Visual Remarks by Lars Henningsen
Visual Remarks relates to contemporary art, visual anthropology and new photography theory. The markers of Visual Remarks are concepts as ‘collaborative production’, ‘collective reflexivity’, and ‘reconstruction.’
Visual Remarks focuses on collaborative and trans-disciplinary practices based on and around visual media research. Recordings and films are thus produced through strong inter-personal relationships, where the involved parties actively exchange knowledge, experiences, and equipment.
The finite productions are usually films that make use of a variety of professional competencies and that enable each member of the cast to rotate and learn different skills from actual filming to editing.
The Visual Remarks projects span over a wide thematic range. As an example, they include collaborations with self-organized groups that derive from concepts and questions regarding identity and action. There is also a strong thematic presence emphasizing child’s play and children’s storytelling culture, along with the often overlooked qualities in this tight cultural circuit.
The usual methods of production, documentary ideas and forms of expression are subjects of Visual Remarks’ critical enquiry. The projects and films entail an on-going examination of the opportunities and limitations that the visual medium presents. To this end, a line of writers, researchers, artists, and project workers contribute their perspectives in the form of texts, proposals and questions.
The latest projects hold, amongst others, a collaborative project with dedicated partners in Ecuador emphasizing traffic safety in the now heavily trafficked jungle area, and also a project iterating the rediscovery of the traditional culinary art of the Shuar women. We also have realized film projects in Mexico City’s historical and hyper-energetic city centre, La Merced.
Visual Remarks incorporates projects, documentaries, narrative identity documentaries, documentary notes, accounts, articles, examples etc.
Welcome to my website, Lars Henningsen
Selected productions by Visual Remarks
The pinhole camera activity was arranged by the cultur group Colectivo MOCO –
November 19, 2011, Plaza de San Jerónimo, Centro Histórico, Mexico City
Music: Traditional barrel organ from Mexico City. Photography and video: Participants and Grete Aagaard.
Freedom to speak up
The project and film ‘Freedom to speak up’ is about joint development of a sound production for the local radio on women’s rights in the current social and political life in and around Guamote, Ecuador. Partners was The Womens Group in Guamote.
The recordings included readings of the rights which was decided in the local council and role-playing. The documentary ‘Freedom to Speak up’ show preparations and recordings. Under intense astonishment formal character of the rights María Carmen Moyolema Guachilema and her women’s group rehearse the most powerful reading.
The radioprogramme became a part of the womens educational workshops during spring -12. The video was edited almost instantly, it was screened toghether with The Womens Group and copied on the spot.
Promoters of ‘Freedom to speak up’ are The women’s group in Guamote, Ecuador and Visual Remarks and Neighbourhood Remarks.
The women’s group in Guamote realizes workshops for women in the surrounding villages. The intention is to train women in leadership roles, to promote knowledge about rights and to establish local networks. María Carmen Moyolema Guachilema is the initiator. She is a councilor in Guamote municipality.
Maria Carmen says:
“… we are concerned that all women know their rights or the basic skills needed to assume the role of authority. We are here today, but tomorrow there will be new women, and therefore we need to prepare women in basic skills so that they can exercise public functions and management tasks … ”
Information and film in Danish, see (Here)
Radio “Wisdom of man”
The documentary process was done in collaboration with Mariano Poaquiza who is a key person at the radio station Runacunapac. Since the early 80s Mariano has maintained the local tradition of broadcasting music, greetings, political messages, information and education out to remote homes in the Andes around the village of Simiátug. See: People and Voices (11:40) 2011/2012
Mariano says: “On the radio I have made my life, I have worked here because I quite like it. I like listening to music and communicate with others, on the radio I have made many friends, many of them know me.
The radio is special where there is no TV. People listen to us in small radios, as there is no TV signal because of the geographical conditions, the medium wave radio signal arrives good and quickly.”
People and voices is a part of the project Convicciones – Convictions, which is a participatory art and film documentary project. It has unfolded in cooperation with a number of committed people and groups from Guamote, Simiátug and Quito in Ecuador in 2011 and 2012.
Promoters in the collaborative film work People and voices are the inhabitants and volunteers in the village of Simiátug, the Radio Runacunapac, the radio host Mariano Poaquizo, Ecuador as well as Visual Remarks and Neighbourhood Remarks / visual artist Grete Aagaard
A new, dangerous road cut through the jungles of Ecuador. A pressing problem for the families in Uunt Chiwias in Ecuador is the design of a recently completed road through the former jungle area. The laying of asphalt paving on the road means that now cars drive at breakneck speed through the pedestrian areas. Our Indian friends insisted on having speed humps. Both adults and children express the view that speed humps should be established as a solution.
Artist Grete Aagaard and documentarist Lars Henningsen collaborate with the families to create a video that makes this severe problem visible to the world. The result was a film, which was immediately was broadcasted on local television in the nearby city Macas.
In the cross of documentary, activism and visual art this project presents an issue affecting a local population. This production aims at raising awareness about remote desicions that has adverce affetcs on small communities like the one presented in this film. See: SPEED HUMP (5:23) 2008 – Reversioned 2010
The World as a Model
A small shop located in Central Mexico City specializes in styrofoam models. These models represent knowledge of a diverse nature: tableaux from world history, outer space, human anatomy, sports, technology etc.
Even though the store’s appearance is orderly and precise the presentation of models covers a surprisingly wide range of combinations of general categories. See: The World as a Model (5:00) -10
Near the city of Oaxaca to the south of Mexico City lies the ancient temple complex of Monte Alban. Five minutes before closing time of the exhibition area a guard begins to whistle hard and stridently. He tries to gather the visitors and get them to the entrance. The visitors react as they stroll slowly. A latent power struggle plays out. See: Procedures (2:14) 2010
What goes around … The day proverbs connected Gellerup and Åbyhøj
Documentaric insight into a 6th grade project at Gellerup, Aarhus. Although this part of the town is considered as a so called ghetto area the project revealed extended social resources and skills among the participating young girls.
The artists Grete Aagaard and Tanja Nellemann worked together with the class in spring 2010. Text and ornaments covered almost 400 meters of a sidewalk. The project could be seen three or four days in May until the rain washed away the work.
With my digital camera I spontaneously filmed the row of decorated slabs, while I moved in and out between cyclists and pedestrians.
The film covers a wide range of different shots from the project’s completion. The involved girls attentively read the proverbs and they gave feedback on the editing. See: What goes around (4:15) 2010.
The Invention. Stories of a cannon
A film about memory, search for recognition and identity
The Invention tells the story of the breakfast product called ‘puffed cereal’. The events occurred during World War II and up through the middle fifties. We witness the dramatic episodes which revolved around the invention.
The effect was so powerful that the machine was knocked loose from its concrete foundation, and the bang could be heard for miles around in the widespread forests of central Jutland. Hence, for obvious reasons, the invention was called ‘the cannon’. We learn this from Knud Rasmussen, the inventor’s son. He grew up at the small factory which was built around the ‘cannon’, Lystruphave Puff Corn Fabrik. See: The Invention. Stories of a Cannon (17:45) 2008 / Reversioned 2010
The story contains a number of key scenes. For instance Knud Rasmussen tells us that as a child he went to Kastrup Airport with his father to pick up Keith Kellogg who had arrived from the U.S.A. to inspect the unique invention. During the shooting of The Invention this situation was recreated with the assistance of DC3 Friends Denmark and Dakota Norway. Surprisingly enough the investigative film process uncovered that puff cannons are used extensively in South Korea.
The film’s soundtrack contains music by experimental Danish band Laila & Symfobia, both concert recordings and tracks from the band’s CD Perler og Svin (Pearls and Swine).
Camera: Nanna Søs Brejning. The Invention was edited by Lars p Arendt. Narrator: Knud Rasmussen. Idea and realisation: Lars Henningsen
Children are drawing films on small notepads. The video gives an insight into children’s narratives, their use of effects from the media and their interest in drawing and creating sound. The drawing materials are simple, but the children’s animations and narratives are very precise and vivid.
The Fish in the Hammock is part of af lager project: Play Culture – Playing Media. It focuses on exactly those expressions of play which are found in informal cultural contexts. The children show what engage them and the documentarist is an active part of these investigative and productive processes. See: The Fish in the Hammock (9:00) 1999.
Gertrud the Ant and Other Narratives and Plays
The video shows the multiplicity of expressions that children build up in their play cultures. The children play the role of co-creative documentarists in the after-school institution at Risskov School. They often handle camera and microphone and take part in a collaboration to create narratives about play.
Gertrud the Ant is also a part of the project Play Culture – Playing Media. See above. See: Gertrud the Ant 21:00. 2000.
‘The Video Camera in Play and Narrative. Note about the projects in Play Culture – Playing Media 1991 – 2002′ (Here)
‘Play Culture – Playing Media 1991 – 2002. Seven documentary films focusing on interaction in documentary processes’ (Here)