Rodriguez Foundation
Marina Griznic
Oliver Ressler
Hito Steyerl
José Carlos Mariategui
Marcus Neustetter
november 5
19:00 >> Fundación Rodriguez
20:00 >> Marina Griznic
november 6
19:00 >> Oliver Ressler
20:00 >> Hito Steyerl
november 7
19:00 >> José Carlos Mariategui
20:00 >> Marcus Neustetter

A summary of Hito Steryerl’s presentation of the November project at the Koldo Mitxelena Kulturunea on 6th November 2003, within the framework of the conferences on Artistic Proposals of Today, here and there.

Hito Steyerl has produced a variety of work as a filmmaker and author in the field of essayist documentary filmography and post-colonial critique, both as a producer and a theorist. Her works are situated on an interface between the cinema and fine arts, and between theory and practice. Her principal topics of interest are: cultural globalisation, feminism, culture, global migration and racism.

The presentation was centred around the November project which deals with Andrea Wolf, a close childhood friend of hers, and with emigration from the centre to the periphery. It also focuses on terrorism and on different spaces and subjectivities. The starting point for this work is an S-8 feminist martial arts film that Andrea and Hito made together. “We were interested in fighting scenes, Andrea and I beat-up groups of men. We fought without any arms, because only villains use ARMS”, Hito Steyerl declared.

Several years’ later, Andrea Wolf ended up being declared an enemy of the state. “There was a warrant to find and capture her because she was considered to be a member of the Red Army. This organisation was responsible for blowing up a prison for immigrants waiting to be deported to their country of origin”, Hito Steyerl explained. Andrea Wolf decided to go underground and she left for Kurdistan where she joined the PKK Women’s Army. In October 1998 a violent struggle was unleashed in the North of Iraq between the PKK and the Turkish Army. Andrea Wolf was arrested and subsequently assassinated. “This conflict has taken the lives of 30,000 people just in the nineties. My friend is one of them”, Hito Steyerl declared.

Going over the film they filmed fifteen years earlier, Hito Steyerl found several coincidences between the fiction represented by the short film and reality. Although Hito is the one to die in the film, and it is Andrea who kills the villains responsible for her friend’s death. “The film has become a fiction document that represents what our fantasies were and how our desires were structured”, Hito Steyerl explained. For Hito Steyerl, this film represents a kind of ethical responsibility for Andrea Wolf’s death and for this reason, she has begun research into her death from a different angle. According to her, the main question is how to pass the images taken using Super 8 to those images that are now being generated around the figure of her friend and that are made on the computer.

As an example of these current images, Hito Steyerl showed a poster that appeared in several Germany cities shortly after Andrea Wolf’s death in which her friend is shown to be a martyr of the Kurd cause. “For me, when I came across this image it was an invitation to start research”, she declared. Another example of this process was an image of a demonstration held in Rome on the occasion of the arrest and sentencing of Abdula Ocalan. During this demonstration, images of Andrea Wolf were shown as one of the martyrs of the Kurd cause.

When considering this project, another question that is of particular interest to Hito Steyerl is the question affecting cultural referents. The film she made together with Andrea shows the cultural referents they handled at the time: martial art films and some American films that presented armed and dangerous women such as “Kill pussycat, kill faster”. These travelling images are one of the priority aspects of Hito Steyerl’s research. “The film showed our referential icons. It is strange to observe that, years later, Andrea has become a referential icon for many people”, Hito Steyerl explained.

The importance of the use of marital arts is a point that directly relates the fiction represented in the film to reality. As Hito Steyerl explained, Andrea Wolf continued to practice these arts whilst she was underground and, moreover, she instructed her companions in the Women’s Army, it was an important communication element between them. Hito Steyerl insisted that the massive use of these arts is a example of world militarisation, “they are no longer used for what they were created for. These arts are now part of the war. They have undergone a process of globalisation thanks to the use the American army has made of them”, she declared.

In the opinion of Hito Steyerl, we are no longer living in Eisenstein’s October , we are now living in a period which she calls November and this is the name given to the project she is currently working on. According to her, it is a period which starts at the moment when the concept of revolution as an internationalist idea of socio-political and economic emancipation has ended and where local struggles can no longer be internationalised.

[Arteleku] [Rodriguez Fundazioa] [Eusko Jaularitza] [American Foundation Center] [Casa Asia]