Anna Zett: Encountering disappearance and existence

Anna Zett Dinosaur gif Videostill2

Videolounge der Stiftung IMAI – Inter Media Art Institute

March 3 – May 14 2023

The artist and author Anna Zett (*1983 in Leipzig, works in Berlin) studied gender studies, cultural anthropology and philosophy at Humboldt University and art with Hito Steyerl, among others, at the University of the Arts in Berlin. Her work has been shown internationally at art institutions and film festivals such as the Whitney Museum in New York, TENT Rotterdam, and Forum Expanded at the Berlinale. She is a multiple grant awardee of the Berlin Senate. Since 2020, her works have been included in IMAI's distribution program.

Anna Zett This Unwieldy Object Videostill1

3.3. – 26.3.2023

This Unwieldy Object

2014, 47 Min., Colour, Sound

The film camera accompanies the artist on a research trip through the western USA. There, disguised as a tourist, she pursues her thesis that the figure of the long-extinct dinosaur is both an unwieldy object and a product of imperial capitalism. In a region with numerous paleontological sites, she encounters fossil hunters, scientists, mountain sculptors and myth tellers, stories of competition, theft, oppression, and exploitation of the indigenous people. The dinosaur figure is successfully marketed as a product, whether in material form, such as a toy, or virtually in Hollywood films. It always serves as a placeholder for the repressed history of dispossession in the American West.

28.3. – 23.4.2023

Es gibt keine Angst [Afraid doesn't exist], 2023, 31:29 min.

In her latest work, the artist, who grew up in Leipzig, searches the Berlin archive of the GDR opposition for materials to repair a childhood emotional world. The audio and video recordings, made between 1986 and 1990, show activists in the environment of the East Berlin Environmental Library (Umwelt-Bibliothek), artists and writers experiencing and actively shaping the end of the GDR. The second occupation of the Berlin Stasi headquarters with a hunger strike in September 1990 and the street interviews conducted by the occupiers on the question of the whereabouts of the Stasi documents provide deep insights into the political mood during the chaotic period of upheaval shortly before German unification. The pulsating composition of poetic and harrowing recordings creates a mood that is both melancholy and turbulent. But in the end, art and politics together find a way to let go of the incriminating past. The soundtrack is the result of research into the underground and avant-garde music of the late GDR.

Anna Zett Es gibt keine Angst videostill1
Anna Zett Endarchiv Videostill2

25.4. – 14.5.2023

Endarchiv, 2019, 18:21 min.

2019, 18:21 Min., Farbe, Ton

Like a final storage facility, the final archive (Endarchiv) is a paradoxical place for Anna Zett, where memories and meanings are simultaneously stored and made to disappear. The starting point for the film is archive footage of the artistic painting of the eastern side of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 and the subsequent painting over by the border police. The artist confronts the historical art action with a writing performance on the crumbling surface of a pile of gravel. The spray-painted messages carry the symbolism of the dwindling further as Zett addresses nature, beginning with "Dear Environment." With her hands and feet, she blurs parts of the messages, transforming them in this way into new statements. Mindfully, she moves across the stones line by line, leaving a cleansed surface at the end. "Learn the language of power, but let it go at the right moment". In Endarchiv, Anna Zett questions the finitude of meaning and celebrates the possibility of being able to shape the process of writing and letting go oneself.



3.3. – 14.5.2023

Dinosaur.gif, 2014, 22 Min., silent

Anna Zett's scholarly and artistic exploration of dinosaur animation in U.S. cinema resulted in this analytical compilation of moving images from Hollywood industry films, accompanied by an essay by the artist. Cinematic encounters between humans and dinosaurs not only testify to the quest to conquer 'wild' nature with ratio and technology, they also reveal our escapist desires and imperialist projections. The special effects and elaborate digital animations in the film spectacle are contrasted by Anna Zett's low-res animated GIFs, which appear in a simple text editor and do without a dramatic film score.

Anna Zett Dinosaur gif Videostill1

The exhibition is part of the IM FOKUS series, which presents new additions to IMAI's program.

Curated by Darija Šimunović.

Partners Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf Otto Beisheim Stiftung Hoffmann Liebs Max Brown Midtown CCS