About Animals

Screenings, reading and talk with the Film Feld Forschung scholarship holders Shelly Silver and Maha Maamoun

silent green Film Feld Forschung cordially invites to an evening with screenings, reading and talk with the current scholarship holders Shelly Silver und Maha Maamoun.
Guest: Haytham el-Wardany
Moderation: Stefanie Schulte Strathaus

Within the framework of the silent green "Film Feld Forschung" residencies funded by Goethe Institute, both current scholarship holders Shelly Silver and Maha Maamoun will present their work in a collective screening. The evening "About Animals" has the main topic "the animal", an issue both artists have broached several times in their films before. The screenings go along with a reading by Haytham el-Wardanys and a talk with the two film makers and Stefanie Schulte Strathaus.


“In frog spider hand horse house, the effort of all things to keep existing has been observed, the super-focused effort of all creatures toward the expression of vitality, the stubborn going-on in time of particularly shaped and textured bodies... Shelly Silver calls this film a fairytale without a tale without a fairy. But if a tale builds toward a moral, and a fairy touches circumstances with beneficent or baneful magic, couldn’t the recording apparatus ... be the agent of fable in this case? It’s filmmaking, here, that makes sequential meaning out of one-thing-then-another. It’s filmmaking that proposes: Even the decaying, the very normal, the locked-up are magnets for the camera’s composing and intensifying gaze. – Frances Richard


“The Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, née Plötz, was an unsung member of the New York Dada Movement. She was a poet, artist, vaudeville performer, runaway, rabble-rouser, cross-dresser, and all around public provocateur. She actively did not fit into her historical moment, and like most misfits, suffered for it. As with many women artists throughout history, her cultural legacy has been obscured and in some instances appropriated into the oeuvres of better-known male peers. Some researchers believe that the Baroness was the artist behind “Fountain,” the ready-made urinal attributed to Duchamp. The Lamps details her trip to the Naples Archeological Museum in the early 1900s where she breaks into “Il Gabinetto Segretto,“ a secret room filled with erotic objects from Pompeii.”

MAHA MAAMOUN: DEAR ANIMAL, Egypt 2016, 24', Arabic with English subs

Animals have always been used in art, from the prehistoric to the present, and today they can serve as a starting point to investigate an age of biopolitics, global waves of refugees and terror attacks. Maha Maamoun presents Dear Animal, her current film and book-in-progress co-funded by the Academy. Dear Animal interweaves two texts: a short story by Haitham El-Wardany about a drug dealer who turns into a strange animal; and a selection of letters written by Azza Shaaban, a director-producer involved with the Egyptian revolution and now living in India, from where she regularly posts notes to her Facebook friends relating stories of travel and healing. The film moves back and forth between the cinematic short story by El-Wardany, filmed in Cairo, and the scenes produced with Shaaban in India where she reads, on or off screen, a selection of her letters, the camera moving between her and her private and public surroundings.

Shelly Silver is a New York based artist working with the still and moving image. Her work explores contested territories between public and private, narrative and documentary, and – increasingly in recent years – the watcher and the watched. Silver is Associate Professor and Director of the Moving Image, Visual Arts Program, Columbia University.

Maha Maamoun is a Cairo-based artist. Her work has been shown in international exhibitions and biennials. She is a founding board member of the Contemporary Image Collective (CiC) in Cairo. Maamoun is a fellow of the Academy of the Arts of the World.

Doors: 7 pm
Start screening: 7.30 pm

Free entry