Film Screening: Somnis Facere II at Spike Island

An intimate gathering of curious visitors had the privilege of watching the screening of the film Somnis Facere II at Spike Island on Monday, 9th of March. The screening was curated and introduced by artist Isabelle Cornaro, who’s currently exhibiting her latest work at the Spike gallery.

Cornaro showed some of her own films, alongside others’ abstract and experimental films which she feels reflect her practice notions. The programme Somnis Facere was first devised for a screening in Cinéma 2 of Centre Pompidou, Paris.

In her introduction to the screening, Cornaro explained the reasoning behind the collection of films. They were specially selected by her from the Pompidou archives as either pinpointing a relation to objects in a conceptual/formal manner – showcasing them as ornaments in an indoor setup – or focusing on formal composition, colours and rhythmic structures.


Isabelle chose to intentionally mute the sound of some of the films in order to draw the audience’s attention to the visual content, initiating an active pull towards penetrating the essence of the films themselves.

Apart from Isabelle’s own films, the programme consisted of ‘technical films’, dating between the 40s and 60s, created by Jack Smith (1969), Storm de Hirsch (1964), Dwinell Grant (1943) and others. The first film of Cornaro’s to be shown was ‘Premier rêve d’Oskar Fischinger’ (2008), 16 mm transferred to digital. This film is an hommage to the German filmmaker and pioneer of abstract film Oskar Fischinger (1900-1967). Taking objects associated with Fischinger’s films, Cornaro looks at the relationship between space, perspective and the constructed image.

In ‘Film-lampe’ (2010), Cornaro filmed slowly oscillating lightbulbs, thus re-evaluating light and slow movement, whereas in ‘Celebration’ (2013), she used Walt Disney scenes – most specifically the scene of Snow White about to be killed. With this she explores the internal/external relation of a living person possibly becoming a corpse, therefore an object – i.e. the relationship between object vs. subject and animate vs. inanimate.

In the Q&A session at the end, Cornaro talked about the films and the appeal of the other directors’ work, mostly in the way they portray ‘pathos aesthetics’, put across with the use of objects.

Below is a short interview with Cornaro, where she talks about her fascination with objects in her work – the ultimate product of art itself. Her interest also lies in the relation between sign and signified, thus her art practice can be said to be informed by structuralism and is reminiscent of Roland Barthes’s similar investigations in all walks of culture.

It was an extraordinary evening spent in a particular kind of attention that stirs the emotions and encourages introspection.