Transient Witness – A Conversation

Stefan Aue Assaf Gruber Marcelo Rezende
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16.11.2021

Assaf Gruber’s film Transient Witness traces the transformation of a private collection into a public archive and the questions that this change raises. It refers to the donation of the collection of Egidio Marzona to the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD), where the former collection is now known as Archiv der Avantgarden (AdA). Transient Witness has been developed and realized in the frame of The Whole Life: An Archive Project. The film explores the common features and necessary distinctions between art collections, archives, as well as the various materials and cultural substrata that enable their existence. It does so by narrating a fictional story of the transfer of the objects from the private house of collector Egidio Marzona in Berlin to their new domicile – the Japanisches Palais, a Rococo building part of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden – through the eyes of three main characters: Christina, the manager of the collection; Maurizio, the art mover who comes to collect the works; and Präsens, the collector’s dog. In the course of the plot, the boundaries of the real and the fictional become blurred. In this conversation Stefan Aue, Assaf Gruber, and Marcelo Rezende talk about the concept of the film and how the objects involved are telling a parallel story in the setting of this cinematic format.

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