"As If" is a film on the Czech city of Terezín (Theresienstadt).
On Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 6: 30 p.m., Deutsches Haus at NYU will present a (partial) screening of Daniel Blaufuks's new film As If [Als Ob, Como Se, 2015], followed by a conversation between the visual artist and Ulrich Baer, NYU's Vice Provost for Faculty, Arts, Humanities, and Diversity.
Events at Deutsches Haus – at 42 Washington Mews (at University Place), New York, N.Y. – are free. Advance registration is required. If you would like to attend this event, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. As space at Deutsches Haus is limited, please arrive ten minutes prior to the event to ensure you get a good seat.
As If, part of Daniel Blaufuks’s exhibition All the Memory of the World, Part One, is a film on the Czech city of Terezín (Theresienstadt). The work was conceived from the start for the large projection screen and was edited from different sources, so constructing a specific narrative and chronological structure, which intercalates these alternate layers. These are made of truth and fiction, of so-called document and of historical fake, of romanticized drama, and of newsreels. The spine of the work and from which the main narrative takes its cue, consists of the images that Blaufuks recorded during late May and early June 2014 in the city itself, again called Terezín, now long after its brief period during the war as Theresienstadt. These images are also the larger part of As If, and consist mostly of wide-angled street views, house facades, and closed building doors. They also include views of sun bathing girls, bored teenagers, playing children, elderly passing by, fast noisy cars roaring down, beer-buying men, etc., in fact, everything that makes up the life of a normal city and is somewhat reflected by the images from the second largest source, or layer, the fake documentary Theresienstadt, made by the Germans in 1944, which pretended to show exactly this: how normal the city-ghetto-concentration camp was. There we can equally see elderly passing by, children playing, youths playing sports, and chess-playing men. Some of the images dialogue directly with their previous counterparts, as they were purposely filmed in the same locations...
Daniel Blaufuks has been working on the relation between photography and literature, through works like My Tangier with the writer Paul Bowles. More recently, Collected Short Stories displays several photographic diptychs in a kind of “snapshot prose,” a speech based on visual fragments that give indication of private stories on their way to become public. The relation between public and private and individual and collective memory, has been one of the constant interrogations in his work. He has been showing widely and works mainly in photography and video, presenting his work through books, installations, and films. The documentary Under Strange Skies was shown at the Lincoln Center in New York. His exhibitions include: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, Palazzo delle Papesse, Siena, LisboaPhoto, Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon, Elga Wimmer Gallery, New York, Photoespaña, Madrid, where his book Under Strange Skies received the award for Best Photography Book of the Year in the International Category in 2007, the year he received the BES Photo Award as well. He published Terezín with Steidl, Götingen. In 2011, he had a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro and in 2014 at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Lisbon.
Ulrich Baer received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Yale University in 1995, and has been teaching at NYU since 1996. His books include: Remnants of Song: Trauma and the Experience of Modernity in Charles Baudelaire and Paul Celan (2000), Spectral Evidence: The Photography of Trauma (2002), 110 Stories: New York Writes After September 11 (editor; 2002), Letters on Life: The Wisdom of Rainer Maria Rilke (editor and translator; 2005; translated into Portuguese, German and Greek), and The Rilke Alphabet (in German; 2006). He regularly teaches on the poetics of witnessing, 19th and 20th century poetry, the history and theory of photography, a team-taught seminar (with Professor Shelley Rice) on archives, photography, and cultural memory, and a Freshman Honors Seminar on “Photography as a Global Language.” He has published widely on literary representations and historical testimonies of the Holocaust; on Rilke and Celan; on the history and theory of photography, and on contemporary art. He has been the recipient of a John P. Getty Fellowship, an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, NYU's Golden Dozen Award for excellence in teaching (1998 and 2003), and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship which he spent partly in Shanghai, the People's Republic of China. His current projects include a book on "Photographing the World" in which he investigates how photographers have sought to represent the world in its entirety, and how photography has become a global phenomenon with distinct local grammars.
"As If": A Screening and Conversation with Daniel Blaufuks and Professor Ulrich Baer is a DAAD-sponsored event.