A series of exhibitions and events within the framework of Beaufort, the triennial of contemporary art by the sea.

Drei Atlas
MIRYAM CHARLES — CA, 2018 — 16mm — 8’

Vitamin See
SIMNIKIWE BUHLUNGU — ZA, 2017 — video — 3’56”

Sometimes It Was Beautiful
CHRISTIAN NYAMPETA — US/SE, 2018 — video — 37’43”

Soleil Ô
MED HONDO — MR/FR, 1970 — 35mm — 104’

27/05 – 7/11
MIRYAM CHARLES at Boekhandel Corman
CHRISTIAN NYAMPETA at Jeugdhuis OHK (except 25/06)
19/06, 20:00
MED HONDO at De Grote Post
07, 08/08
WEAVING REALITIES on different locations
30/10, 15:00

Last year, Black Lives Matter caused movement in the street. The wave of protests which came from America, flew over to Brussels, Gent, Antwerp and Ostend. Besides George Floyd, other names were called out through the streets: Adil, Mehdi, Semira, Lamine, Mawda…
The Brussels protest took place next to the Palace of Justice, a building held together by scaffolds. The words of James Baldwin seem to echo in her big, cold halls: “An invented past can never be used; it cracks and crumbles under the pressures of life like clay in a season of drought.”

The Brussels Palace of Justice is one of the many examples of colonial architecture in Brussels, financed with so-called ‘Kongogeld’ (Congo-money), which came from the plundering of Belgian colonies in Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. In Ostend, we find similar examples in the forms of statues and architecture. The Queen of Coastal Cities earned her royal reputation and Belle-Epoque architecture through the actions of Leopold II who took care of the construction of buildings such as the Royal Galleries, the Royal Stables, the Wellington Racecourse, the Leopoldpark, the late Kursaal… Leopold II was honoured in Ostend through the equestrian statue which crowns the Drie Gapers.

What do we do with this heritage? At the request of Beaufort, Monokino attempts to address the aftermath of colonial history in Ostend through a different approach, in the form of an installation of videoworks throughout the city.
Where the statues of the city look down on from above, Monokino flips the gaze. We searched for stories which are not described in history books and voices which whisper behind monumental facades. In this manner, Miryam Charles’ film Drei Atlas (2018) describes how a servant girl is suspected of the murder of her former employer. As a viewer, we experience the perspective of the protagonist who has to convince a police woman of her innocence.

As an everyday medium, film offers more recognizability than the statues which often appear strange and alien. This is why the audiovisual medium was often used for colonial propaganda. As a nomadic film and arts collective, these film archives raise a number of questions for us: how exactly does that film and visual culture determine our (colonial) image, then and today? And how can we see film and video today as a medium for alternative knowledge transfer? Simnikiwe Buhlungu questions knowledge production with her film Vitamin See (2017). What is Scientific Knowledge? Who ‘produces’ this knowledge? Two children have a dialogue about the sea as a metaphor for knowledge transfer.

In the short program, Christian Nyampeta takes a central role with his film Sometimes it was Beautiful (2018). In a cinema, several historical figures discuss how we should frame discussions about historical imagery of the colonies today. Who has the right to (re)present these histories? And how?

With the program Cracks and Crumbles, Monokino wants to emphasize that there is no singular or straightforward imagery of our past, and therefore there is no singular answer. ‘The’ history is an untenable construction, about to burst. This is why we searched for personal and intimate narratives, as a counterweight to the monumental statues.

To make way for an active dialogue, we also weaved a number of events next to the permanent program. We start with a screening of Med Hondo’s film Soleil Ô (1970) accompanied by a conversation between our very own Anouk De Clercq and Pascale Obolo, a filmmaker, activist and curator.

In late summer, we planned a city walk with Aldo Esparza Ramos and Yuchen Li. Together they form the collective Weaving Realities in which they address ancestral knowledge about food traditions. In Ostend they will talk about the (colonial) history of chocolate through ancestral stories.
We conclude with Carte Blanche, an evening with Belgian filmmakers Sandra Muteteri Heremans and Maxime Jean-Baptiste who put together a program of ‘black’ or absent images.

Together with these artists, filmmakers, thinkers and the people of Ostend, Monokino enters into a dialogue about our collective past and we think about how we deal with these histories in the present. So that the cracks and the crumbs do not lead to a collapse today, but serve as inspiration for a future shared and imagined together.

Free. Reservations for events via info@monokino.org.

In collaboration with Beaufort and CINEA. With the support of Vlaams Audiovisueel Fonds, De Grote Post, Mu.ZEE, Jeugdhuis OHK, Boekhandel Corman, Archive Books.

SUPPORT — We currently work without subsidies, so your support is more than welcome and literally brings light to the screen:

BE80 7340 4532 5277     BIC: KREDBEBB

Payment reference: ‘Gift’.

Gifts above the sum of € 40 are tax deductible.
A gift of € 100 will only cost you € 55.

Artistic coordination: Anouk De Clercq, Godart Bakkers
General coordination: Ditte Claus
Artistic team: Eric de Kuyper, Xavier Garcia Bardon
Production team: Bob Mees, Jef Declercq, Johan Opstaele, Noah Heylen
Communication: Cynthia Vandenbruaene
Graphic design: Michaël Bussaer. Webdesign: Dominique Callewaert.

With the support of Auguste Orts, CINEMATEK, KAAP, KASK School of Arts Gent, Onderzoeksfonds Universiteit Gent, Vlaams Audiovisueel Fonds.

Whoever walks in Ostend today is confronted with a fantastic eclecticism: a brutal grey apartment block exists next to the glorious Thermae Palace. The mighty, almost Stalinist, building of De Grote Post dominates the Hendrik Serruyslaan. A former department store houses a museum for contemporary art. Belle-époque houses are hidden in the quiet but stately streets.

In 2017, one void struck artist Anouk De Clercq: that glorious film culture of Henri Storck, James Ensor or Raoul Servais had disappeared from the streets. With the closure of the Rialto cinema, the last independent cinema from the Ostend cinema circuit also disappeared. Against such an extraordinary backdrop, with the sea as a large projection surface for images, stories and histories, that is such a shame.

And so the idea of Monokino ripens: one room, marked by an equally fantastic eclecticism, where cinema can be itself again. One room where long and short films, film classics, auteur cinema, video art, experimental films, animation, or the work of young makers can find a place. Monokino shows, questions, responds, engages in conversation, invites, welcomes, puts in perspective. Monokino is a place of, by and for people from Ostend, for professionals and enthusiasts, for young and old, for those from here and those from there.

The films that Monokino wants to show don’t only live on the screen. They also spread between residents, spectators, and makers. In that sense, Monokino is also Kopfkino: a mental cinema, where images get the chance to live and multiply.

That’s how Monokino drifts nomadically through those eclectic streets of Ostend and settles in the heads and hearts of the people of Ostend. Soon it’ll moor for good.

Monokino wants to drive cinema into the 21st century and illuminate the adventurous side of film. While we strive for a permanent place as anchorage for cinefiles from Ostend and beyond, Monokino operates as a nomadic film platform.

The sea is Monokino’s favourite projection surface for images, stories and histories. In anticipation of our next screening, we’ve started to collect a list of films in which the sea plays a main or supporting role. Can you think of a film that’s not already on our list? We’d love to hear about it via info@monokino.org.

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