Contemporary video art and experimental films from Germany

Curated by Silke Schmickl, co-founder of Lowave

Liminal Perceptions is an experimental film and video art programme that focuses on the experience of thresholds and liminal states. 9 contemporary artists from Germany present their perspectives on physical, temporal and imaginary boundaries through inquiries on geopolitical and personal conflict areas, otherness and memory. Various forms of artistic expression such as drawing, painting and performance as well as found footage and documentary materials are employed to develop an original film language. The transgression of genres and filmic conventions supports the artists’ speculative approaches in the exploration of fragile cultural, social and political interstices.

Lowave is a platform for curatorial research based in Singapore and Paris. Its activities range from exhibition concepts, film programming and live performances, to artistic consultations, publications, and teaching. The singularity of Lowave’s work is its international scope with a strong interest in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, highlighting emerging artists and the use of interdisciplinary and intercultural crossings. Lowave was co-founded by its director Silke Schmickl in 2002 and consists of four main members including Mickaël Robert-Gonçalves, Jeremy Chua and Patricia Cartier-Millon, as well as a dense network of project-based partners. Lowave has collaborated with institutions such as Centre Georges Pompidou, French Cinematheque, The British Film Institute, 3rd Guangzhou Triennial, KIT – Kunst-im-Tunnel, Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore and UNESCO.


Silke Schmickl, curator at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, LASALLE College of the Arts, is the co-founder of the curatorial platform Lowave. She studied Art History, French Literature and International Communications in Munich and Paris where she graduated from Panthéon-Sorbonne University. A specialist in contemporary photography and video art, she has been a researcher at the German Art History Center for 15 years and has published over 60 art DVDs for Lowave. She has initiated and directed various research projects dedicated to emerging art scenes including the Middle East, Africa, India, Turkey and Singapore. Since 2008, she has curated contemporary art exhibitions in partnerships with museums and biennials in Singapore, Paris, Guangzhou, Beirut and Düsseldorf.

Painting Paradise

5:30 min
Barbara Hlali, Germany, 2008

Media reports show the wall around the Shiite district in Baghdad being painted with beautiful landscapes: aesthetic designs are used to cover military measures and the effects of war. In this film, Barbara Hlali applies a similar technique with regard to the overall situation by painting over this TV footage with a layer of gouache. The act of painting unmasks the painted-over situation, demonstrating how the war constantly comes to the fore below the surface of sugar-coating.

Un tour à Beer Sheva [extract of Videomappings: Aida, Palestine]

5:39 min
Till Roeskens, Germany/France, 2009

Somewhere, in the middle of a tangle of borders: a refugee camp. People caught in a situation that becomes more absurd every day. Just trying to live a human life. With courage, with craftiness, with humour too. We don’t see their faces. We don’t see the places they talk about. Yet we are projected closely into their intimate experience of the world, while following line by line the maps they are drawing to represent their adventurous ways through the complex spaces around them.

Nuit blanche

13:00 min
Anna M’barek, Tunisia/France/Germany, 2015

Nuit blanche is a hand-drawn stop motion film that recounts sensorial impressions of a ‘white night’ or ‘sleepless night’. Through a series of ink drawings Anna M’barek animates visual and sonorous memories from Tunisia that are set to music by her daughter Pauline M’barek. The oneiric experience of the night with its movements, shadows and whispers, explores thresholds between reality and fiction, wakefulness and dreams and ultimately the possibility of accessing a foreign culture through an alternative, non linguistic approach.

Outside the Sun is Shining

9:00 min
Masayo Kajimura, Japan-Germany, 2010

Outside the sun is shining documents the inside of the former spa hotel in Ahrenshoop/Germany. The empty rooms of the ruin were filled with poetry, as if this inbetween state of decay had stories and inhabitants of its own. The building was pulled down in 2009. All that is left is the eternal sea.

Ohne Titel’

4:38 min
Alexander Schellow, Germany, 2010

Ohne Titel’ animates the facial landscape of a 96-year-old woman who is a resident at a clinic for Alzheimer sufferers in Berlin. Alexander Schellow draws from memory the continuous, subtle transformations he has observed in her face during his visits. The film fragment, which is part of a bigger animation project, offers the viewer a face to face space-time experience, constructing a model of alterity. When the only things revealed in communication are moments of a ‘just-before’ – a perception, a thought, something remembered – what can still be shared?

False Friends

5:00 min
Sylvia Schedelbauer, Germany, 2007

A montage of found footage from the 1950s: mysterious strands are obsessively braided to create a poetic reflection about an anxious interplay of memory and projection.

About Emptiness

10:10 min
Sissi Kaplan, Germany/Singapore, 2014

About emptiness is a film about an unbalanced relationship where one character has a desire for closeness and the building of a deeper relationship while the other is putting a distance through excuses and concealment. The constant absence of the latter increases the desire of the first. As the second part of a trilogy that was launched with The incident in 2012, the film also reflects on the shallowness of modern communication, unfulfilled desires and urban melancholia.

Revolution Contra Revolution

3:32 min
Barbara Hlali, Germany, 2009

Barbara Hlali’s performance Revolution contra revolution stages an emotionally distressed figure violently throwing himself against a wall with great force. The video presents an abstract form of the engagement with the possible effect of protest and politically motivated action: however, the intended goal turns into its opposite.


3:37 min
Steffi Stangl (Camera Christine Herdin), Germany, 2005

A swing is suspended between a balcony and a living room. The artist moves like a pendulum between the inside and outside. After a while she becomes static and the world passes her by.

You and Me

4:00 min
Karsten Krause, Germany, 2009

A woman is walking towards her husband’s camera through four decades. A love story on small gauge film accompanied by the voice of another woman, reading a poem by e.e. cummings. Touching, easy and poetic.