Berlin [Underground]

Berlin [Underground]

Germany 2021
HD, color, 5.1 Ratio 16:9

Photography and beyond – Part 33

Director, screenplay, collages: Heinz Emigholz
Camera, editing: Heinz Emigholz, Till Beckmann
Sound: Heinz Emigholz, Markus Ruff
Music: AlexanderPaulick, AndreasReihse
Sound design: Jochen Jezussek
Animation, postproduction: Till Beckmann
Production: Heinz Emigholz Filmproduktion
Thanks to Jonathan Perel and Filmgalerie 451 Premiere: Counter Gravity, retrospective, HKW, Berlin October 17, 2021

The film presents 171 notebooks and sketchbooks by Heinz Emigholz from 2004 to 2021; nine subway stations in Berlin, as they were in 2018; two advertisements for a fictitious perfume brand; and sixty-seven roadside trees in Buenos Aires, their roots fighting back against the paved surfaces of the sidewalks. It was all filmed by Heinz Emigholz in the summer of 2018.

The Indian filmmaker Madhusree Dutta showed an impressive degree of clarity in answering the highly Western question of whether there was acinematic “underground” in India: “We don’t have an underground practice of political art because our architecture has no concept of basement.” The film Berlin [Underground] makes use of this clarity for its title. While the animated, drawn, collaged, and written motifs represent an artist as a contemporary witness, the underground subway stations are the real counterpart to an obsolete notion of the artistic “underground,” and the studies of trees and roots are documenting an active, natural deconstruction of architecture by nature. At the same time, the drawings on paper show the continuing existence of wood as a raw material in the form of solidified pulp.