A Formal Film in Nine Episodes, Prologue and Epilogue -
A Critical Reader

Edited by Susanne Gaensheimer, Bernd Reiß - MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main, Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan and KOW

Form by Markus Weisbeck in collaboration with Kurnal Rawat and Anand Tharanay of Grandmother India

With Contributions by Suprio Bhattacharjee, Kaushik Bhaumik, Amira Gad, Susanne Gaensheimer, Nikolaus Hirsch, Ranjit Hoskote, Shanay Jhaveri, Kurnal Rawat, Bernd Reiß, Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Anand Tharanay, Ragunath Vasudevan, Markus Weisbeck and Mario Pfeifer

Published in Hindi and English by Spector Books, 2013

ISBN 978-3-940064-60-8

In the form of a critical reader, Mario Pfeifer and Markus Weisbeck designed an artist’s publication that considers Pfeifer’s multiple screen high definition video installation A Formal Film (2010) through essays and conversations from India and Europe. Furthermore the publication is a collection of still available printing techniques and paper stocks, locally and culturally specific to Mumbai. The publication also includes graphic illustrations only to be found in Mumbai, known as ‘Taxi Sticker Art’ as well as a ready-made bookmark in form of a political flag, representing India’s lowest caste – the Daliths traditionally known as the Untouchables.

Contributors in text and image from Mumbai, New Delhi, Rotterdam, Frankfurt and London discuss Pfeifer’s installation in the context of social, cross-cultural, educational, film historical, urban, political and economic issues related to India and the West all raised in A Formal Film.

In March 2012, Pfeifer/Weisbeck traveled to Bombay to research materials, producers and collaborators for this publication project in order to discuss the theoretical and practical nature of form and content. Based on the episode structure of Pfeifer’s film the publication contains essays and conversations in six different printing techniques, nine different – in colors varying – papers, a book mark and an individual dust jacket for the hardcover. Pfeifer/Weisbeck collaborated with the Indian Typographer Kurnal Rawat for the title designs of each chapter. The result of this research, the theoretical discourse and production in Mumbai supervised and documented by Ragunath Vasudevan, is a unique and complex publication project, published by Spector Books in Hindi and English.

The edition series with hand-painted dust jackets - produced by Bollywood painter Suresh Sandal on the basis of Pfeifer's film stills - are available through KOW.

Publisher's link.


MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main, March 21, 2013
Artists Space, New York, April 11, 2013
Studio X, Mumbai, April 28, 2013
KHOJ, New Delhi, May 3, 2013
Bauhaus Universität, Weimar, June 04, 2013
Academy of Visual Arts, Leipzig, June 13, 2013
Motto, Berlin, July 12, 2013
Kaleid2013, London, July 20, 2013
Whitechapel Gallery Art Book Fair, London, September 13 - 15, 2013
MoMA PS1, New York, September 22, 2013

Artist's edition of 25 © Courtesy of MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main, 2013

Artist's edition of 25 © Courtesy of MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main, 2013

Related Conversations, Lectures

1-800-SUC-CESS: Cross Cultural Labor and Representation Mario Pfeifer and Radhika Subramaniam with a screening of Ashim Ahluwalia's John & Jane (2005) Thursday, April 11, 7pm - click to stream video.