Disappearing Berlin

DISAPPEARING BERLIN is a year long project of events organised by Schinkel Pavillon, to raise awareness about a multitude of architectural sites at risk of imminent change. As part of the series, artist Marianna Simnett (UK) will be screening recent films at Moviemento, the oldest cinema in Germany, whose future is acutely endangered by the current real estate market. The cinema recently started the crowdfunding campaign “Be a Moviemento Hero” to purchase the space and secure its long-term survival. Central to Simnett’s practice lays a preoccupation with the body and its potential for transformation. Simnett’s bodies are intensely unstable, mutants and hybrids. They undergo medical procedures, catch infections, faint, die, come back to life. Observing the underlying economic, social and patriarchal power structures present in medical, technological and pharmaceutical interventions, Simnett constructs imaginary tales filled with flesh, organs and bodily anxieties. Simnett’s work, presented in the context of Disappearing Berlin, becomes a critical tool to alert us to the urgency of action toward a city in a state of metamorphosis and potential dismay.

The screening will include The Needle and Larynx (2016) and a special single-channel version of Blood In My Milk (2014-2018) followed by a discussion between the artist and curator.

This event is curated by Attilia Fattori Franchini.

Marianna Simnett
The Needle and the Larynx, 2016
Digital HD video with 5.1 surround sound
16 minutes

In The Needle and the Larynx (2016), a voice surgeon injects Botox into the artist’s larynx, which effectively causes her voice to deepen for several months. Footage of the treatment is accompanied by a fable about a girl who asks to have her voice lowered and threatens the reluctant doctor with a plague of mosquitoes, should he refuse. The Needle and the Larynx caricatures gender stereotypes and undermines the demands of a repressive society on women’s bodies. Capturing her own experience as a patient, she questions the history and orthodoxies of the medical profession.

Blood In My Milk, 2018
Digital HD video with sound
(re-edited single-channel version from a 5-channel installation)
40 minutes (excerpt)

A tour de force of the past five years of Simnett’s work, Blood In My Milk (2014-2018) is an opus, bringing her many characters in dialogue with one another across time and space—medical experts and scientists perform routine injections and operations alongside children’s games of hide-and-seek, farmers carry out disinfection rituals and cockroaches turn into biobots— to construct paranoid tales of sickness and transformation, often with Simnett herself as the protagonist. Blood In My Milk conveys a sense of discomfort with sterile environments and the invisible alien substances in our bodies that medical and industrial procedures aim to conceal.

Marianna Simnett (b. 1986, UK)
Marianna Simnett is a London-based artist, challenging how bodies are perceived and imagined. Simnett has shown in many museums internationally including the Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem; New Museum, New York; Copenhagen Contemporary; MMK, Frankfurt. She has upcoming shows at Kunsthalle Zürich and IMA Brisbane. Simnett was awarded the Jerwood / FVU Award in 2015 and was shortlisted for the Jarman Award in 2017.D