The sight of a big sky is closely associated with freedom and openness. The faraway horizon is synonymous with the vastness of thought; the high blue sky of day and the starry nocturnal firmament are codes for the sublime.

They also remind us of the childlike pastime of looking for pictures in cloud formations or marvelling at the boundlessness of the universe.

The choice of “Looking at the Big Sky” as the title of a contemporary video art programme was associated with the hope that the ideas and illusions would know no boundaries, that the sky would be the limit in all directions. At the same time, it sounded like an appeal to the participating artists to venture a – perhaps naïve, but unerring – look at longings, utopias and great aspirations, and to think the existing concepts of authenticity and beauty beyond the present.

Students of four German art academies (Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig / Braunschweig University of Art, Kunstakademie Düsseldorf / Düsseldorf Art Academy, Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln / Academy of Media Arts, Cologne and Akademie der Bildenden Künste München / Academy of Fine Arts, Munich) were invited to enter recent single-channel videos in the competition “Looking at the Big Sky”. Fourteen films – works which respond to the thematic postulation with an astonishing variety of motifs and practices – were ultimately selected.

The spectrum ranges from fictional narratives and stagings to individual assertions and performances, from found-footage montages to pseudo documentaries.

Renate Buschmann / Stiftung imai, Düsseldorf and Leonhard Emmerling / Goethe-Institut


Fabian Driehorst / Frédéric Schuld
Hohenpeissenberg (2011) 2′30″ (Loop), Colour, Sound

Stefan Ewald
Birkensee / Birch Lake (2011) 9′00″, Colour, Sound

Hannah Hummel
Untitled (2012) 5′53″(Loop), Colour, Sound

Bianca Kennedy
Weirdo’s Brain (2012) 13′33″, Colour, Sound

Alwin Lay
Und Zigaretten / And Cigarettes (2011) 5′49″ (Loop), Colour, Sound

Henning Frederik Malz
John’s Desire (2011) 4′34″, Colour, Sound

Kevin Pawel Matweew
An vertrauten Orten / Familiar Places (2012) 2′54″, Colour, Sound

Anna-Lena Meisenberg
On (2011) 2′25″ (Loop), Colour, Sound

Lucie Mercadal
Hafenpfütze / Harbour’s Puddle (2012) 4′07″, Colour, Sound

Jens Pecho
Toccata (2010) 3′35″, Colour, Sound

Julia Charlotte Richter
Learning to Fly (2011) 8′45″, Colour, Sound

Marko Schiefelbein
I can. You can (2012) 7′25″, Colour, Sound

Anna Sokolova
Schwarz-Weiß-Schwarz. Manifest / Black-White-Black. Manifest(2012)
1′36″ (Loop), Colour, silent

Maximilian Wagner
Schneeengel / Snow Angel (2011) 0′34″ (Loop), Colour, Sound