Peripheral Vision: Repurposing the Archive

A workshop for archive-based audiovisual projects 


Workshop Μentor: Tamer El Said

Organized by the Syros International Film Festival (SIFF)

In collaboration with Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art, Cimatheque, and Syros Sound Meetings


With the support of Goethe-Institut Athen


September 2020–July 2021 

The Syros International Film Festival (SIFF) is happy to announce
Peripheral Vision: Repurposing the Archive, a workshop for filmmakers and artists working with sound and moving image, focusing on cross-media interpretive strategies for audio and/or visual archives. Through a series of up to twelve online sessions beginning in September 2020, participants will develop projects based on archival materials engaging with “Off Season,” the guiding theme for SIFF’s broader 2020–2021 program. The projects will ultimately be presented at the July 2021 edition of the Festival on Syros, following a week of in-person workshop sessions. 


What does it mean to work with archives situated within specific geographic, political and cultural contexts? How do archival materials reflect local histories, but also shape contemporary perceptions and conditions? What new interpretative modes can be generated from engaging with these archives via diverse disciplines and media? And how can the view from the peripheries change the way the center controls our collective imaginaries? Employing a working methodology prioritizing flexibility and improvisation, while also fostering new modes of interdisciplinarity, this workshop aims to bring the expertise and resources of an international network of organizations – located in Berlin, Cairo and Syros – to bear on these questions within a creative framework.  


Up to eight individuals/creative teams will be selected to take part in the workshop and collaborate towards the production of audiovisual found-footage projects on the theme of “Off Season.” The theme was initially conceived as an exploration of local and international aspects of tourism, its effects on societies, on labor, and on the environment, as well as its inseparable relationship with the moving image, which has led to the propagation of touristic images; yet the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak has imbued the phrase with additional connotations, unpacking different layers of temporality – from the moment of crisis and the necessity to live in the present to the sustained suspension of human activity and the inability to plan for an unpredictable future. In this light, the archive prompts us to resort to the fragile quality of its artefacts – in order to better understand the present moment and actively create images of our future. 


Archival materials used in the participants’ projects will be sourced from the Cimatheque, an alternative film center in Cairo committed to preserving regional audio-visual work, as well as local archives on Syros and moving image repositories in Greece. While projects will not be limited to regional considerations, the scope of participating archives’ material mainly covers Egypt, Greece, and the broader Mediterranean region. Selected participants are welcome to provide additional materials sourced through their own channels. 


The workshop’s initial phase, beginning in the fall of 2020, includes three introductory sessions each led by the SIFF programming team, Stefanie Schulte Strathaus (co-director of Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art, Berlin), and Danae Stefanou and Giannis Kotsonis (organizers of the Syros Sound Meetings, Syros) which focus on public exhibition strategies for archive-based audio-visual work, and on the maintenance, curation and use of film and sound archives. Subsequent sessions, moderated by Tamer El Said, will serve to develop collaborative projects and incorporate additional activities proposed by the workshop cohort. The frequency and final number of these subsequent sessions – up to nine in total – will be determined by El Said in collaboration with the cohort. 


During the ninth edition of SIFF in July 2021, the workshop’s final phase will include in-person workshop sessions, screenings curated by Arsenal, Cimatheque and SIFF, and a showcase of the resulting audiovisual projects in a public presentation and discussion involving all selected participants and partner organizations. 


The workshop will be held in English. 

It is produced in partnership with the Goethe-Institut Athen.  




Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art

Located in Berlin, Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art contains the Living Archive, a highly innovative and interactive repository for moving image works from all over the world. The Archive is committed to inviting artists, curators, and researchers to explore their collection for a wide array of purposes.



Cimatheque – Alternative Film Centre believes in the diversity of cinema as an art form. Located in Downtown Cairo, it hopes to create a space in which audiences, film practitioners, critics, and other specialists can exchange ideas and experiences, and partake in an open discourse regarding film. Cimatheque’s services and programmes include film screenings, specialized workshops, a library, a moving image archive, and a lab for super 8mm and 16mm analog film.   


Syros International Film Festival 

Founded in 2013, SIFF embeds a wide range of film screenings, performances, workshops, and parallel activities in traditional and repurposed sites across the Cycladic island of Syros. This site specific experience for viewing, discussing and creating innovative moving image work highlights the island’s unique natural and built heritage, while bringing the local and international into conversation.


Syros Sound Meetings

Launched in the summer of 2012, Syros Sound Meetings is an initiative for intensive site-specific workshops and exploratory group meetings, held at the Syros Institute in Ano Syros, Cyclades, Greece. Sound Meetings comprise workshops and artist residencies revolving around three broad themes and the intersections between them: improvisation, composition and sound design, and field recordings. 


Tamer El Said’s, the workshop mentor, short bio:

Tamer El Said (1972) is an Egyptian filmmaker. He wrote, produced and directed numerous films including Take Me (2004), an award winning documentary about five friends who unwittingly became political prisoners in Morocco, and the short film On a Monday (2005) on an old married couple who rediscover their relationship. His first fiction feature In the Last Days of the City was shot in Cairo, Berlin, Baghdad and Beirut and premiered in 2016 at the Berlin International Film Festival. He is co-founder of several independent initiatives in Cairo, including Cimatheque Alternative Film Centre, Mosireen, and Zero Production.




Participation in the workshop is free of charge. Participants will be provided with round-trip Piraeus-Syros ferry tickets and accommodation on the island of Syros during the workshop’s week-long second phase; any additional travel costs will be borne by participants themselves. Workshop organizers will not provide editing or other technical support; therefore, a certain level of technical fluency is assumed. 


To apply, please consult the open call above and fill out the following form at, including: 


  1. A statement of interest, including any previous experience with archives or collections  (500 word maximum, EN language) 
  2. 1-2 work samples (hosted at an external link) 
  3. CV


Submission deadline: August 31, 2020. 

Selected applicants will be notified by September 15, 2020.

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