The Promise: Film Program, Part 1

20 June 2017, 18:00

Still from Lina Selander and Oscar Mangione: Ceremonin, 2016
Still from Lina Selander and Oscar Mangione: Ceremonin, 2016

As part of the exhibition The Promise, Index presents together with Film i Samtidskonsten a comprehensive film program in three parts throughout the exhibition period (3 June–3 September 2017). The selection of films reflect an interest in the city as a social and political playground and complements the interdisciplinary character of the exhibition where artists’ works, archival material, research and the work of activist groups in the city are brought together. In The Promise, the conflicts surrounding Stockholm’s built environment offer a context to investigate a larger narrative concerning the promise of modernism to make cities and housing available for everyone – a narrative that is often closely connected with the power of political structures.

The 1930 Stockholm Exhibition marked the entry of functionalism in Sweden. Closely aligned with the ideals of social democracy, functionalist modernism made its mark as a national aesthetic first in the building of folkhemmet (“The People’s Home” program) all the way into the 1970s Million Program housing projects that created a million new dwellings in a single decade. Initially, modernism’s strong belief in architecture and the designers’ ability to improve people’s living conditions was manifest in Stockholm’s built environment. However, in its late modern iterations, there was also an increasing sense of alienation, embedded segregation, and policymakers who favored rational and traffic-centered cityscapes at the expense of citizen’s rights and participation. How do we accommodate a promise which was never fully realised in a time marked by acute housing shortage, growing social inequality and where market forces dominate and dictate the conditions for the future of the city?

The film series is curated by Nathalie Åhbeck, Assistant Curator: Andreas Bertman.

Part 1: Tue 20 June, 18.00

Location: Index, Kungsbro strand 19, admission: 40 SEK

The first part of the program looks into the relation between the imagined and the lived city. The films in this series focuses on the 20th century’s large-scale urban projectsand the rapid urban development that followed. They touch upon the dichotomy between utopian visions and modernism on the one hand, and civic powerlessness in questions concerning the public sphere on the other.

Stockholm, Reinhold Holterman (1929, 7 min)
Slussen, Lennart Johansson and Lennart Arnér (1951, 3 min)
Odjuret (The Beast), Per Olof Grönstrand (1953, 5 min)
Protokoll fört vid studiet av ett sönderfallande system (Protocol conducted at the study of a crumbling system), Carl Slättne (1971, 10 min)
Utveckling? (Development?), Sven Elfström (1971, 5 min)
Ceremonin (The Ceremony), Lina Selander and Oscar Mangione (2016, 16 min)

In Stockholm (1929) by Reinhold Holterman we get an introduction to the city at the brim of its early modernization that would reshape Stockholm at its core. With elaborate editing and bold perspectives we see a city in change , with one foot in its neoclassical bourgeois legacy and the other in the labour movement’s plans for the urban environment. Stockholm as a modernist project reoccurs in the experimental film Slussen (1951) by Lennart Johansson, while it’s double-face is exposed in The Beast (1951) by Per Olov Grönstrand, showing a sample of the approaching brutal city sanitation that would intensify a decade later. A bulldozer in full speed demolishes Sergelhuset, depicted in the shape of a giant beast, cleverly playing with the aesthetics of horror movies. The film shows a gap opening towards the critique of late modern city planning and a growing consensus and consumption culture which is further elaborated in the films by Carl Slättne and Sven Elfström. In Slättne’s filmic essay Protokoll fört vid studiet av ett sönderfallande system (Protocol conducted at the study of a crumbling system) (1971) the words “Images are good, my employer is good, illusion is good” are repeated as a mantra. The film delivers a sharrp commentary of both the “Saltsjöbaden spirit” of cooperation and consensus on the labor market and the role of film and TV-media in maintaining a nationwide ideology. In Ceremonin (The Ceremony) (2010) Lina Selander continues this critical tradition with an odyssey of archival and self-recorded material that spans over time and space, but constantly circles around the built environment of Bredäng, a Million Program neighborhood. An image from Olof Rudbeck’s Atlantica (1677) in which the author points out and uncovers the hidden treasures of Sweden serves as the starting point for Ceremonin, using the myth of Atlantis to unveil a political utopia that has been lost in time.

Further dates:

Part 2: Tue 29 August 2017, 18:00

Stockholm 1970, Felice Hapetzeder (2001, 10 min)
Jordmannen, Muammer och Synnöve Özer (1980, 28 min)
Take it apart and put together again, Maria Magnusson (2014, 16 min)
The City at Night, Ane Hjort Guttu (2013, 22 min)
Skåpet, Karl Holmqvist (1997, 17 min)
Underjordiskt möte, Guillermo Alvarez (1982, 28 min)

Part 3: Sun 3 September 2017, 18:00

Ansikten i skugga, Peter Weiss (1957, 13 min)
Bostadens mått, Lennart Johansson (1959, 19 min)
Under Construction, Josef Doukkali and Lennart Westman (2009, 11 min)
Four Studies of Oslo and New York, Ane Hjort Guttu (2012, 17 min)
Välkommen till Ikano, Christine Leuhusen (2016, 12 min)

The film program is a collaboration of Index, Film i Samtidskonsten and Filmform.