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In conjunction with MoMA’s presentation of his latest moving-image work, Vital Behaviors, artist Ken Okiishi selects films made between the 1970s and the present that echo, double down on, or otherwise take on its themes of reenactment, embodiment, and psychodrama. In each of these selections—by Chantal Akerman, Želimir Žilnik, Bernard Queysanne and Georges Perec, and Ryusuke Hamaguchi—stories of self-actualization, camaraderie, seduction, and creative inspiration take hold.
For Okiishi, the encounter with cinema is central to an enduring reflection on themes of technology and circulation that runs through his practice; social situations like moviegoing can be approached and deployed as a material. And so his selection of films hints at a second storyline: the gradual return of theatrical exhibition after more than a year of shuttered cinemas (breaking MoMA’s Titus Theater 1’s streak of nearly continuous operation since 1939) and the in-between nature of cinema spectatorship in this moment, as streaming interfaces are coupled with our physical re-emergence into the public-private-urban space of movie theaters. Though these films are being presented via streaming and destined for home viewership, this program announces itself as a “cinematic” event, beckoning the viewer and bearing traces of cinephile obsession and committed curation in the form of exquisite rarities and films available in new translations.
Organized by Sophie Cavoulacos, Assistant Curator, Department of Film.