Screening and Workshop with Lisa Tan

Something Else
Hidden Narration, Visual Strategies and Artistic Research
Visual artist Lisa Tan will present her film trilogy – Sunsets (23 min, 2012), Notes From Underground (24 min, 2013) and Waves (20 min, 2014) – and will also give a workshop based on her most recent film Waves.

A program hosted jointly by the internationale filmschule köln (ifs), the University of Cologne (Institute for Art and Art Theory / Labor für Kunst und Forschung), and the Technical University of Cologne (Cologne Game Lab).

The workshop is limited to 15 people total. For registration please send an email to:

Screening and Participatory Panel Discussion
May 24, 2016
6 PM






internationale filmschule köln (ifs)
Schanzenstraße 28
51063 Köln
Room 113

«To whom are you speaking of writing? The writer does not speak about it, but is concerned with something else» For Lisa Tan, the sentence from Virginia Woolf’s novel The Waves (1931) serves as a starting point for her cinematic search into the nature of ‘something else’? Similar to what Peter Weiss explored in his Aesthetics of Resistance (1975), Lisa Tan finds hidden messages in her own work that she hadn’t placed, but produced; messages veiled in her images and texts and in between that resurface only because the artist searches and excavates in a manner of phagocytic mental self-inspection, like the ouroboros described by Plato. In Notes from Underground (2013) Lisa Tan combines Susan Sontag’s voice with visuals from the (Stockholm) underground. The film begins with snippets from Duet for Cannibals, a film shot by Sontag in 1969 in Stockholm, a satire about a German radical leftist and his Swedish wife turning into cannibals. Both Sontag’s and Tan’s works evoke associations with Michail Bachtin’s remarks on carnival laughter (including the presence of flesh in the word carnival). Horror, transgression, and creative laughter have the same presence, and serve as texts from the underground to deliver messages of deviance concerning gender, race, or sexual practices, releasing hidden messages captivated in media archeological artifacts.

The participatory panel discussion takes Tan’s work as a starting point to explore methods of artistic research to make culturally cached messages visible again. The discussion explores techniques of disclosure as well as the role interactive media and games play can play to investigate topological semantics, and aims to develop visual and narrative methods to reassemble broken fragments of deviance, that may re-produce the faded picture of a different world.

Professor Gundolf S. Freyermuth, PhD, CGL, Media and Game Studies; Co-Director CGLProfessor Sylke Rene Meyer, ifs, department of screenwriting and dramaturgy
Professor Karina Nimmerfall, University of Cologne, Institute of Art and Art Theory
Lisa Tan, Visual Artist

Workshop with Lisa Tan
May 25, 2016
6 – 9 PM

Universität zu Köln
Institut für Kunst und Kunsttheorie
Labor für Kunst und Forschung
Dürener Str. 89
City Passagen, 1. Etage
50931 Köln

I hope you’ll join me for a workshop on Wednesday night, 25th of May. So, I haven’t read anything about the life or work of Nicolas Poussin. I should, because I like his paintings a lot. I won’t miss a chance to see them in person, provided I find myself in a place that has one. What I like about them is that you can always sense what the weather is like. Weather happens in his paintings. The image is one instant in something unfolding. In this way, Poussin’s paintings—at least to me—are early film stills. When we leave the room, someone could very well press the play button and the narrative would continue.

Another thing: no one else can paint a dead body like Poussin. You can feel the temperature of the corpse. In his Landscape during a Thunderstorm with Pyramus and Thisbe, the deceased has taken his own life, mistakingly believing that his loved one was mauled by a lion. This painting is in the Städel Museum collection in Frankfurt. I saw it when I was at the museum to film another work entirely—but one that also makes me think about temperature, and about duration, and about movement. Gustave Courbet’s The Wave (1869).

This workshop will draw primarily on this video, titled Waves (2014-15), which involves Courbet’s painting, but also other things as well—including the technologies that allowed me to insert the image of Poussin’s painting in this very document. We’ll do a close viewing/reading of the work as a group, discuss different strategies and artistic methods that go towards taking the world out of the realm of metaphor and into material reality—words, images, things, encounters, phenomena that affect the manner in which consciousness forms. In the process, hopefully we’ll get to know one another better and leave with a keener sense of temperature, duration and movement.

Lisa Tan, May 2016

The workshop is limited to 15 people total. For registration please send an email to:

Lisa Tan (born 1973, NY, USA) is an artist living in Stockholm, Sweden. Tan works mostly in video, photography, and installations to explore the intricate relationship between language and experience. Her work has been included in solo and group exhibitions and screenings atart institutions and galleries such as Artists Space (New York), the New Museum (New York), Centro Galego de Arte Contemporáneo CGAC (Santiago de Compostela), Arthouse at the Jones Center (Austin, TX), Kadist Art Foundation (Paris), the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, Art in General (New York), El Centro Cultural Montehermoso (Vitoria- Gasteiz), Bonniers Konsthall (Stockholm), Temple Bar Gallery + Studios (Dublin), LA><ART (Los Angeles), Galerie Vidal Cuglietta (Brussels), Galería Parra & Romero (Madrid), Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art (Lisbon), Raquel Arnaud (São Paulo), Andreas Grimm (Munich),Galerie Nordenhake (Stockholm), and the Lofoten International Festival Norway (LIAF). She received an MFA from the University of Southern California (USC), in Los Angeles and recently successfully defended her practice-based dissertation at the University of Gothenburg, Valand Academy. Select teaching experience includes leading theory and practice seminars and MA reviews at Parsons The New School for Design, Fine Arts Department, the University of Gothenburg, Valand Academy, The Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, and the Iceland Academy of the Arts, Reykjavík.