This research and studio workshop takes Bertolt Brecht’s alienation effect—in short, the making strange of something such as a character in a play in order to empower the spectator to respond with greater critical awareness—as both a course of study and a point of departure for creative and conceptual experimentation. We will explore the place of art and culture within society and politics through Brecht’s own writings and productions as well as through the reflections of his contemporaries Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno. A whole host of additional past and contemporary radical figures will guide our inquiry: Pina Bausch, Isaac Julien, Yvonne Rainer, Jean-Luc Godard and J.P. Gorin, Harun Farocki, General Idea, Pussy Riot, James Benning, Charlie Chaplin, Kurt Weill, and Lotte Lenya. Retracing Brecht’s footprints in Berlin, we will visit sites and meet with representatives from such integral entities as the Brecht House and the Berliner Ensemble. Throughout the week participants will realize a series of art experiments culminating in a collaborative multimedia performance.
Caroline Koebel is an artist, writer and curator whose experimental cinema clashes aesthetics and politics in order to discover autonomous spaces and invent radical toolkits enabling sustained and revelatory contemplation of the spectator’s pivotal role in the world. She has presented across the USA and at Camagüey Festival of Video Art (Cuba), European Media Art Festival (Germany), LOOP Barcelona (Spain), Festival Cine//B (Chile), Edinburgh International Film Festival (Scotland), Bangkok Experimental Film Fest (Thailand), Ladyfest Toronto (Canada), and in a tour of over 20 nations as part of 100×100=900 sponsored by Magmart Festival (Italy). In addition to catalog essays on Carolee Schneemann and Barbara Hammer and the acclaimed stencil graffiti book Schablone Berlin, publications include reviews and criticism for Brooklyn Rail, Wide Angle and Jump Cut. Curatorial projects include Kino B: Contemporary Cinema by Berlin-based Artists and Inventing Space of Cinema. She holds a BA in Film Studies from UC Berkeley and an MFA in Visual Arts from UC San Diego.