Courtisane festival 2024

23rd edition - notes on cinema
27 March, 2024 - 31 March, 2024


The Skin of the World is the title of one of the various and varied programs in this year’s Courtisane festival. It is borrowed from the work of the late Jean-Luc Nancy, one of the great thinkers on the notion of listening. Against the current of the dominant visual understanding of our world, Nancy has argued that listening can be perceived as an opening to resonance, which simultaneously opens a person to oneself and to another while gaining and giving sense. In the case of the eye, there is a making evident, while in the case of the ear, there is a making resonant. While the visual tends towards representation, the sonorous tends towards participation.

Questions of sounding and resounding, sound and sense, vibration and relation are abound in this festival edition. A caption in our opening film, Alison O’Daniel’s The Tuba Thieves, refers to “quiet air”: a description of sound but also of sensation and shared substance. As sound resonates through us, we are tempted to either understand its signification or to accept the resonance through the echo chambers of the subject, which may lead us to question our being in the world and how sound affects us and our sociality. As Nancy reminds us, any individual is at once a sonorous body for itself and a listening body that, itself, resounds as it listens to the soundings of others.

“How do we listen to the soundings of others?” is a question that reverberates throughout numerous programs. In We Have Long Been Silent, women-made documentaries from 1970s West Germany aim to give voice to marginalised women to speak for themselves and to narrate their own experiences. The program Shameless Memories from Latin America unearths all too unheard queer voices from Mexico, Columbia and Brazil. And Politics of the Voice consists of a series of performances, conversations and video works of artists who, as curator Elaine Mitchener has noted, “are not afraid of the sound of their own voices — whether embodied, sonic, visual, spoken, recited, conversed, unvoiced, silent”.

While The Skin of the World formulates a set of tentative propositions of what a cinema of resonance could be, Thinking with Dub Cinema asks us to imagine a cine-poesis of the echo. How does resonance move, how can it make us move and be moved? Can its perpetual transgression of modalities and boundaries offer us a means of rethinking the relations between the senses — and between ourselves? Indeed, as the notion of “the skin of the world” implies, isn’t the world everything happening between us?







Cover Image: Claudia von Alemann - Die Reise Nach Lyon (@bpk/Abisag Tüllmann) / Manon de Boer - Resonating Surfaces / Marthe Peters - Kaalkapje