Mario Pfeifer, born in Dresden in 1981, explores representation structures and conventions through the medium of film. In a practice of overlapping, he interweaves transcultural references from art history, film and politics. Mario Pfeifer’s works have been presented in numerous solo exhibitions in institutions all over the world. Various grants and projects led him to Bangkok, Mumbai, Marrakesh, Beirut, Tierra del Fuego, Santiago de Chile, and New York. Mario participated in the 10th Berlin Biennale (2018), the 11th Bienal do Mercosul (2017), the 3rd Montevideo Bienal (2016) as well as the 4th Marrakesh Biennal (2012). Survey exhibitions took place in 2016 at the GfZK Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig and in 2019 at The Power Plant Toronto. In 2019 IDFA commissioned the first performance work AGAIN – Live which premiered at Amsterdam’s Pakhuis de Zwijger. Pfeifer lives in Berlin and Dresden.
Video, trailer, audio interview
Mario Pfeifer’s two channel video Again/Noch Einmal is a closer look at pervasive racism in Germany. It stages the re-enactment of a court case that aroused strong controversy in Germany. In summer 2016 an argument between a supermarket cashier and a Kurdish-Iraqi refugee Schabas Saleh Al-Aziz escalated in the village of Arnsdorf. Subsequently, four men, a self-proclaimed vigilante group, dragged him out of the supermarket where they tied him to a tree with cable ties. It was twenty-five minutes before the police arrived. The entire scene was filmed by an unknown witness and the video was published on YouTube, where it went viral. These are the facts that Mario Pfeifer reconstructs in Again/Noch Einmal by restaging the supermarket scene and the subsequent trial in a studio, having actors play out the events in front of a jury of German citizens with migrant background. Again/Noch Einmal highlights the blurred distinction between civil courage and vigilante justice.
Music: Ndiobo Seck
Lyrics: Negga Dou Tamba, Baye Can
Video production: blackboardfilms
Mario Pfeifer met and recorded the rapper and activist Negga Dou Tamba in Sinthian. In Negga Dou’s song Backways and the subsequent interview he summons young Africans to harness locally available energy and resources, to cultivate the land and develop autonomy in and for Africa – instead of risking their lives to seek a false El Dorado in an isolated Europe. In light of the current debate on refugees in distress at sea, Backways creates an alternative space for discourse; through the poetics of rap and agricultural activism it aims to influence the destiny of those who seek the dream of self-determination and prosperity in a Europe that is undergoing drastic political change.
Backways was created in the framework of the artistic research and exchange project Seeds For Future Memories, a cooperation between the artist residencies Thread in Sinthian, Senegal and Villa Romana in Florence, Italy, in 2018.