The Discourse of the Drinkers

July 6 — September 1, 2019

For her film "The Discourse of the Drinkers" Larsson shot footage in two Berlin locations: the queer/gay bar "The Club" and the "Rote Rose" bar, which is open around the clock. Both venues fuse into one space and one dialogue between people from wholly different walks of life: Larsson captures the queer performance troupe "The Real Housewives of Neukölln", as well as single men and women from diverse backgrounds speaking different languages ​​in a double sense – as they laugh, drink, sing and recount stories together in what is a programmatically open and slowly burgeoning form of community. Albeit temporary and fragile, this community actually exists. Many of Larsson's videos, including this one, take a documentary approach and are shot in a kind of continuous close-up. As a result, the camera conjures up images that recall the mood of classical film. However, the editing, the tight proximity of the camera’s focus, the notoriously decelerated temporality of the action and the multiplicity of voices at play are less about a narrative and more about a potential. The moving images create a space that opens up other forms of the social and political alongside – or perhaps better, adjacent to – normative control. It is a virtual space in which the unexpected happens and encounters unfold that did not necessarily take place in this form. This mode of potential narrative, which disrupts spaces, time and thought, engages with the liminal areas of identity and truth.
The 40-minute-long video "The Discourse of the Drinkers" explores the bar as a political and social space. It resonates thus with the Kunstverein’s own approach to its location and its positioning as an open and transgressive space.
"The Discourse of the Drinkers" was made in 2017 over a six-month period. The video and accompanying artist book form the prelude to Larsson's current ongoing, three-year research project "Non-Knowledge, Laughter and the Moving Image". The project is based at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm and the HFBK Hamburg, where Larsson is a professor, and is funded by the Swedish Research Council. "Non-Knowledge Laughter and the Moving Image" takes the moving image and the body laughing to be an expressive medium of the grotesque, in which a different way of thinking, acting and being (can) express and establish themselves.

Annika Larsson (b. 1972, Stockholm) lives and works in Berlin and has been professor of Time-based Media at the University of Fine Arts Hamburg since 2018. Her sound performances were recently shown at the Akademie der Künste, Berlin (2019), the 58th Venice Biennale, the Herkules Saal, Munich (2018) and at the Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin (2017). Solo exhibitions dedicated to her work have been staged at the Museo d'Arte Contemporanea di Roma, Rome (2014), the Velan Center, Turin, La Fabrica, Madrid (2010), Le Magasin, Grenoble (2005), Kunsthalle Nürnberg (2004), S.M.A.K., Gent (2002), among other venues. Her works are represented in important art collections, such as the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, S.M.A.K, Ghent, the Goetz Collection, Munich and the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León.