CineLab • Thematic Cycle

Problematising reality – encounters between art and philosophy

Kerstin Stakemeier, Sarah Lewis-Cappellari



Film screening:
Meeting the Man: James Baldwin in Paris (1970, 26 min.) by Terence Dixon


Kerstin Stakemeier, Sarah Lewis-Cappellari


Artworks, especially those that comprise documentary material, can offer a particularl challenge to our sense of reality. While the indexical link to what they address grants images and sounds a specific credibility, the artist’s aesthetic, thematic and political choices and self-reflexive stance may generate a critical assessment of the very constitution of reality. At such point, art meets philosophy. To reflect on the relationship between the factual world and its subjective understanding, questioning hegemonic claims to objectivity and problematising the inherent contradictions of society are inherently philosophical issues.

The second edition of Problematising reality – Encounters between art and philosophy is a partnership between CAM / Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, IFILNOVA (CineLab) / FCSH / UNL and Maumaus / Lumiar Cité. This is a series of six discussion sessions and four seminars taking place at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, focusing on the moment when art and philosophy establish productive dialogues, proposing diverse approaches to contemporary thought.

The second discussion session takes place on November 23rd and brings together the researchers Kerstin Stakemeier and Sarah Lewis-Cappellari, in a reflection prompted by the viewing of Meeting the Man: James Baldwin in Paris (1970), by Terence Dixon. Tense, defiant, discursive: a meeting with James Baldwin doesn’t quite go according to plan for a group of white filmmakers in this rarely seen, Paris-set short film. An illuminating snapshot of Baldwin’s intellectual commitment that bristles with friction and ideas. The film will be presented in a recently restored print.

Kerstin Stakemeier is an educator at the Academy of Fine Arts Nuremberg and in 2017 published Entgrenzter Formalismus. Verfahren einer antimodernen Ästhetik (Debordered Formalism. Devices of an antimodern Aesthetic) with bbooks. Together with Anselm Franke she realized ‘Illiberal Arts’ (Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin 2021) and ‘lliberal Lives’ (Stiftung Moderne Kunst Ludwig Forum Aachen 2023). With Bill Dietz she authored the book Universal Receptivity (2021), with M. Ammer, E. Birkenstock, J. Nachtigall and S. Weber, the exhibition series and journal Class Languages (2017–18). With Marina Vishmidt she wrote Reproducing Autonomy (2016). They are working on a second book.

Sarah Lewis-Cappellari (Dominican Republic/EUA) is a researcher, dramaturg and teacher whose work engages the interface of performance, contemporary art, colonial visual economies and Black and Caribbean Studies. Lewis-Cappellari recently received a PhD in Performance Studies from UCLA. Previously she was based in Berlin, where she worked with the art & science collective Mobile Academy Berlin as one of its primary curators and researchers. Sarah has also researched and worked with collaborative art practices as a member of the performance collective LEWIS FOREVER (which presented work at Performance Space 122 and the New Museum in NYC, among other venues), and independently with SOIT in Brussels, Agora and Sophiensaele in Berlin and Tanzhaus NRW in Düsseldorf.

Session duration: 120 min. | +12 | Entry is free and limited to the number of seats available.
Film spoken in English and subtitled in Portuguese; the discussion will be in English, with simultaneous translation to Portuguese.

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Partnership: CAM / FCG, IFILNOVA (CineLab) / FCSH / UNL, Maumaus / Lumiar Cité
Support: Ministério da Cultura / Direção-Geral das Artes, FCT — Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Câmara Municipal de Lisboa