Chris Kennedy

“Elke Marhöfer: Shape Shifting.” October 16, 2016

Elke Marhöfer: Shape Shifting

Rearticulating elements of anthropology and documentary, the films of Elke Marhöfer often explore the concept of affective ecology — a study that looks at the emotional relationships between human beings and the rest of the living and non-living world, and seeks to re-evaluate the hierarchal status of humans, animals, and things. Sometimes Marhöfer’s investigations are microcosmic, as in Shape Shifting, which looks at a Japanese farming practice of controlled burns, which aids in the rotation of crops in highly fertile and naturally diverse land. At other times they explore wider terrain, as in Primate Colors, which follows one detail after another in the nocturnal commercial zones of Hong Kong. Following the natural movement of the people and things in front of her camera, Marhöfer records how her subjects are constantly buffeted by the forces of global capital, a ceaseless, invisible movement which creates an almost surreal air around the spaces she films.

Surrendering her own observations to the flow of experience, Markhofer rejects the ordering imperative of anthropology, stating that in her films “No claims are made about the lives of others.” This statement is underscored by Nobody Knows, when it was made and why, a silent black- and-white film that records the Mnemosyne Atlas by Aby Warburg, an early 20th century attempt to map the life of metaphor — to see how proximate art and objects relate to each other and why.

Shape Shifting dirs. Elke Marhöfer & Mikhail Lylov | Germany/Japan 2015 | 18.5 min. | 16mm on video
Primate Colors dirs. Elke Marhöfer & Mikhail Lylov | Germany/China 2015 | 31 min. | 16mm on video
Nobody Knows, when it was made and why dir. Elke Marhöfer | Germany/UK 2012 | 10 min. | 16mm

Elke Marhöfer in person.

Co-presented with the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT).

Supported by the Goethe Institut Toronto.

Sunday, October 16 6:30pm