Ongoing series of video collages. For preview contact: ulu(at)ulubraun(.)com
Das Glitzern im Barbieblut (Glittering Barbieblood)
A film by Ulu Braun
with Gina-Lisa Maiwald, Mietze Maiwald, Dietlind Sommer, Milan Braun, …
A young mother and her daughters under a bridge. The camera scans the surroundings and follows them around the world. We dive into an imaginative journey about sensory perceptions, self-discovery and social structures. A rebellious „painting by numbers“ under the radar of symbols: From the father (a Mercedes dealer) to the Barbie horse to the ruins of the world‘s largest car factory in Detroit.
Eine junge Mutter und ihre Töchter unter einer Brücke. Die Kamera scannt die Umgebung ab und folgt ihnen um die Welt. Wir tauchen ein in eine fantasievolle Reise über Sinneswahrnehmungen, Selbstfindung und Gesellschaftsstrukturen. Ein rebellisches „Malen nach Zahlen“ unter dem Radar der Symbole: Vom Vater (Mercedes Händler) über das Barbie-Pferd bis hin zur Ruine der weltgrößten Autofabrik in Detroit.
„Das Glitzern im Barbieblut“ / through the eyes of…
a text by Azin Feizabadi,
We are in a car museum. Her little daughter observes from a distance a homeless person with a furry blue headscarf, taking off his brand new, white Nike trainers to rest and massage his feet. At the same time, the mother asks: “How long did it take? From the first blade of grass, to the invention of the lawnmower? And from the invention of fire, to the internet?”
Cause and effect! Or: are we humans merely the result of an accident that happened in the universe millions of years ago? Bing, Boom, Bang, and here we are, taking ourselves far too seriously. Running in a loop and never pausing, like Tom Cruise on all his impossible missions, trying to reach the final goal – that ultimately is death and nothing else.
What is the meaning of life? Am I becoming a nihilist?
In Ulu Braun’s “Glittering Barbieblood”, when a little girl starts recording with her brand new handheld camera whatever she finds interesting, life very much begins to make sense again. The otherwise unrelated peripheral elements of the world around us – which we usually ignorantly pass by – start to interconnect. That’s what happens in the world of “Glittering Barbieblood”. Because this world is an in-between space in the true sense of the word. It lies in a gap in time, between the conscious and the subconscious, inside the very thin crack of reality and imagination, emotion and technology, socio-politics and aesthetics. In the world of “Glittering Barbieblood”, the colour blue, a pink cleaning bottle, the Statue of Liberty, the saint of the streets Dennis D. Cooper, a compact disc, Lula the missing brown cat, tinnitus and hearing aids, the existential number 3 and the city of Detroit are all interlinked: they are each other’s cause and effect, a circle, an ouroboros. A playful and day-to-day survivalist artist – a single mother and her two little children – are the mediators between these accidental-looking elements of everyday life.
“Mama, how did you know I was thinking of a polar bear?” And just before the family sets off on foot to travel further into America, the mother replies: “There are invisible connections over very wide distances.”
The more we travel with the family into a variety of places overseas, the more we learn about the life story of the mother and her children, understand her urgency and the emotional driving force of the film. And the more the various puzzles fit together to create a grand image, the more fascinated we become about the making of such a careful choreography of minor (and some major) stories. Which came first? The egg or the chicken? The script or the footage? The story of the family or the concept of the film? I’d prefer not to know the answer and just to raise the questions in order to remain in the imaginative, playful and thought-provoking realm that is a key to the experience of “Glittering Barbieblood”.
(Azin Feizabadi is an Iranian born Berlin based filmmaker and visual artist. He is a member of the selection committee of Berlinale Shorts since 2020 and the short film section of the Kasseler Dokfest since 2018.)
“Es ist nicht leicht, der Post-Postmoderne neue Facetten abzuringen. Dem Filmemacher Ulu Braun gelingt dies aber einmal mehr. „Das Glitzern im Barbieblut“ begleitet eine junge, offenbar obdachlose Mutter bei ihren urbanen Streifzügen. Dialoge mit ihrer Tochter legen sich über die Bilder, erklären aber nichts. Texte und Szenen schaffen Assoziationen, die nur auf den ersten Blick zufällig wirken. Es entfaltet sich ein von Chiffren und Codes durchzogenes Energiefeld, das voller Möglichkeiten steckt. Weggeworfene CDs, Banksy-Graffiti, Mercedes-Sterne und natürlich auch Barbiepuppen säumen einen Weg, der vom Nichts zum Nichts führt – aber enorm die Sinne schärft.”
Claus Löser (Berliner Zeitung 12.06.2021)
A film by Ulu Braun
with Maximilian Brauer, Susanne Bredehöft, Niina Lehtonen Braun, Gina Lisa Maiwald, Peter Cramer, Paul Bachmann and many others
The magical realist film follows the trials and encounters of Jonathan as he attempts to fulfill his mother’s final wish: that her ashes be laid to rest at Alexanderplatz, Berlin. Carrying her blue urn and searching for a suitable location, he attempts to gain permission, assistance, and sometimes merely empathy from his fellow citizens. From bridges to construction sites, electronics megastores to public fountains, encountering a nun, an artist and various figures he traces circles around the concrete epicenter of the busy metropolis, revealing a place where commerce, branding, bustle, and tourism overshadow historical landmarks and personal relations. The private pathos of a son mourning his mother encounters the cold and normalized absurdity of hypercapitalism, history, and everyday city life.
Aus der Vogelperspektive beobachten wir den Protagonisten Jonathan — der versucht den Wunsch seiner Mutter zu erfüllen, am Berliner Alexanderplatz ihre letzte Ruhestätte zu finden. Unterwegs mit der metallic-blauen Urne und beschattet von einer Nonne, umkreist er das vom Tourismus, Konsum und Lifestyle geprägte Epizentrum der Stadt. Sein Auftrag führt ihn zu ungewöhnlichen Begegnungen mit Bauarbeitern, Passanten und dem Gesetz. Der Tod wird zum Instrument, hinter die verletzliche Fassade von Mensch und Architektur zu schauen.
Wohlfühloasen, Erlebniswelten und Rastplätze. In der westlichen Gesellschaft hängen große Erwartungen am Nutzen der „freien“ Zeit. Es ist ein Erlösungsversprechen, welches sich aus der Arbeitsleistung speist. Der Filmessay „Frei Zeit“ untersucht in meist statischen Einstellungen, wie sich dieses Konstrukt an öffentlichen, privaten und medialen Räumen darstellt und welches Konfliktpotential entsteht, wenn Träume mit der Realität kollidieren. Metaphorisch stellt sich die Frage: Wie wollen wir leben?
Wellness oases, adventure worlds and resting places. In western society, great expectations are attached to the benefits of “free” time. It is a promise of salvation, which feeds on the work performance. The film essay “Frei Zeit” examines how this construct presents itself in public, private and media spaces and what potential for conflict arises when dreams collide with reality. Metaphorically, the question arises: how do you want to live?
The film is a geographic construct in accordance with „our“ collective perception of Africa and the image of Africa presented by the media. Inaccuracies within this construct challenge these perceptions.
The setting is an African village apparently inhabited by Germans (or Brandenburg one hundred years from now) and a seemingly African mine, in which a Ferrari® is discovered during an excavation, like an archeological artifact.
Additionally, western consumer goods (Red Bull®, Nike®, Raffaello®), archaic agricultural products (coffee, milk) and wildlife (zebras, hyenas, budgies), with possible connotations with Africa and Germany as well as black/white are interwoven with the narrative, increasingly blurring dividing lines and stereotypes.
Within this village setting, we encounter the protagonist, “Joachim”, as he is trying to procure energy carriers, taken from the village environment, for a mysterious shaman (with one black and one white hand), in order to realize their vision, “The Collective Energy Project”.
A Museum for Prussian Culture serves as some kind of nexus within the village, harboring seemingly characteristic features of “German Culture” (ears of wheat, blackbirds) as well as artifacts of western consumer culture (WD 40, a Siemens hand mixer). The museum’s curator, a black woman, seems to be the only person who is keeping the Prussian epoch alive.
As the energy production reaches its climax and our protagonist Joachim is banned from attending the ceremony, he resorts to a kind of displacement activity, stealing the village’s energy liquid and using it to fuel the freshly restored Ferrari®, gloriously catapulting himself at full speed out of the story/history.
Whether the story takes place in a fictitious future, in the present or in the past remains unclear. There are hints referring to all three temporal stages, establishing a connection between historic references and medial realities.
An einem Ort, der biblische Landschaft und westliche Mythen vereint, steht ein Gebäude – halb Rockerkneipe, halb Bergbauernhof. In dieser Herberge werden alle Wesen aufgenommen, die dieses unwirtliche Land durchqueren. “Die Herberge” ist ein Videogemälde, in dem Vergangenheit und Zukunft zu einem Ort verschmelzen und tiefste Nöte und Freizeitgestaltung einander nicht ausschließen. Hier kreuzen sich unsere Wege.
In a place where a biblical landscape and western myths converge, there is a house, part biker hangout, part mountain farm. It welcomes all beings who traverse this inhospitable landscape. In „The Hostel“, past and future merge into one place, and deepest misery and recreation are not mutually exclusive. This is where our paths cross.
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Cave TV: relief projection corpus (150 x 100 x 30cm) + video (31:49, HD, sound), unique work
Cave TV is a video collage projected on a sculptural corpus with a relief-like surface. The video installation reconstructs the social situation similar to a primal campfire or a modern television set-up. Its collaged images are referring to genres, epoches and styles in media history. Refracting media echoes meander on the video sculpture and hypnotize their audience through vivid and ductile projection and shapes. An archaic ritual that questions the gravity of light and darkness.
“It is like a primal campfire that draws the viewer into contemplation on existence within his medial representation.” David L.
Westcoast is a panorama-video consisting of interwoven scenes mounted on a coastline – somewhere between Rotterdam and Sydney. Starting from a bubbling primordial soup, the view incessantly pans along an waterfront in the style of a late transnational financial eclecticism and passes by mystical events, such as a giant hippo eating carrots and hectically spinning rubber boats. After a dark spiritual waterway recalling mideval atmospheres, the panorama ends in a cave encommpassing a refuse-Jacuzzi in which a white woman gazes about with melancholy.