Friday, 10 May 2013, 24:00 | midnight

#45: Nina Fischer & Maroan El Sani

Nina Fischer and Maroan El Sani present:

Spirits Closing Their Eyes, 2013, 72:00 min

“A film on life in Japan after March 11, 2011. Yet, we are not focussing on the visible damages caused by the earthquake and tsunami, nor on the reconstruction and cheer-up activities following the disaster. Rather, we are interested in non-descript and invisible changes with a particular focus on the current physical and psychological state of emergency which oscillates between actual threat and subtle changes in everyday habits.

We had numerous longer talks with people from different regions in Japan: refugees who, due to the nuclear disaster, have left their homes to live in temporary emergency shelters; families in Tokyo who have got used to handling Geiger counters on a daily basis; students who are organising a referen- dum against nuclear power; researchers who are developing cheap radiation gauges made from recycled plastic bottles affordable to everyone; artists who, in desperation over the general mindless- ness, are organising a festival in contaminated Fukushima etc.. How do people remember March 11th 2011? What changed in their personal lives? What is the disaster ʼs impact on each individual and on society as a whole? Is there an immediate danger? Or is there just a a diffuse feeling of uncertainty? What consequences are drawn? How do people in Japan see their future?

Spirits Closing Their Eyes is made up of three different image categories. Next to the interviews, there are long photographic shots of places representing situations and moods in a country whose major changes remain invisible and only briefly take shape in the accounts of the protagonists. Furthermore, the project includes a series of short filmed portraits: for one minute, each interviewee looks in the camera thinking of their future which, for most of them, is uncertain.“ – Nina Fischer & Maroan El Sani


Nina Fischer (b. 1965 in Emden, Germany) and Maroan el Sani (b. 1966 in Duisburg, Germany) are artists who have collaborated on film and photography projects since 1993 that involve abandoned architectural projects to which they introduce actors who animate new stories for these politically fraught loci. Recent screening programs and exhibitions in which they have shown include: Forum Expanded, 63. Internationale Filmfestspiele, Berlinale, Berlin, 2013; Architektonika, Hamburger Bahnhof─Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin, 2013; Quest for Vision vol.5: Spelling Dystopia, Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo, 2012; and Spell On You, Mediacity Seoul Biennale, Seoul, 2012.

As a duo, they have participated in numerous exhibitions, including the Gwangju biennales in Korea in 1995 and 2002, the Berlin Biennale of 1998, the 1999 Liverpool Biennale, Manifesta IV in Frankfurt, 2002 and in the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media in Japan, 2005. ‘Palast der Republik’ was recently presented in the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin.

Fischer and el Sani live and work in Berlin.

Nina Fischer & Maroan El Sani’s web site: