Panda Moonwalk

PANDA MOONWALK or WHY MENG MENG WALKS BACKWARDS

(2018)

Video Installation, Dur. 8:00 min, HD colour, sound

Credits
Katja Anzelewsky, Stefan Aue, Ben Brix, Hr. Brix, Emma Cattell, Marlene Denningmann, Surya Gied, Paula Godinez, Emma Haugh, Valentin Hertweck, Sophie Hilbert, Anne Hölck, Suza Husse, annette hollywood, Jochen Jezussek, Philipp König, Renate Lorenz, Fiona McGovern, Daniel Belasco New, Jessica Páez, Irene Pätzug, Mieko Suzuki, Yuyen Lin-Woywod, Johanna Zinecke

Exhibition View: Swinger / Panda Moonwalk, Kerstin Honeit, 2018, Bärenzwinger Berlin

PANDA MOONWALK or WHY MENG MENG WALKS BACKWARDS

Panda Moonwalk or Why Meng Meng Walks Backwards premiered within the framework of an exhibition series at Baerenzwinger Berlin, held in a former public bear enclosure which now serves as a place for contemporary art investigating the intersections between humans and animals.

In Kerstin Honeit’s video work Panda Moonwalk or Why Meng Meng Walks Backwards, commissioned by the City of Berlin for this particular location, human and inhuman bodies actively and resistantly assert themselves in the context of social injustices.

Still: PANDA MOONWALK WHY MENG MENG WALKS BACKWARDS, Kerstin Honeit

Since 2017 the two Giant Panda Bears Meng Meng and Jiao Qing have been hired out by China to the Berlin Zoo for millions of Euros. Unfortunately for the Zoo this profit seeking attraction did not work out as planned – in fact it worked backwards. Meng Meng, the female Panda will only walk backwards – probably protesting against her imprisonment. Surprisingly the international press takes a different, sexist route and suggests that Meng Meng’s behaviour relates to the fact that she has not yet bred and is seeking attention. Kerstin Honeit’s video aligns Meng Meng’s protest with other performances of protesting bodies using movement in public space to address grievances.

Panda Moonwalk has been screened and exhibited at many festival and shows since November 2018 :
Video Art at Midnight, Berlin; Kasseler Dokfest; Stuttgarter Filmwinter; International Short Film Festival, Oberhausen; IFFF International Film Festival for Women, Cologne; CAA Art Museum, Hangzhou; Videorama – Werkleitz, Halle; Paderborn trifft Oberhausen; Film Plus Festival for Film Montage Art, Cologne; KFFK Short Film Festival, Cologne; Blonde Cobra #2 Festival for Queer and Experimental Film, Cologne; Kurzfilmtage, Regensburg; Freie Akademie der Künste, Hamburg.

Kerstin Honeit – PANDA MOONWALK or WHY MENG MENG WALKS BACKWARDS (2018) – Filmstill
Still: PANDA MOONWALK or WHY MENG MENG WALKS BACKWARDS, Kerstin Honeit

Panda Moonwalk or Why Meng Meng Walks Backwards was awarded by the Short Film Festival Cologne 2019 for the Jury Prize.

The Jurys’ statement

„What to do if the animal investment does not behave as it is expected to? The media spectacle about a panda lady in captivity is the starting point for a complex, playful reflection, because what is not supposed to be is not allowed. The public, and those responsible, invent explanations for the behaviour of the bear in the Berlin zoo, allowing their own prejudices to become visible. Sexism and racism are directed unchecked towards the bear.

The piece, between film and art in public space, combines elements of found footage, reportage and music videos with brilliant queer re-enactments of interviews with passers-by in front of the Berlin Zoo to a counter narrative. Meng Meng’s walking backwards becomes an act of rebellion.

The film makes various references: from Chinese panda diplomacy to animal husbandry in zoos, to the mechanisms of media spectacles. A playful dance group reenacts connections for the medialisation of prisons. In all of this, “Panda Moonwalk” remains a visually captivating, political and humorous experimental film.

We are very happy to award Kerstin Honeit’s „Panda Moonwalk or Why Meng Meng Walks Backwards“ the Jury Prize of the Cologne Short Film Festival. “

Miriam Gossing / Lina Sieckmann, Wiktoria Pelzer, Fabian Tietke