Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen

Conditional Cinema

Peter Miller: This Thing Connecting Us (Part 1) © Kurzfilmtage/Daniel Gasenzer

Manuela de Laborde: Ficciones © Kurzfilmtage/Daniel Gasenzer


One key to IKEA’s phenomenal success has been the idea of switching the task of assembling domestic items from factories to sweat-shops at homes. Is it possible to imagine movies that the viewer is asked to assemble? The project Conditional Cinema is an attempt to use the trendy notion of ‘live cinema’ as a tool – IKEA’s hexagonal key – to explore the utopias of art after capitalism. What is the role of cinema and moving image art in post-capitalism? The dark and essentially silent space of cinema is public but still extremely private, close but distant. What if it is the only peaceful and private oasis in our turbulent times? Conditional Cinema will unfold its theme in annual progression from 2018 to 2020. ‘Conditional’ as in dependent on something specific, as in human condition, screening conditions … (Mika Taanila)

Live Cinema

4 – 6 May


The first edition in 2018 presented works in a traditional cinema setting, but with the proviso that moving image is understood as a fluid art form: live ‘films’ that were generative, improvised, semi-automatic, systematic or austere and ‘happen right now’.

Conditional Cinema 1

This Thing Connecting Us, Peter Miller, Germany, 2018, 20'00''

Set, Peter Miller, Germany, 2016, 09'45''

Stained Glass, Peter Miller, 2016, 10'00''

ST*R, Peter Miller, Germany, 2018


Peter Miller has been working with projection as a performance for a long time. His subtle cinematic works pull the focus from predestined narrative events towards ‘the now’, the lens, the beam, the flicker. Miller’s films are kind Peter Miller arbeitet schon lange mit Projektion als Performance. Seine subtilen filmischen Werke verschieben den Fokus von vorbestimmten narrativen Ereignissen auf „das Jetzt“, auf die Linse, den Strahl, das Flimmern. Millers Filme sind auf den ersten Blick lieb und nett, aber bohren tief. Hat man sie einmal live erlebt, kommen sie in dunklen Nachtstunden immer wieder. Die zarte Leichtigkeit ihrer Ausführung und die Offenheit des „Inhalts“ sind der schöne, ruhelose Brennstoff für das wahre Kino von jedermanns ureigener imaginärer Welt. Wir werden ein Programm mit poetischen Miller-Werken sehen, die sich um himmlische Themen drehen. So leistungsstark diese planetarischen Werke ihrem konzeptuellen Denken und ihrer Form nach sind, so materialistisch, ja geradezu bodenständig, sind sie per se.


Fri, 4. May, 8.00 pm

Lichtburg Filmpalast/Gloria

Conditional Cinema 2

The Filmers' Almanac, Owen O'Toole, USA, 1988, 180'00'' 

The Filmers’ Almanac was a collaborative Super 8 venture, masterminded by mail-artist and cine-activist Owen O’Toole from his Somerville, Maine HQ in 1988. Inspired by Hollis Frampton’s unfinished calendrical film cycle ’ Magellan‘, the serial omnibus piece features over 200 contributions, miniature films from artists, film-makers and cine-hobbyists around the world, with the formal idea of each member shooting one standard S-8 reel or less (max. 50 feet) on one specifically determined day of the calendar in 1988 and then mailing it to O’Toole, who would complete the montage, without leaving anything out. With this global film initiative O’Toole attempted to blur the role of the single author and to avoid subjective taste and obsessive control over ‘quality’: ‘I seek to measure my own capacities and those of the open community of exchange available thru the post. We hope to assemble a massive collective vision of the passage of time, possibly a method of measurements for the dimensions of our planet.’


The project is a fascinating period piece, a peek into the heydays of artistic Super 8 film-making and the pre-internet networking culture of moving image in total. All correspondence between O’Toole and his web of fellow artists was done via mail. The screenings of the work were different every time and improvised according to the technical limitations of the venue and the attention span of its audience. Between 1989 and 1991 the work was screened a few dozen times at various small film festivals and art events across the US. In Europe it was shown in places like Braunschweig, Bielefeld, Bonn, Paris and Helsinki, as O’Toole travelled with the film reels in his hand luggage. Finally, in 1999, MoMA in New York and San Francisco Cinematheque screened The Filmers’ Almanac as part of their extensive ‘Big As Life‘ programmes dedicated to the art of Super 8 film-making. In Oberhausen we are proud to present the work in its original glory, on celluloid and using a variety of different audio sources, colour gels, a ‘lazy Susan’, mood curves and other enigmatic screening instructions. The screening of The Filmers’ Almanac on its 30th anniversary in Oberhausen is a tribute to Owen O’Toole, who passed away after a long illness last July.


Sat, 5. May, 5.00 pm

Lichtburg Filmpalast/Star

Conditional Cinema 3

Ficciones, Manuela de Laborde, Mexico, 2018, 30'00'' 

Literal Transition, Anton Nikkilä, Finland, 2018, 30'00''


Manuela de Laborde’s work Ficciones (2018), a collaboration with sound artist David Goldberg for Conditional Cinema will be a three-year film cycle, a process that develops with time. A series of clay sculptures resembling the plant form were developed to explore the ‘movies’ around living objects. These sculptures are the ensemble of performers in her film, organic live cinema in the form of gardening and caring. In the first part of the cycle the characters will be ‘planted’ and contemplated bare as they are before growth surrounds them in the form of a performance. The procedural work might trigger memory flashbacks to the use of time in the history of moving image, from Warhol’s silent ‘Screen Test’ series (1964–66) to Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ (2014), as the video signal of the subtle presence of greens will be projected on the screen lifting its reality to cinematic fiction.

Anton Nikkilä is a composer and translator. In his basement studio, time has stood still in 2015 according to the museum gift shop calendar on the wall. While staring at ‘Suprematism’ by Kazimir Malevich, 1915, reproduced on the last page of the calendar, Nikkilä has dreamt up an impossible project: it’s time to somehow transcode and re-assemble the aesthetic ideals of historical Russian avant-garde art using the basic building blocks of today’s electronic music. But how to do it, if there is no revolution to electrify and animate these constructions? And why? Nikkilä doesn’t have an answer, but proceeds without paying dues to any historical or ideological correctness, using old cryptic paintings and theoretical texts as his semi-procedural instruction manual for composing. Literal Translations (2018) is a film-without-film performance, with computer music for a vertically mounted quadraphonic anti-immersive 2D sound system, intertitles and cinema subtitles hovering in space.


Sun, 6. May, 6.00 pm

Lichtburg Filmpalast/Gloria

Anton Nikkilä @ Christian Scholz

The Curator:


Mika Taanila is a filmmaker and visual artist based in Helsinki. His works have been shown, among others, at the Venice Biennale 2017, Aichi Triennale 2013 and Documenta 2012. Solo shows include Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki (2013-14), CAM St. Louis (2013) and TENT Rotterdam (2013).


Contakt: Kristina Henschel