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Why is Mr W. Laughing? 
SOAS Senate House - S113
Saturday 2 June, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

Jana Papenbroock with Horst Wässle, Michael Gerdsmann, Bernhard Krebs (2017 / Germany / 76 min) Mr W. is a man who loves to laugh. Together with his friends Mr G. and Mr K., they are members of an atelier community of artists with different disabilities. Instead of interpreting art as an escape fantasy from normative society, like most neurotypical artists, these artists see art as a vehicle to build a community. What seems like a utopian society where artists support each other and cooperate instead of compete, works subversively serenely in practice.

Long Abstract:

Questioning the usual asymmetry of inclusion (meaning that often there is just a monologue about and not a dialogue with the persons concerned), the film is a cinematic experiment that politicizes boundary-practices in its form and content: rather than making a film about inclusion, the film itself was produced inclusively. On a collaborative journey through the pictorial worlds of the three artists, a focus was set on their aesthetic obsessions and perspectives through their own videography. Their spontaneous imagery isn’t organized by a boosted ego at its center but displays subjectivity as social experience in space.

As a result of the collaborative approach, the film is an eclectic mix of materials and techniques, interview situations interwoven with observational episodes, auto-fiction and performance, home videos of the protagonists and their own musical compositions.

The juxtaposition of life and art doesn’t apply for the three who are artists in order to participate in society. This is one of the many realizations that occurred during the work on this film, that most ideas about disability and art brut are either romanticizing or excluding misconceptions.

The film was nominated for the EVA Award (Excellence in Visual Anthropology) at Ethnocineca 2017.