The Walt Disney Studios: 100 Years of Wonders and Nightmares / Les studios Walt Disney : 100 ans de merveilles et de cauchemars
Paris+ par Art Basel 2023, October 21
The Walt Disney Studios are probably one of the most important myth producers of the 20th century. In this panel, their cultural legacy will be interrogated in all its complexity: from Disney’s ambition to elevate animation to the status of fine art and Mickey Mouse’s influence on art history, to the racist archetypes of Song of the South (1946). On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Walt Disney Studios on October 16, 2023, this talk explores the wonders and nightmares imagined by a creator as iconic as he is controversial.
‣ Meriem Bennani, artist, New York
‣ Norman Klein, Professor, School of Critical Studies, California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles
‣ Andrew Norman Wilson, director, New York
‣ Moderator: Sabrina Tarasoff, writer and critic, Paris
‣ Meriem Bennani (b. 1988 in Rabat, Morocco) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Juxtaposing and mixing the language of reality TV, documentaries, phone footage, animation, and high production aesthetics, she explores the potential of storytelling while amplifying reality through a strategy of magical realism and humor. She has been developing a shape-shifting practice of films, sculptures and immersive installations, composed with a subtle agility to question our contemporary society and its fractured identities, gender issues, and the ubiquitous dominance of digital technologies. Bennani’s work has been shown at the Whitney Biennale and MoMA PS1, New York and Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris. Her animated series, 2 Lizards, a collaboration with director Orian Barki, premiered on Instagram during Spring 2020 and was described by The New York Times as “hypnotic…deploying a blend of documentary structure and animation surrealism…both poignantly grounded in actual events and also soothingly fantastical” and its animated protagonists “art stars.” (Jon Caramanica, April 2020)
‣ Norman Klein is an urban and media historian, and novelist. His books include: The History of Forgetting: Los Angeles and the Erasure of Memory (1997/2008); Seven Minutes: The Life and Death of the American Animated Cartoon (1993); The Vatican to Vegas: The History of Special Effects (2004); Freud in Coney Island and Other Tales (2006); Bleeding Through: Layers of Los Angeles, 1920-86 (2003), now in an expanded new edition (2023); The Imaginary 20th Century (coauthored with Margo Bistis) (2016); Tales of the Floating Class: Writings 1982–2017 – Essays and Fictions on Globalization and Neo-feudalism (2018). Klein lives in Los Angeles and is a professor in the School of Critical Studies at the California Institute of the Arts.
‣ Andrew Norman Wilson is an artist and director based between Europe and the US. His work has been screened at Sundance, the New York Film Festival, and the International Film Festival, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; exhibited at LUMA Arles, MoMA PS1, and the Gwangju and Berlin Biennials; and is in collections including those of Museum of Modern Art, New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the Centre Pompidou, Paris. He has taught and lectured in prestigious institutions in the US and UK and has published his writings in Artforum and the Paris Review.
‣ Sabrina Tarasoff is a writer and critic based in Paris. She is a contributing editor at Mousse and writes regularly for Artforum, Los Angeles Review of Books, and X-TRA Contemporary Art Journal. She is currently working on a book of essays, Fantasyworld, that dwells on the mysterious movement between popular culture, poetry, and contemporary art, with a particularly keen eye on the nebulous ‘poet gang’ that formed around the Wednesday Night Poetry series at Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Venice, CA between 1976 and 1986. She is also editing Fun To Be Dead: The Poems of Bob Flanagan, to be published this year.
The Conversations program for Paris+ par Art Basel 2023 is curated by Pierre-Alexandre Mateos and Charles Teyssou.
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