Benjamin Tiven: A Third Version of the Imaginary

Benjamin Tiven presenting his project at Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen, Start up Lectures 2015-16.

Andrei Siclodi (curator) and Benjamin Tiven (artist, USA) are discussing aspects of Tiven’s work shown in the exhibition Economies of the Imaginary.


A Third Version of the Imaginary (2012)
Video / HD / 1.78 / stereo / color / 12:00”
Swahili with English subtitles

A Third Version of the Imaginary traces an encounter with the video and film library of the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation in Nairobi. We follow the station’s librarian through tightly-packed shelves of video cassettes: he is searching for a specific set of images, and must sift through the identifying paperwork from a number of tapes. As he methodically moves among the stacks, a Swahili voice-over speaks about the arrival of video technology in Kenya and its impact on the archiving of television images: video may have cheapened production, but its material expense put pressure on storage. Later, the librarian converts a basement storage closet into a makeshift cinema, to screen some recovered 16mm film material. The voice-over shifts accordingly, from video to film, and to the linguistic problem posed by the very word ‘image’ in Swahili. A visual and narrative echo chamber, A Third Version of the Imaginary addresses video’s address of film. The material facts of these media become the aesthetic facts of the film.


Afterwards the closing party of the Premierentage 2015 starts at 7 p.m. at the Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen.

Benjamin Tiven is an American filmmaker and writer. Recent exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Delfina Foundation, London; 1/9unosunove gallery, Rome, and Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster. Films screened at the Viennale, FIDMarseille, Rotterdam, Oberhausen, and Arsenale Cinema, Berlin. Recent publications: Scrim Sinews (Cura Books, 2015), and contributions to the journals Triple Canopy, Bidoun, and Bulletins of the Serving Library.


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