Not Gone With The Wind, 2020
by Eli Cortiñas,
HD video , 9 min, courtesy of the artist
September 9 – 30, 2020
Selected by Elise Lammer
Eli Cortiñas most recent video, here presented in its first version, is about the politics of images and their social and political impact. Titled Not Gone With The Wind, the video adopts the form of a collage made of found sequences taken from Hollywood cinema, television series, advertising, TED Talks and YouTube videos, alongside self-made animations. The work owes its name to the almost eponymous 1939 civil war epic film, Gone with the Wind, which recently sparked a controversy after HBO Max temporarily pulled the film from its streaming service, for its racist depiction of black people. A simple, poetic addition, the “Not” appended to the original title appears as a denunciation of the long Hollywood tradition which consists in representing toxic stereotypes, and getting away with it. As a result, the persistence in misrepresentation in mainstream cinema has contributed and still contributes to reinforce misleading historical narratives. In her video, the artist rightly asks “who owns the narrative”? In the era of fake news, Covid-fuelled conspiracy theories and global political uprisings, Cortiñas suggests that to save the future, one might have to re-asses the past. With a very precise succession of moving image sequences and quotes referring to the current regime of idea, the video reveals how fear and mass media’s complicity reinforces hegemonic policies.
Cortiñas’ artistic practice can be located within the appropriation tradition, using already existing cinema to de- and reconstruct identities as well as narratives according to new discourses. Her collage-like video essays and installations mix found imagery with documentary strategies. She finds material and inspiration in contemporary telenovelas, GDR feature films, Italian Neorealism, YouTube videos, popular imagery, series, animation, stock footage markets and her owned filmed archives. She’s been reviewing the role assigned to women through film and other media, focusing lately in the representation of female power and rituals of contemporary witch hunting in close relation to practices of extrativism and capitalist enterprises. An often misleading construction of western-imagery through Hollywood ethnography juxtapose to the genesis of African film, alongside a critical investigation around necropolitical praxis and the media representation of death resulting from war and migration have been the focus of her artistic research and production of the last years.
Eli Cortiñas is a video artist of Cuban descent, born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ES) in 1979. She was guest professor at the Art Academy Kassel (DE) and the Art Academy Mainz (DE) and she has currently a shared professorship with artist Candice Breitz at the HBK Braunschweig (DE). Cortiñas has been awarded numerous grants and residencies, including the Fundación Botín, the Berlin Senate, Villa Sträuli, Kunstfonds, Goethe Institute, Kölnischer Kunstverein, Rupert Residency, Villa Massimo and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. Her work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions at museums such as Museum Ludwig, Kunsthalle Budapest, Centre Georges Pompidou, CAC Vilnius, SCHIRN Kunsthalle, SAVVY Contemporary, Museum Marta Herford, Kunstraum Innsbruck, Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno, Museum of Modern Art Moscow, Kunstmuseum Bonn and MUSAC et al., as well as in international venues and festivals such as the Riga Biennale, Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, Mardin Biennale, International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, International Curtas Vila Do Conde and Nashville Film Festival. She lives and works in Berlin.
In 2020 SCREEN offers monthly screenings of artist’s films selected and introduced by Elise Lammer. Available to watch online for a limited period of time, the selection includes films of outstanding quality that propose, often with a documentary approach, layered and sometime fictional narratives exploring the interconnections between social, environmental and political issues.