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“A_biography” Alexander Schellow, France-Germany, 2017
Drawn and animated from memory 2013-2015
How can a person suffering from Alzheimer’s still tell their own life?
In the common room of an Alzheimer’s clinic, music from the radio mixes with the low volume clatter of plates, the steps, the door movements or the quiet click of a light switch. The acoustic landscape triggers the dancing of an old lady in a wheelchair. She “remembers”.
“A_biography” recollects through drawn animation, point by point, the emergence of a memory exactly where it seems lost – remembering: the possibility of being at a “point of view”. This process takes place in a gliding state of constant transformation on the surface of a now closed body of memory.
“A_biography” is not a fictional biography. A_biography realizes a biography as fiction.
For years I visited HER in the clinic where she was staying. I became some kind of a ‘proximate other’ to her, and she to me.
The woman suffered from Alzheimer’s for many years. She had lost her capacity to remember, or: her ability to be in (only) one other place seen from a ‘standpoint’, or: to name an object and thereby say precisely ‘I’ through this relation to the object. Vis-à-vis ‘her-self’, the woman is located in a sliding state of constant transformation on the outer surface of a body of memory now and forever closed; a state analogous to that which prevents her from identifying ‘something’ or someone. Not being able to adress me as ‘you’, for example, at the other end of the room. And turned around again: if it was still possible, to say ‘me’ to herself, that wouldn’t refer to a state of subject anymore? ‘me’, here might be the inexistent overlapping point of oscillating processes of (non-)consciousness. Then, who was that “you” who sat across from her all these years?
Alexander Schellow’s research originates in an interest for methods of memory (re)construction, which he developed and pursued in daily drawing and animation practice. The hybrid processes materialize into projects that have been shown widely internationally, most recently at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia. In addition, collaborations in recent years have focused in particular on the creation of specific archives (e.g. Colonial Family Films, Belgium) or on interfaces of human/digital (re)cognition, especially in the field of current deep learning developments.
His pedagogical practice has taken him to universities, among others, in London, Paris, Tirana, Singapore, Mexico City and Brussels, where he founded AnimLAB and since 2013 holds a professorship in animation, heading an MA of more than human practices at the erg – école de recherche graphique.
Editing Jean-Laurent Csinidis
Sound design Jean-Laurent Csinidis, Nans Mengeard
Sound mix Nans Mengeard
Mixing studio Studio Lemon (Pierre Armand, Fred Bielle)
Produced by Jean-Laurent Csinidis
Postproduction coordinator Nora Bertone, Jerome Nunes
Accountancy MC2 / Marielle Salsa, Christophe Marlin (Spectacle Assistance Anissa Berali)
Production Films de Force Majeure, index.film
In coproduction with Studio Lemon
Supported by Goethe Institute Marseille
In cooperation with Catalogue du Sensible
Thanks to Tsveta Dobreva (Goethe Institute Marseille), Jean-Marc Montera (GNEM), Laura de la Torre
Films de Force Majeure (France)