The acting of Asta Nielsen – one of the stars of early cinema – produced a kind of history lesson. She used the camera as a means to translate a history that is inseparable from the body, making this accessible to film experience. In doing so, she presented us with Béla Balász’s concept of a “language of erotic gestures.” Like experimental film, body language, movement, and dance can disrupt film forms, letting film language become body language and positioning them equally next to spoken and written language, thus giving a new interpretation to the question of authorship. At the same time, the border between film and performance is blurred. Every screening only exists in the interplay with the audience at hand, which is participating in an immersive event. The panel thematized the relations between film and theater acting, dance and performance, as well as the proximity of early cinema to video art and experimental film.

Wendelien van Oldenborgh (artist, filmmaker, Rotterdam)
John Erdman (dancer, performer, actor, NYC)
Susanne Sachsse (performer, actor, Berlin)
Lisa Steele (video artist, Vtape, Art University of Toronto)