Response to the 2010 Congress

By Ekrem Serdar

I arrived and I immediately started wondering how this would all go, these are all reasonable people Ekrem, so I wondered really what or any arguments (action!) there could be, I suppose the only way that would happen is if someone said something silly, and silliness began with the ol’ filmy vs video, Nicky Hamlyn a while later voicing the reasonable at all that blah, “it’s a false dichotomy!,” probably tired as I was, articulate as I wasn’t; Michael Snow talking about how what he is interested in are the “qualities” of a medium, me thinking that what I’m really learning are those words that’ll let me see something again; hearing sentences I didn’t understand, like Peter Ride saying “data is not cinematic,” which distracted me enough that I zoned out on his explanation, or Ursula Biemann saying that “there were already other cameramen there” when asked why she split-screened a scene of her writing something on one half of the frame while tragedies befell people in the middle east in the other (including my home town); hearing phrases that I wanted to see on a t-shirt (or a session), like “All you need to fix a projector is a screwdriver” (Pip Chodorov); feeling so refreshed after the short works at the Snapshot of a Diversity of Current Practices session; so curious to see more after the sessions on flicks from India and Korea; a consumer-culty aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa at Roger Beebe and thankful for all those late night screenings at the church; watching an extensive treatise on male pattern baldness in the middle east (it’s my conditioner my mother tells me); skipping out on the Interface : Experiment : Access session with the LodhStar to check out the bemusingly exhausting Ryan Trecartin exhibition and walk this adorable town; fleeting, evocative frames from the Tom Chomont screening that I caught the end of; Daïchi Saïto showing us his great house with all the gear of the Double Negative Collective, he gets up to pee and someone’s using the optical printer; seeing Mike Zryd around, smiling, eye-brow raised and ready, him pointing out that there were, after all, many other congresses before this one and before '89, seven or eight perhaps; Ed Halter telling those of us doing events to act up; Steve Anker telling us to know when to stop; Bart Testa with the timeless complaint on crassness, careerism and wishy washiness, and it’s timeless because his complaints aren’t really wrong, I just can’t see them ever being wrong, such tendencies were around when Fred Camper wrote of our end too, and probably always, but great stuff was around then and now too, but perhaps I’m too young, but maybe the argument will always be right, which is why you keep your head down and focus, and perhaps that’s why it bothers him, and sometimes us when we raise our heads, and then Bart Testa and Vera Frenkel argued about the last Congress that wasn’t fully explained, or at least I felt unsure of; feeling as if there was nothing at stake, wondering what could be at stake, it’s a fight, sure, but look at us, we’re all fighting for it everyday, that’s good, thinking that I just prefer festivals, I mean sure I can have an opinion on any of this, but does it affect me, ok Ekrem, one conference just for you (I think it was my first), feeling exhausted, could be more exhausted, mostly oversmoked, I think I’m getting sick, wishing there was echinacea tea in the lobby (apparently it’s a myth), wishing I could’ve attended both this and Orphan at NYC, perhaps streaming video between the two, I’m sure many of us are curious at what was going on at the other (too!), I guess I’ll wait for the podcasts, finding things to complain about then rationalizing them, wish there were more screenings (um, Images?), wish there were more retro’s (of dead white men?), wish there was a screening of Indian experimental flicks (wasn’t there one recently?), feeling how all this was good and sprawling and introductory (hello I’m art world, hello I’m film world) and how it would perhaps be properly judged by the next one, hanging out with Eli, Jess, Salah and Marc, imitating Frampton, thinking man these York kids, great, is York some kind of mecca for experimental flicks, then being so happy for Eli for getting that bouquet of flowers after seeing him running around crazy-eyed morning to night, wondering how on earth we took it home.




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Ekrem Serdar is from Ankara, Turkey, lived in Buffalo, New York for nine years, and is currently based in Austin, Texas. You should visit him.









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