LUMINOUS VOID: Twenty Years of Experimental Film Society

13 May – 25 June 2021

Project Arts Centre, 39 Essex St E, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, D02 RD45, Ireland

Tickets: Free Admission, ticketed
Show Time: Wednesday to Saturday 11am-5pm

Luminous Void: Twenty Years of Experimental Film Society is an overview of the twenty-year history of Experimental Film Society (EFS). Through an exhibition and event series it will explore the unique, defiant and influential trail that EFS has blazed through the landscape of contemporary Irish moving image. Hailed as “the most active, prolific and intrepid group of experimental filmmakers working in Ireland today” (aemi), EFS is a company dedicated to the production and distribution of personal, formally challenging experimental cinema. But it is also much more than that. It is an attitude, an aesthetic and a stubbornly independent way of operating in complete freedom at the margins of film culture and at the outer limits of cinematic creativity.

EFS cinema rejects mainstream conventions of filmmaking and instead adopts an exploratory, experiential approach that foregrounds mood, atmosphere, visual rhythms, and the sensory interplay of sound and image. Often uncanny and unsettling, EFS work is deeply engaged with film history while constantly investigating the visionary potential of every manner of moving image device. EFS conjures an alien, outsider vision of the world capable of both alienating and renewing perception. And its conception of ‘cinema’ is restlessly multidisciplinary, encompassing installation, performance and sound projects as well as theoretical writing.

EFS was founded in Tehran in 2000 as a collective by filmmaker Rouzbeh Rashidi who remains its director and guiding force. It moved to Ireland with him in 2004 and transitioned to being a production company in 2017, while remaining true to its radical core values and continuing to work with many artists long associated with it. Along the way, it has produced several dozen feature films and over five hundred shorts while consecutively forging underground film cultures in both Iran and Ireland that would have been unthinkable before it came along. Luminous Void will showcase the artists currently working under its banner: Rashidi, Atoosa Pour Hosseini, Maximilian Le Cain, Vicky Langan, Michael Higgins, Jann Clavadetscher, Chris O’Neill and Shelly Kamiel.

Luminous Void will feature an installation encapsulating the EFS aesthetic and its unworldly atmosphere using sound, sculpture and imagery. This will give form to the ‘luminous void’ at the heart of the EFS conception of cinema. In parallel with this, there will be an ongoing and constantly changing programme of short and feature length EFS films projected on loop.

A series of special events will accompany the exhibition. Three guest curators, Matt Packer, Pluck Projects and Nikola Gocić, will curate and present themed programmes of EFS films.  These programmes will be screened via an online platform during the exhibition. In late 2021, new performances by Atoosa Pour Hosseini and Vicky Langan/Maximilian Le Cain will be specially devised for Luminous Void. Pour Hosseini and Langan/Le Cain are EFS filmmakers whose work also encompasses a performance practice. There will also be two talk events, one a performative lecture by Le Cain and the other a panel discussion featuring all current EFS filmmakers.

Luminous Void: Twenty Years of Experimental Film Society also resulted in a book of that title that was launched in late 2020. Featuring contributions by noted critics and curators from across the globe, it examines the ideas and impulses that animate EFS as well as the practices of many of the filmmakers associated with it. It includes texts by Adrian Martin, Nadin Mai, Matt Packer, Pluck Projects, Sebastian Wiedemann, Sarah Hayden & Paul Hegarty, Azadeh Jafari, Vahid Mortazavi, Zulfikar Filandra and expert EFS scholar Nikola Gocić. These writings provide a guidebook to the imposingly vast ‘luminous void’ of Experimental Film Society cinema. The book will be available for purchase at Project Arts Centre during the exhibition or can be ordered at

The collaborative film “Luminous Void: Docudrama” was funded by the Arts Council of Ireland under the Open Call scheme.

The exhibition was funded by the Arts Council of Ireland Project Award (Visual Arts) and supported by the Dublin City Council.

The Monitor Loops

13 May – 25 June

Archaic Incidents

Entire Duration 16:15 mins

  • Loop One: Atoosa Pour Hosseini (2:34 mins, 2018)
  • Loop Two: Jann Clavadetscher (2:28 mins, 2018)
  • Loop Three: Maximilian Le Cain (2:05 mins, 2018)
  • Loop Four: Vicky Langan & Maxmilian Le Cain (2:57 mins, 2021)
  • Loop Five: Michael Higgins (2:40 mins, 2018)
  • Loop Six: Rouzbeh Rashidi (4:51 mins, 2020)


The Cinema Room

13 -19 May

Luminous Void: Docudrama by Rouzbeh Rashidi (71 mins, 2019)

20 – 26 May

Whale Skull by Maximilian Le Cain (83 mins, 2019)

27 May – 2 June

Atoosa Pour Hosseini Celluloid Works

Films (Total Duration 46 mins)
Antler (15 mins, 2018)
Kinetics (11 mins, 2018)
The Golden Mask (20 mins, 2020)

3 June – 8 June

Autumnal Sleeps by Michael Higgins (75 mins, 2019)

9 – 12 June

Inside by Vicky Langan and Maximilian Le Cain (69 mins, 2017)

15 – 18 June

Kino Clinic by Jann Clavadetscher (60 mins, 2019)

19 – 25 June

Shelly Kamiel and Chris O’Neill Programme

Films (Total Duration 62 mins)
Rinse: Repeat (26 mins, 2019)
Supernova Cash Out (10 mins, 2020)
St Francis Didn’t Run Numbers (4 mins, 2009)
Raquel x 10 (10 mins, 2019)
I Wake Up Screaming (12 mins, 2019)

Whale Skull (2019, 83 mins)

By Maximilian Le Cain

A celebration of 20 years of Experimental Film Society, Whale Skull sifts the fragments of an imploded cinematic landscape in the search for clues to move forward. Shifting back and forth through flashbacks of impending cataclysm and its eerie aftermath, this broiling collage mixes viscerally playful bargain basement sci-fi with a lyrical consideration of personal experimental cinema.

This film includes contributions from other EFS filmmakers as a celebration of this group’s collaborative spirit. Short Super-8 sequences by Atoosa Pour Hosseini, Vicky Langan, Michael Higgins and Jann Clavadetscher are included along with additional material by Rouzbeh Rashidi.

Whale Skull is available for streaming