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Ulu Braun: BIRDS

Dortmunder U | 3rd Floor

In the series HMKV Video of the Month, HMKV presents current video works by international artists for the duration of one month each. In July 2018 we are presenting the video BIRDS by Ulu Braun.

Ulu Braun
HD Video, Sound, 2014, 14:55 Min.

There it stands, the vulture. Majestically spreading its wings. Holding its position, it scouts the open area. The other birds scrutinise their territory as well. Quo vadis, bird? Ulu Braun's film Birds looks at the life of birds in urban habitats. They apply their instinctive behaviour to the developed environment. What role do humans play therein? Bags and umbrellas become bushes, buildings become monoliths and people become organisms. The birds are forced to come to terms with a world that they are not responsible for.
The film discovers its protagonists as prehistorical creatures. The footage was gathered during journeys to cities and suburban habitats during the last years. How do birds orientate themselves in spaces that we consider as ours? The rhythms through which they move their heads, turn their eyes and shake their feathers is intense and leads to a different understanding of time scale and possession of space.

„It is a true splendor of color and plumage that is shown to the viewer in Ulu Braun's short documentary BIRDS. Not only are there many different species of birds that impress, but often the pictures and the moments in which they are observed. A vulture majestically spreading its wings, pigeons swimming in filthy waters that are no more than a puddle. An eagle looking up on a skyscraper roof over the city skyline. At the same time, Ulu Braun not only succeeds in capturing fascinating images of animals, but at the same time also in our society, in our everyday lives. Man is almost completely hidden as an actor. Rather, the film takes the look that we believe to have as a zoo visitor, when we watch animals in the seemingly natural life. Nothing is unaffected by man, it seems. And yet, in BIRDS, the untamed nature of the animal and the civilization of man meet again and again. Likewise, the oversized billboard on which a bird flies by seems almost indicative of a rigid and inflexible way of life, in contrast to the freedom of flight. A hand caressing a bird is just as much an invasion of that freedom as a picture of a crowded balcony in a gray block of houses. How exactly Ulu Braun expresses beauty and sadness in these few minutes is much more than an experimental documentary about birds. It is a glimpse into a world that we believe we know but at the same time never fully understand, let alone possess. And that can exist only in freedom in all its diversity." (Source:

Filmed and produced by Ulu Braun
Sound by Felix Andriessens
Editing advisor: Daniela Kinateder
Production assistance: NLB


Ulu Braun (*1976 in Schongau, Germany) is a visual artist / filmmaker. From 1996 to 2005 he studied painting and experimental film at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and animation at the Film University Babelsberg in Potsdam. Ulu Braun has been using the medium of video to explore the field between the visual arts and auteur cinema since 1997. He is one of the key figures who have transferred painting into video art and have played a significant role in defining and further developing the genre of video collage.
His works have been shown internationally, among others at KW Berlin, Hirshhorn Museum Washington D.C., Centre Pompidou Paris, Shedhalle Zürich, Museo de Reina Sofia Madrid, Mercosul Biennial (with Ykon). In 2013 Ulu Braun received the German Short Film Award, in 2014 the Berlin Art Prize. In 2017 he was awarded for best film in German competition at Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen and the arte Shortfilm Award (Hamburg). Braun works and lives in Berlin.