The IMAI – Inter Media Art Institute presents Paradise Tossed, a four-part screening series at NRW-Forum Düsseldorf’s Videolounge. Based on the video of the same name by Jill Scott from 1992, the series brings together works that speculate about dystopian but also hopeful future scenarios from a (queer-)feminist perspective. With a special focus on the relationships between technical achievements, working realities, and nature, the selected videos capture how these competing forces shape the landscapes and domestic environments that surround us. Following the rhythm of Scott’s work, which is divided into chapters dedicated to the 1900s, 1930s, 1960s, and 1990s, the screenings outline moments of conflict and resistance, but also of reconciliation and intimacy in the 2020s.
June 4- July 9, 2023
In Paradise Tossed, Jill Scott (*1952, lives in Zurich) leads the viewer into a digitally animated world in which tools and products fuse with changing interiors from different decades to create dreamlike landscapes. Introduced and “held” by a pair of protective hands, the viewers slide into different time zones and realities, in which the ideologies of technical progress, design, and consumption are (ironically) commented on by a voiceover narrated by several women.
The noise of the machines and the sounds of breathing and swallowing combine to form a polyphonic sound-track of acceleration and labor, but perhaps also exhaustion.
“I wanted to explore the tenuous relationship between design and desire in particular time zones. Are utopian worlds of clean and crips interior design exaggerated by 3-D-animation in commercials? Were such worlds used as a tool of seduction to induce technological utopia into the minds?” (Jill Scott)
Jill Scott, Paradise Tossed, 1992, 14:00 min.
August 18 - October 29, 2023
At the end of her video, Jill Scott asks “Where do we go from here?,” a question that seems to be a call to change course. But what could follow the belief in progress and growth? This chapter, which focuses on the keywords return, breakdown, and convive, brings together works that explore paths in different directions.
Return – Jen Liu (*1976, lives in NYC) focuses on the nationalist fantasy of the re-industrialization of the United States by confronting symbols of power and control with texts that strive to overcome hegemonic social structures. Breakdown – Monika Funke Stern (*1943, lives in Berlin) raises the question of whether an invention that cannot be patented could lead to the collapse of possessive individualist orders—with consequences for the protagonist’s disciplined everyday work. Convive – a garbage dump, a symbol of our throwaway society, is at the centre of Tejal Shah’s (*1979, lives in Mumbai) video. What happens when these nonplaces take over our living spaces, and can new relationships be forged here too?
Jen Liu, Machinist’s Lament, 2014, 17:48 min.
Monika Funke Stern, Zum Glück gibt’s kein Patent, 1985, 14:17 min.
Tejal Shah, Between the Waves, Channel II - Landfill Dance, 2012, 5:02 min.
Curated by: Kat Lawinia Gorska
October 31, 2023 - January 21, 2024
Jill Scott labeled the individual chapters of her work Paradise Tossed with the terms help, hope, growth, and change. They reflect the expectations, aspirations, and visions that have shaped the twentieth century. But what remains of them today?
The works presented in this program carry Scott’s feminist perspective into our time.
The accelerated way of life defined by consumption and fast-paced communication and relationships leads to the downfall of the satirically portrayed figure of the “thinker” in Max Almy’s (*1948, lives in Malibu and Savannah) video of the same title, which takes viewers through various eras in which men dominated. Nastja Säde Rönkkö (*1985, lives in London and Helsinki) captures in poetic images the fragility of nature and its ongoing destruction. Her message is directed to the next generations of species that will survive. The starting point for the work of María Alcaide (*1992, lives in Paris) is her own family, and she reflects on growing up in a patriarchal society in rural Spain by comparing the oppression of women to the exploitative conditions of meat production.
Max Almy, The Thinker, 1989, 7:39 min.
Nastja Säde Rönkkö, Milk & Decay, 2019, 9:32 min.
María Alcaide, Carne de mi carne: Entraña, 2021, 35:53 min.
Curated by: Darija Šimunović
February 16, 2024 - May 26, 2024
Based on Dara Birnbaum’s (*1946, lives in New York) video Evocation, in which an everyday scene at a playground triggers transcendental experiences, the last chapter of the exhibition series examines the visionary potential of alternative psychological realities and interpersonal relationships.
As part of a trilogy inspired by the myth of Faust, Birnbaum collages introspections — evanescent memories of her protagonists — with urban landscapes in decay. Accompanied by quotes from the cultural theorist Lauren Berlant, Jiajia Zhang (*1995, lives in Zurich) tests the hallucinogenic effect of the dazzling facades of shopping districts in her video. In the spirit of Berlant, different stages of transformation and belonging to the urban environment are tested. In their life and art practice, Dani and Sheilah ReStack (*1972 / *1975, live in Ohio) establish a concrete safe space and “wild domestic” environment in which queer desire, motherhood, aging, and resulting fears and hopes are shared in their radical physicality.
Dara Birnbaum, Evocation, 1983, 10 min.
Dara Birnbaum, Damnation of Faust: Will-o’-the-Wisp (A Deceitful Goal), 1985, 5:38 min.
Dara Birnbaum, Damnation of Faust: Charming Landscape, 1987, 6:30 min.
Jiajia Zhang, Beautiful Mistakes (after LB), 2022, 8:57 min.
Dani & Sheilah ReStack, The Sky’s In There, 2022, 11:24 min.
Curated by: Nele Kaczmarek
Curators: Kat Lawinia Gorska, Nele Kaczmarek and Darija Šimunović
with special support by Lucia Horňáková