Errant Soul: From East to West and In Between

Errant Soul presents two approaches to Chantal Akerman’s films, one stemming from her Jewish identity and the other from the notion of hybridity and sense of place in her work. Marat Grinberg considers the questions of Jewishness and Holocaust representation in Akerman’s films, concentrating on two documentaries, D’est (1993) and La-bas (2006) and her fiction film, Tomorrow We Move (2004), in which she explores her Jewishness most explicitly. Situating Akerman’s work in the larger context of post-war European Holocaust cinema and such filmmakers as Andrei Tarkovsky, Grinberg foregrounds the issue of absence and the relationship between live action and documentary footage as paramount to understanding Akerman’s approach to her identity and the Holocaust. Luis Croquer takes as a point of departure his own curatorial work and his personal experience with non-linear notions of identity to address Akerman’s resistance to labels and the hybridity of her approach to film. Through images and clips, Croquer prods the ghostly presence of architecture, and cities, in her work to try to unpack their relationship to place, emotion, memory, and to the body. Akerman’s contributions to film are discussed in relationship to filmmakers like Michelangelo Antonioni, Stanley Kubrick and again, Tarkovsky, as well as to the work of contemporary artists that are influenced, directly or indirectly, by experimental cinema. The conversation aims to address questions left unanswered by the artist and to ponder how Akerman’s dispassionate but persistent questioning of identity and established narratives seems especially prescient today.

A reception follows from 5-6pm. Tickets to Dialogues events: $7 general, $5 artists and seniors, students free with ID. Donate what you can. No one will be turned away at the door.

Luis Croquer is the Deputy Director of Exhibitions, Collections and Programs at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle. He served as the first Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) from 2008 to 2011. He previously held positions at El Museo del Barrio, the American Federation of Arts and the Drawing Center in New York. At the Henry he has overseen more than 40 exhibitions and curated many projects. His most recent shows include, “Paul McCarthy: White Snow Wood Sculptures” and “Franz Erhard Walther: The Body Draws,” a namesake publication is forthcoming. He has been the recipient of Fulbright, Hilla Rebay International and Warhol Foundation fellowships and has been a juror for many national and regional awards. Croquer was born in El Salvador, the son of a Venezuelan diplomat, he has lived in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.

Marat Grinberg is Associate Professor of Russian and Humanities at Reed College. He is a specialist in 20th-century Russian literature and culture, with an emphasis on Soviet poetry, modern Jewish literature, culture and politics, and post-war European and American Cinema. Grinberg is the author of “I am to be Read not from Left to Right, but in Jewish: from Right to Left: The Poetics of Boris Slutsky” (2011); and he is the co-editor of “Woody on Rye: Jewishness in the Films and Plays of Woody Allen” (2013). He has published extensively in both academic and journalistic venues on Russian and Jewish literature, culture and cinema. His latest book is “Aleksandr Askoldov: The Commissar” (2016) about the great banned Soviet film.

DIALOGUES is Zena Zezza’s series of performative conversations on the ideas and influences within Chantal Akerman’s work, bringing together theory, scholarship and artists’ practices with LOOKING, REALLY LOOKING! The Films of Chantal Akerman.

DIALOGUES events are presented in collaboration with the Pacific Northwest College of the Arts at PNCA’s Mediatheque, 511 NW Broadway.

LOOKING, REALLY LOOKING! and DIALOGUES is co-presented by Zena Zezza and the Northwest Film Center, and is curated by Sandra Percival with Morgen Ruff.