30 May–21 July 2009 / Casco HQ
A project by Gitte Villesen with stories by Yenden Doff and Mariama Corr in collaboration with Amadou Sarr and Mariama Sarr
Opening: Saturday 30 May 2009, 17:00 Opening forum and screenings with Domitilla Olivieri (researcher, Utrecht University), Sandra Schäfer (filmmaker) and Gitte Villsen.
Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory is pleased to present I Will Arrange Everything. It Will Be the Best Film Ever, a project by artist Gitte Villesen, with two new video works and an installation. To mark the opening there will be a forum and screenings around the issue of the role of a camera in social exchange. The forum will include Domitilla Olivieri, Sandra Schäfer and Gitte Villesen.
In a number of the video works produced by Gitte Villesen over the last fifteen years the camera, rather than being an instrument for depicting reality, functions as an essential tool for forging an interpersonal exchange. The camera serves to mediate the artist and her subjects in the process of building a relation in which the interlocutors speak for themselves and tell the stories of their lives. The lives here might initially appear to be “less ordinary” and conditioned by a rigid social and political framework. However, the space created in the videos exposes their individual agency to produce a different reality and attain dignity. This, in turn, affects the position of viewers.
I Will Arrange Everything. It Will Be the Best Film Ever, a new project by Gitte Villesen, is part of her long-term initiative constructed around her encounters with the Gambia-based musician and knowledgeable juju practitioner Amadou Sarr. Following her previous film (Juju. White Magic) featuring Sarr and his family, which dealt with this magic practice and their belief in – or knowledge about – it, Villesen now embarks on deepening and broadening her engagement with them. This time the protagonists are Yenden Doff and Mariama Corr, two Gambian women from consecutive older generations and the relatives of Sarr. Through the two films, they tell us about their lives and struggles, intertwined with their special knowledge on “juju,” the belief system that governs the social and political sphere in Gambia, including the position of women. Daring to move around the borders of ethnographic representation, or objectification, of others, Villesen opens up the possibility of encounters in which different views of reality permeate each other and a new form of knowing and relating to “others” is generated.
The two videos are installed in a special viewing environment with a textile designed and produced by Mariama Sarr (Amadou Sarr’s wife) – not in order to create a mimetic environment, but as another mode of collaboration between Villesen and the Gambian women. The title of the project is a contribution from Amadou Sarr. “I will arrange everything. It will be the best film ever” is Sarr’s assuring remark for Villesen before she took her second visit to Gambia.