Exhibition | 3.03.2017 - 20.05.2017

24th Bremen Award for Video Art

Kenji Ouellet and Hassan Sheidaei / Farzia Fallah
The Award for Video Art has grown over the years to occupy a fixed position in the cultural landscape of Bremen. Ever since 1992 the award, issued by the Filmbüro Bremen, has consistently focused on young, advanced positions outside the mainstream which engage in exciting projects in the realm of video art and display a diversity extending from audio-visual works with linear narration all the way to space-encompassing installations. A particular characteristic: The award goes not to already existing works but to promising concepts that are realized with the help of the financial grant and have their premiere in Bremen. This year the Weserburg is presenting the award recipient Kenji Ouellet and the artist duo Hassan Sheidaei / Farzia Fallah. In addition to two new video projections being made public for the first time, the artists are expanding the exhibition with several works from various phases of their creative output. In this context, the visual power and narrative quality of two quite different positions comes to light with wide-ranging impact.
Kenji Ouellet, In Dog Years I'm Dead, 2017 (Videostill)
Kenji Ouellet, In Dog Years I'm Dead, 2017 (Videostill)

"My body is like breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I don't think about it, I just have it." In his new video work, the French-Canadian artist Kenji Ouellet focuses on the world of ballet. With "In Dog Years I'm Dead" (2017), he accompanies young ballerinas who offer impressive commentaries on their exhausting rehearsals. The thoughts are borrowed from well-known personalities – from Kim Kardashian and Sasha Grey past Toni Bentley and Samuel Beckett all the way to international choreographers such as Mikhail Baryschnikov and George Balanchine. The memorable, sometimes profoundly philosophical remarks, complemented by humorous statements and banal commonplaces, develop a both fascinating and contradictory portrait. Self-discipline, high artistic performance, ceaseless pressure and everyday afflictions. Between ideal and reality, art and dance, the focus is on something essential: on identity, body and passion. 

Hassan Sheidaei / Farzia Fallah, Das Vergessen, 2017 (Videostill)

Hassan Sheidaei and Farzia Fallah, both born in Tehran, have lived and worked for many years in Bremen where, both together and independently, they develop works and projects. With “Das Vergessen” (2017), they create a particularly impressive space of experience. The deliberately reduced video images, which provide only vague visual indications and sometimes fade into darkness, are accompanied by a polyphonic carpet of sound specially composed by Farzia Fallah. The point of departure for the work was a news report. Several men, women and children were discovered in a truck alongside a highway, inhumanely abandoned by their traffickers and left to suffocate. The fate of the refugees is not rendered by the artists in concrete images. Nor is the event commented upon or abbreviated into an artist appeal. Instead “Das Vergessen” operates dynamically between its musical and visual levels to convey an intensified perception in which human suffering, tragedies and cultural conflicts, remembering and forgetting shine forth in equal measure.

With support from Bremen’s Senator for Culture and the Bremische Landesmedienanstalt. In collaboration with the Bremen branch of the woman artists’ association GEDOK.



The independent, three-person jury of experts consists of Frieder Nake (IT specialist and artist, Bremen), Ulrike Pfeiffer (filmmaker and photographer, Hamburg) and Ivo Wessel (IT specialist and collector, Berlin). After two days of examining and discussing in detail the 130 project proposals that were submitted, a unanimous decision was made: the first prize (€5,000) goes to Kenji Ouellet; the second prize (€1,500) goes to Hassan Sheidaei and Farzia Fallah. A list of all award recipients up to now may be found here >>

Tanz Bremen

With the new video work  "In Dog Years I'm Dead" by Kenji Ouellet, the exhibition accompanying the Bremen Award for Video Art is also part of the Bremen Dance Festival (17 - 24 March 2017). Admission to the exhibition is free for visitors to the festival. Further information is available at: www.tanz-bremen.com

Performance by Kenji Quellet
Le Sacre du Printemps: a Haptic Rite

•    Tuesday, 21 March 2017, 5:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
      at the Schwankhalle, Alter Saal
•    Wednesday, 22 March 2017,  5:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
      at the Schwankhalle, Alter Saal
The eyes close, are blindfolded and relax. Then begins a twenty-minute journey through the famous musical composition “Le Sacre du printemps” – experienced with the entire body. In the haptic rite, the audience lies down and is touched by the dancers in various activating ways. In the context of Stravinsky’s score, it is soon musical meanings that flow through the listeners’ own arteries. The muscles understand the work in a kinesthetic manner – with their entire sense of movement. And without having “to do” anything.

Kenji Ouellet was born in Quebec in Canada and now lives in Berlin, where he works on the borders between choreography, performance and video art. The classical pianist trained in New York studied media art in Vienna and Berlin, where he became a master pupil in 2009.

Each session lasts around 25 minutes, during which visitors lie comfortably on mats. A maximum of 2 persons can participate per session. Advance registration is required at  ticket(at)schwankhalle.de or by telephoning 0421 520 80 70.
The guest performance is a collaborative effort of the Schwankhalle, Weserburg und TANZ Bremen.

Site: Schwankhalle, Alter Saal
Price Category: 5
Duration: ca. 25 minutes per session
Advance registration required
Choreography: Kenji Ouellet
Performer: Kenji Ouellet, Anna-Luella Zahner.
Music: Igor Strawinsky
Production: HAU Hebbel am Ufer.
The performance is a cooperation of Schwankhalle, Weserburg, and TANZ Bremen.
Sponsored by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes
Supported by the Canadian Ambassy and the Government of Québec.

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Freitag, 3. März 2017, 19 Uhr
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