CCA Highlights – July/August 2016

What makes a city? What does it mean to be on TV? How would you dispose of a politician’s body in near-future Cameroon, and what's the feminist subtext? All the usual questions and more at the CCA this summer

Preview by George Sully | 30 Jun 2016
  • Metropolis

Our personal and communal identities are wrapped up in the spaces we share, be they our homes, our cities, or our countries. At the time of this issue going to press, the outcome of that poisonously binary referendum is unknown, but the notions of nationhood and where people belong in the wider world have already been discussed ad absurdum, with varying degrees of care and empathy. From now until March 2017, the CCA will turn that outward gaze inwards, to the city, and explore its uniting, isolating, enabling and inhibiting powers via governmental, architectural, social and economic forces.

A multi-platform series, the Cities programme involves talks, film screenings and other events exploring the urban. Film highlights include Chantal Akerman’s intimately reflective News From Home (Tue 12 Jul), Patrick Keller’s economically motivated ROBINSON IN SPACE (Mon 1 Aug), and Fritz Lang’s mighty Metropolis (Wed 10 Aug), widely considered a pioneering sci-fi masterpiece, visually groundbreaking and timelessly allegorical. Talkswise, check out Prototyping Public Spaces (Tue 5 Jul) which discusses the public space as a catalyst for change, and Sarah Schulman on her 2013 book The Gentrification of the Mind (Thu 21 Jul), an incisive (and vividly personal) look at the AIDS years of ’81-’96 and how the lack of LGBTQ rights during this period affected the infrastructure of US cities.

Outwith the Cities programming, GSA grad and shrewd videosmith Kathryn Elkin unveils three new works, alongside a small retrospective, in her solo show Television (Sat 23 Jul-Sun 4 Sep), a defragmented look at film and broadcast media. In existing work Why La Bamba, a 1975 Dustin Hoffman interview transcript informs a chat with former Hero frontman John McKeown; in Dame, 2 Elkin performs verbatim, as a song, an interview with Helen Mirren. TV as we know it is interrogated, deconstructed, and reconstituted. Find her jazz-like edit of Parkinson (Michael's Theme) online for a taste of her artistry.

Going from the screen to the page, and a welcome shot at two-dimensional escapism, stop by Black Hearted Press’s Comic Book Summer Classes (Mon 25-Wed 27 Jul). Open to ages seven and up, these workshops teach the basics in character creation, comic narratives, and the techniques required to sketch, ink and colour your very own comic, all for a mere five crowns. And in a similar vein, be sure not to miss BHP’s Glasgow Comic Festival (Tue 28 Jun-Sun 3 Jul) at the start of the month.

Incendiary curators Digital Desperados, seeking to “empower the creativity of women of colour” and eliminate prejudices against minorities, are putting on a series of films (some as part of the Cities programme) this summer at the CCA. Les Saignantes (Thu 4 Aug) is a trip through 2025 Africa, where two young sex workers must deal with the unexpected mid-coitus demise of a high-ranking politician. Their journey takes them through Cameroon’s corrupt upper echelons, interspersed with bewildering scenes of sorcery, sex and violence (supposedly “the best African sci-fi vampire political satire with homoerotic overtones you've ever seen”). Most compelling is maverick director Jean-Pierre Bekolo’s meta-commentary on the trials of making such a film under an oppressive government.

Mommy is Coming (Sat 27 Aug), meanwhile, is a provocative romantic sex comedy from director Cheryl Dunye, a leading lesbian filmmaker of colour. Set in the fetishistic Berlin underbelly, there are sexual misadventures aplenty as spunky power-femme Dylan and butch-performing hotel clerk Claudia seek to reignite their idling relationship. The titular ‘Mommy’ is Dylan’s mother, played by noted Swiss pleasure-educator and sex-toy merchant Maggie Tapert. Digital Desperados are following up the screening with a GLITCH party (‘GLITCH’ being the name of their biannual queer film festival) at the CCA. Come one, come all.