Photo: Jean-Louis Blondeau / Polaris

Screening of Man on Wire (James Marsh, 2008) proposed by Curating Positions COOP.

Headphones will be used during the session. Don’t forget to bring yours to Illegal_Cinema!

On August 7th, 1974, a young Frenchman named Philippe Petit stepped out on a wire illegally rigged between the New York World Trade Center’s twin towers. After dancing for nearly an hour on the wire, he was arrested, taken for psychological evaluation, and brought to jail before he was finally released. This extraordinary documentary incorporates Petit’s personal footage to show how he overcame seemingly insurmountable challenges to achieve the artistic crime of the century. Directed by James Marsh.

Directed by James Marsh, this picture might provide us with an unsettling correlation to the odds of living as an artist in the current times. Amidst the cloudy skies of the current social and political landscapes, Man on Wire offers a small shaft of light still residing within images past – in hopes that its sparks could reignite precious desires. To what heights do artists aim? With what risks? And at what potential costs? What might be the limits, or aspirations, of what art can achieve?

Curating Positions COOP is an artistic research / study group within the context of the Dutch Art Institute (DAI). With a subheading of Nostalgia for the Light: Struggles’ Reverberations in Cinema, this year’s COOP investigates the flickering spectres that lurk and linger in filmic depictions of militancy and histories of militant cinema; shapeshifting, fleeting, oppositional, collective. Reverberations of such cinematic rays of light becoming the sparks of tiny fires dancing across the darkest of times – yearning for what is yet to come. Holding out for outside imaginaries, in radical embodied modes of being alive, as much as in cinema. This year’s participants include: Miyoung Chang, Laura Dubourjal, Elisa Giuliano, Maud Gyssels, velvet leigh, Chiara Pagano, Iga Świeściak, Lau ten Zeldam, Lucas Lugarinho and Rhodé Visser. As a group of individuals, we crave belonging. As a students’ assembly, we cement links to build knowledge between us. As artists, we invite the presence of co-existence and confrontation as a means to re-inhabit; our own bodies, spaces, the movement of light and shadows, militancy, and the moving image.