, 2:36 min
A video from Miss Universum’s debut album »Selfelected« 2003. Everything is sexualized; everything is about sex in the world of pop music and advertising. The song »Fertilize« is about sex in respect to fertilization.
Petra Lindholm, 2003, 10 min
Through dreamy landscapes of visions and fantasies; »Reported Missing« takes us through a world of feelings. The video begins with a bittersweet sadness. It describes the loss of someone or maybe a farewell. Gradually the viewer becomes aware of being on a journey which is so universal that it suddenly becomes part of all of us.
Three Poems by Spoon Jackson
Michel Wenzer, 2003, 14 min
A poetic short film in three parts about Spoon Jackson – a man who has spent 25 years in prison. It is through poetry that he survives. A moving film that blends imagery with Spoon’s poetry recited over the phone. Voice and words: Spoon Jackson; poet, writer and actor, born in 1958 in California, USA. Sentenced to life imprisonment in 1977.
Stefan Otto, 2004, 2:50 min
In the video »Aerial« I have been working with fairly straight- forward opposites such as light and darkness, foreground and background, above and beneath, the city and the countryside. Narratively, the film is looped from monochromatic white via a representational middle part back to the white, illustrating a journey in time and space. I also wanted to give the film a “physical presence” by using a pendular movement to make it reach out from its two-dimensionality.
Who is Gunnar?
Tilda Lovell, 2004, 5:20 min
»Who is Gunnar?« is based on the hit song »Gunnar« by Swedish feminist rap icons D Muttant and Y Puss. Gunnar is a green grasshopper, confused by the way he has been treated in life. We find him in the desert, crying over the involuntary genital surgery to which he was subjected as a child. His dreams come true as he digs up his old doctor who agrees to perform surgery on him once again.
Interview with Saskia Holmqvist
Saskia Holmqvist, 2005, 9 min
The focus of the film »Interview with Saskia Holmkvist« is on what is percieved as real and authentic, and shows that everything can be corrected or improved. The film is made as a documentary about an artist, and it addresses questions of representation and slanted messages. It also deals with the need for a strategy in order to succeed. One way might be to improve one’s social skills.
Let Us Dance
Elisabet Gustafsson, 2005, 3:50 min
Super-8 rushes of folk dancers in various situations shot 1958-65 in Stockholm by amateur photographer Åke Franzon, which, through editing, have been given a new context, to music by Matthew Herbert.
Gunilla Heilborn and Mårten Nilsson, 2005, 12:40 min
Henrik gathers some of his friends at a cottage by a lake, deep in the forest. How will these city people cope with nature? And how will they react to each other, far out in the wilderness?
Bodies of society
Klara Lidén, 2006, 5 min
This act of violence might be misdirected, but it is not unprovoked. Lidén is deconstructing a bicycle with the grace of a baton twirler.
Father’s day at the Shrine of the Black Madonna
Mats Hjelm, 2006, 12:02 min
The Shrine of the Black Madonna Church is one of the few remaining organizations from the civil rights movements in the 60’s. It is not only still alive, it is also expanding. Here is the force from the movements in the 60’s together with a contemporary understanding of politics and strategy that has proven to be very efficient. With Black Christian Nationalism they have turned their back on the white American institutions and slowly built their own black alternative based on communalism. They work against individualism and with Jesus as an example of a black revolutionary. Their theology has its originis in Marcus Garvey’s ideas from the 20’s, in which God’s chosen people are black. This short film is 12 minutes condensed from a Mass on Father’s Day 2005 – aimed at black men.
Shoe Piece, Swim Piece, Tree Piece
High Heel Sisters, 2002, 6 min
Three short video works that depict some of the first investigations of physical abilities carried out by the High Heel Sisters. These videos are about putting their own physical and mental abilities to the test and about being big, strong and older than the rest. It’s about an empowered feeling of sisterhood, which makes you believe you can swim across deep oceans to reach the horizon.
Hit the North is curated by Anna Linder.