Videograms. Porosity is a video space that reflects on the relationship between architectural forms and inner (human) worlds. Porosity here is a way of measuring the void, the emptiness, both physical and personal; yet it also may denote the permeability of both architectural partitions and social boundaries.

The distinction between public and private worlds is an invention of modernity, when architecture takes on the task of creating the inner world of an individual, which results not only in different typologies of interior spaces, but also in the emergence of a particular “topography” of the inner world. The book Interiors and Interiority (ed. Ewa Lajer-Burcharth and Beate Söntgen; De Gruyter, 2016) draws attention to Walter Benjamin’s take on the subject of the bourgeois class that was emerging at the time and who was the inhabitant of modern architectures: these interior spaces were instrumental in establishing the subject’s relationship with the outside world, withdrawing from it, or gaining control over it. Almost half a century later, the second-wave feminism questioned the naturalised demarcation of the private and the political and claimed that personal is political.

Porosity started by thinking about artistic engagement with the instability of the distinction between inner and outer worlds, seeking to register imprints of the personal on different architectural surfaces. In the exhibition, the works by Sam Williams, Laura Grace Ford, Robin Vanbesien, Shirin Sabahi and Daniel Schwarz open up different perspectives on the subject of porosity in relation to architecture, urban and social structures.

Interior spaces also become the environment for a special relationship between moving images and the viewer which keeps unfolding throughout the pandemic. Without the collectivity of cinema, the consumption of moving images became a very individualised, intimate practice. The “Videograms” duvet cover set displayed in the video room space was developed both as an artist edition and a functional design object as a collaboration by artist Vladas Suncovas, graphic designer Marek Voida and curators Monika Lipšic and Viktorija Šiaulytė. It was conceived precisely as a cover for an individualised consumption of films. At the same time, the print of diagrams on its surface may work like a map of the genealogy of ideas and innovations that represent the desire to be teleported to cinematic, virtual or imaginary worlds.

The pandemic period has also motivated the creation of the website together with graphic designer Marek Voida, featuring an Online Room – a space to present artworks in an expanded and discursive format. Anastasia Sosunova’s When all this is over, let’s meet up! (2021, co-produced by Swallow and Videograms) is available on as an extension of Porosity.

Opening programme 7 p.m. 18 November, 2021:

7 pm opening of Videograms. Porosity

7:30 pm Viktorija Šiaulytė’s talk on domestic systems

8 pm Vladas Suncovas’s talk on teleportation

8:30 pm Music, talks and drinks at Empty Brain Resort

Performance by Eye Gymnastics will take place on December 4, 2021.

Robin Vanbesien
the wasp and the weather, 19′, 2019

video, colour, Dutch, Tamazight, Arabic, English and Farsi spoken (with English subtitles)

Exploring an archive of poetry written by youngsters at the former youth centre Rzoezie (Tamazight for “wasp”, ‘78-‘06) in Mechelen (Belgium), the authors themselves and contemporary poets revisit, recite and discuss their selection of poems, probing their resonance in today’s social and political “weather”.

“I acknowledge how these poems preserve the capacity to convey the social imagination of Rzoezie: and, doing so, how they refuse to reproduce the dominant narrative that underlies the malicious climate of systematic racism and discrimination that swamped their authors. A possible response to the advocacy of a decolonization of the mind is imparted in the way these poems speak: without seizing, capturing or appropriating. In the process of composing the film I became interested in how, as the verses of the readers in the film subside, a certain thickness of images crops up, providing a landscape layered with past desires and current doubts. This virtual landscape is the film’s proposal: a place to enter and study.” – Robin Vanbesien


With: Fatma Alomrani, Abdelhay Ben Abdellah, Marcus Bergner, Muhned Bnana, Mathieu
Charles, M’Hamed El Ouali, Hooman, Samira Saleh and Mohamed Tawfiq
Image: Diren Agbaba
Sound: Diren Agbaba, Laszlo Umbreit
Editing: Robin Vanbesien
Sound mixing: Arno Ledoux

Robin Vanbesien is a Brussels-based filmmaker, artist and cultural worker whose films, installations and performances inhabit an explorative search for a “co-elaborative” feeling and thinking that is social and material. His previous film Under These Words (Solidarity Athens 2016) (2017) and the associated book Solidarity Poiesis: I Will Come and Steal You constitute an account of the social poetics of solidarity work. Since 2021, he is a co-founding member of The Post Film Collective that practices cinema as a form of polyphony, place-making and communal assembly. His work has been shown at various venues internationally.

Shirin Sabahi
Lung, 20′, 2020

digital 16:9, color, no sound

“The ceiling was breathing. It bulged and receded. It swelled and settled.” Lung is the name of the air dome that roofs the tennis courts in David Foster Wallace’s novel The Infinite Jest. Lung (for Berghain) observes the preparation of a Berlin public swimming pool for its reopening in Summer 2020. The one-take film is the byproduct of Lung (work in progress). It was shot on an unattended camera left inside the deflating air dome that had covered the open-air pool during the colder seasons. Meanwhile, the construction workers, as well as the film crew, are at work outside.

Shirin Sabahi is a Berlin-based artist whose practice casts artifacts and places as protagonists, tracing their purpose, contextualisation, and interpretation over an extended duration of time. Working frequently with moving images, her installations and exhibitions include appropriated and newly-produced photographic, sculptural and spatial materials that come alongside or in place of the actual film. Recent exhibitions and screenings include Stavanger Kunstmuseum (2021); Kunstmuseum, Wolfsburg (2021); Ashkal Alwan, Beirut (2021); KW, Berlin (2021); Savvy Contemporary, Berlin (2020); Broad Art Museum, Michigan (2020); Centro Botin, Santander (2019); and Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai (2019).

Sam Williams & Laura Grace Ford
Island, 28′, 2021

single channel video

Island brings together the moving image practice of Sam Williams and the narrative writing of Laura Grace Ford. Together they have produced a collage of footage captured in London, Berlin and Marseille where bodies connect through remembered gestures, reaching for familiarity through sensory and temporal networks. Drawing on cognitive mapping and the concept of the dérive, this work interrogates place by mapping the psychic contours of the city, unearthing spaces that evade the neoliberal pressure to be an entrepreneurial, self-promoting individual; in the encounter with other life-worlds you, escape your own reflection, inhabit other minds. Fred Moten and Stefano Harney use the term ‘hapticality’ to describe the affective textures that can be accessed through others. They describe “modernity’s insurgent feel, its inherited caress…the feel that no individual can stand, and no state abide.” Ford and Williams make use of the term hapticality as an incubator of counter-strategies. Hapticality, or feeling, is applied to the way we experience cities, through and with others, others who may or may not exist in the present. Feeling becomes collective knowledge, a tacit, covert network.



A film by Sam Williams & Laura Grace Ford
Principal text: Laura Grace Ford
Editing, choreography and montage: Sam Williams
Voices: Laura Grace Ford, Sam Williams, Leah Marojevic, Samir Kennedy
Images: Sam Williams (London), Leah Marojevic (Berlin), Samir Kennedy (Marseille)
Sound design: Samir Kennedy
Opening and secondary text: Sam Williams
Contains extracts from Certain Warning Cases by Isobel Wohl, written to accompany the exhibition by Sam Williams.
Island was commissioned by Somerset House Studios and supported by the Adonyeva Foundation.

Laura Grace Ford is a London-based artist and writer concerned with the politics and poetics of place. Drawing on cognitive mapping, hauntology and the dérive, Ford’s multidisciplinary practice is a mapping of the urban unconscious. She completed a PhD (Threshold Cartographies:The Poetics of Contested Spade) at the RCA 2021. In 2013-2014, she was a Stanley Picker fellow at Kingston University. She is the author of Savage Messiah (Verso 2011) and is currently working on a new novel. Her writing has appeared in many journals and magazines including Frieze, The White Review, Afterall, Guardian, Dazed and Art Review.

Daniel Schwartz is a filmmaker and artist whose work focuses primarily on urban transformation from spatial, social, and political perspectives. Schwartz’s recent films include Francis Kéré: An Architect Between (2016) and Torre David (2012). His films have been screened at festivals, in various museums, and have been featured by many broadcasters, including the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, MoMA, and the Venice Architecture Biennale. Schwartz’s photography and writing have appeared in multiple publications including The New York Times, The Guardian, and Domus.


Daniel Schwarz
When We Live Alone, 27′, 2020

color, Japanese and English (with English subtitles)

The film is the second in a three-part short documentary series, conceived by Giovanna Borasi, directed by Daniel Schwartz, and produced by the Canadian Centre for Architecture. This series examines the ways in which changing societies, new economic pressures and increasing population density are affecting the homes of various communities. 

The unprecedented rise of urban dwellers living alone today challenges normative ideas about home and raises questions about how this change in social structure and lifestyle affects cities as a whole. While the causes of living alone seem apparent—shifting social values, the flexibilization of labour, new demographics, increased wealth, and changes to normative gender roles—their effects on society and its spatial configurations remain uncertain. Through a series of interconnected vignettes, the film interrogates this new urban condition, offering glimpses into the lives of individuals inhabiting singleton homes and the extended domestic sphere. Urban dwellers living on their own, architect Takahashi Ippei, and sociologist Yoshikazu Nango navigate the audience through a series of independent spaces in Tokyo. If living alone is our new reality, the film asks, what does it look like?

Produced by the Canadian Centre for Architecture
Concept by Giovanna Borasi
Directed by Daniel Schwartz
Cinematography by Jonas Spriestersbach
Research by Hannah M. Strothmann
Edited by Geoffrey Boulangé and Daniel Schwartz
Featuring Takahashi Ippei and Yoshikazu Nango, with an introduction by Eric Klinenberg

Two film programmes inspired by media researcher, Shannon Mattern’s work Dirt and Data. Code and Clay, invite us to look at matter and natural systems as political, historical and social bearers and means of communication. 

The Matter as a Historical Body programme includes films by artists Filipa César and Shirin Sabahi. Although belonging to different contexts, their works discuss materiality and the dimension of time. In Mined Soil, César is reading from and quoting Amílcar Cabral, a Guinean agronomist and liberation fighter who claimed that soil is also a historical body, among other things. Shirin Sabahi’s Borrowed Scenery and Mouthful revolve around the work Matter and Mind by the Japanese artist Noriyuki Haraguchi and the history of its origin as well as its placement at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. Oil is used as an artistic material in Haraguchi’s work –– a still, mirror-like, fixed surface. By initiating a careful restoration of the work, Sabahi unveils its historical depth. In their works, the artists nurture and care for the history of materials through their interventions, raising questions and initiating gestures, exposing the political, institutional and personal layers behind the surface.

Curated by Viktorija Šiaulytė


Filipa César
Mined Soil, 34’, 2012-2014

The film essay Mined Soil revisits the work of the Guinean agronomist Amílcar Cabral, from his studies of the erosion of soil in the Portuguese Alentejo region in the 1950s through to his engagement as one of the leaders of the African Liberation Movement. This line of thought intertwines with documentation of an experimental gold mining site, operated today by a Canadian company and located in the same Portuguese area once studied by Cabral. The reading of the essay explores the space, surfaces and textures of the images, proposing past and present definitions of soil as a repository of memory, trace, exploitation, crisis, arsenal, treasure and palimpsest.

Filipa César, born in 1975 in Porto, Portugal, is an artist and filmmaker interested in the fictional aspects of the documentary and the politics and poetics inherent to moving image. Since 2011, César has been looking into the imaginaries of Guinea-Bissau’s Liberation Movement and its cognitive potencies, developing that research into the ongoing collective project Luta ca caba inda (en. The struggle is not over yet). Her work is widely shown in solo and group exhibitions, biennials and festivals. Her joint work with Louis Henderson, Sunstone (2018) has been previously shown at the Kaunas International Film Festival.

Shirin Sabahi
Borrowed Scenery, 15’, 2017 

Borrowed Scenery (借景 shakkei) is the East Asian principle of integrating the surrounding landscape into the composition of a garden. Since the 1970s, artist Noriyuki Haraguchi (1946—2020) had made a series of in-situ sculptures that aim at acquiring meaning through their thoughtful placement in their surroundings. In 1977, Haraguchi was invited to permanently install an iteration of his sculpture Matter and Mind (Oil Pool) in the atrium of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. Matter and Mind is a rectangular steel basin filled with highly reflective used engine oil. Regardless of the artist’s intentions and those of the host museum, the visitors have, over the years, turned this sculpture into a container for smaller objects by throwing coins and other objects into it. The film follows the genesis of Haraguchi’s oil pool sculptures, his use of ephemeral and industrial materials, the interactions with his oil pools in Tehran and elsewhere and the proximity of art to religion and other belief systems.

Mouthful, 36’, 2018

Artist Noriyuki Haraguchi returns to the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art to restore his sculpture Matter and Mind (Oil Pool) — a rectangular steel tub filled with used engine oil. The artwork is permanently installed at the museum’s atrium since its inauguration in 1977. Since the installation of the oil pool, the museum visitors and perhaps the staff had thrown coins and other pocketable objects into it. Curiosity about what lies under the pool’s black reflective surface eventually led to organizing Haraguchi’s visit and the pool’s restoration forty years on in 2017. Mouthful starts from a rumor about the cause of the artwork’s deterioration and follows the labor of restoration, the poolside conversations and the dredged-up keepsake, treasuring the material quality of the sculpture as a container of private and institutional histories.

Shirin Sabahi works with and around moving images. Recent exhibitions and screenings include, Broad Art Museum (Michigan 2020), Savvy Contemporary (Berlin 2020), Centro Botin (Santander 2019), Art Jameel Center (Dubai 2019), Edith-Russ-Haus (Oldenburg 2018) and Beirut Art Center (2018). Her film Landing (2018) won the best experimental film award at the Lisbon Architecture Film Festival and the best short film award at the Asolo Art Film Festival (both 2019). She lives in Berlin where she takes part in the Berlin Program for Artists and hosts PLACES — a series of events where speakers are invited to present a place, existing or otherwise.