"The Hidden Conference" is a three-part series of filmic investigations in museum storages. All three films evoke the discussions one can imagine artworks in the museum storage spaces might have with one another. "The Hidden Conference" continues the investigation of cultural storage areas and archives, started with the curatorial project "A Curated Conference: On the Future of Collective Strength within an Archive" at the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid: the stored art works become protagonists in a filmic narrative that unfolds before a handheld camera; their invisible nexuses and the condition of silent coexistence are enlivened besides scientific or chronological claims by the restless camerawork and the montage of textual fragments, filmic pictures and sound elements. The soundscape is an equal partner in supporting the fictionalization process.

The series, started with "The Hidden Conference: About the Discontinuous History of Things We See and Don’t See" (2010), shot shortly after the project at the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid, explores this debate further. Set in an unidentified location (the storage area of the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin) and at an unspecified point in time (in the future or in the past), it brings to light a situation that although existing for years, the written prologue informs us, has now taken on a certain degree of urgency. Nonetheless, the reason for the meeting is no longer known. As the camera choreographs a miscellaneous group of art objects shrouded in noirish lighting, fragmentary narratives emerge but never cohere. The narrative serves as a mediator not as a solution. Speech is subsumed into corporeal performance, for the minimal soundtrack composed together with Jan St. Werner animates the works – by Ernst Barlach, Renée Sintenis, Gerhard Marcks, and others now sunk into anonymity – creating a sense of play through gesture, stance, posture, and regard.
 
The Hidden Conference: About the Discontinuous History of Things We See and Don't See, 2010

35mm film, color, optical sound, 13:40 min



Images 1, 2, 3: Film still © Rosa Barba 
Image 4: Installation view at carlier l gebauer, 2011 © Rosa Barba