Luna Kino takes inspiration from the Luna-Lichtspiegel, a cinema that was open before, during, and after the Second World War. With its portals and dome-like structure, the environmental film installation builds on the entangled relationship of astronomical research and the imperialist militarism associated with the conquest of the sky, but also Luna-Lichtspiegel’s own history which was run almost entirely by women.
At the entrance of the cinema lies a female body, whose figure is modeled after iconic women in entertainment history. One of these women was the journalist Marta Hiller, later identified as the author of Eine Frau in Berlin. Hiller’s memoir, a harrowing account of the final days of the Second World War, was originally published anonymously, thereby presenting it almost as a universal account of sexual violence women endure in war times. Curnier Jardin confronts the faceless anonymity that masks the body once it is expected to represent more than just itself as a way of contesting how German women were often portrayed as a vehicle for societal unity following 1945. Curnier Jardin presents this female figure submerged, with hair floating in a water-less pool around her body. Looking upwards, the figure’s face morphs into what seems like a scream in response to the gore of blood dripping on a sheer, nylon-like screen inside the cinema.
Titled the only film, the video projected in Luna Kino is the visceral interpretation of what a panoptic film could look like in a cinema run by women during the war – with blood dripping around the camera’s lens. Projected on a screen, the formal cinema structure of the installation is contrasted with the domestic objects used to present the film. Referencing primitive cinemas, which often had to be mobile and portable, the cinema’s interior is made using household items. Like a bedsheet, the screen is hung on washing line poles that have been cemented in buckets. With these materials, Curnier Jardin alludes to a tradition found in multiple cultures, in which a young woman’s bloody sheets are presented to demonstrate her first menstruation and the subsequent step into womanhood, or to prove her virginity prior to her wedding night. The buckets used to prop the washing lines also have a deeper meaning as a reference to the manual labor women began to be associated with during the city-wide campaigns to remove the rubble and wreckage after the Second World War.
Photo by Andrea Rossetti.