I can’t live if living is without you

The installation consisted in the impulse of the atmosphere idea for the festival’s partners and crew, in the design of festival’s awards, photo booths, drink covers, giant inflatable can, A1 posters, cinema screensavers, self made prints, flags and stickers inspired by Neo-Neo’s design and Ken Black’s story.

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Photos©: Miguel Bueno, BM’s Instagram, Cetusss

Conceived at the time of the Chinese Communist party’s victory, Kuan Ti Tan is born on 18 January 1950, popping out of a Shanghai rice paddy something in the manner of a champagne cork. At the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, he attempts to escape Mao by sea – a second try that opens the silk route, and Europe’s arms, for him. He’s 18 when his great fugue is interrupted when he falls for a ballet dancer in Finland and decides to register at the Helsinki Opera as Ken Titan (which sounds Finnish). His talent is very swiftly noticed but no sooner is he promoted to the status of star dancer than he disappears. He’s next tracked down in New York in 1972 as Ken Black. The story has it that he crossed the ocean with a broken heart. He misses a few opportunities on Broadway and is fascinated by the history of a fizzy drink that’s already a century old. He bounces back and turns up in Hollywood in 1976. Very quickly he picks up bit parts in advertising films. His social skills open the Universal studio doors and convince them to create a film, « The Wiz », that’s adapted from the musical comedy of the same name created at the Majestic. Ken Black makes friends with Joel Schumacher, who adapts the scenario, as well as with Diana Ross and Michael Jackson, who’re also part of the casting. At the end of the 70s, Ken Black becomes famous by inventing the « Busy busy », a disco dance in which hip movements contrast laterally with elbow jerks. He also creates a utopian brand of fizzy drink to fight against racial segregation. Nicknamed Lady Chatterly’s lover (a private David Bowie joke), he takes advantage of his notoriety to crash political circles, being very aware of social problems. At Christmas 1989, he falls secretly in love with Mariah Carey. Rumor has it that Mariah wrote the song « Without you » when he left for Europe. Again a broken-hearted ocean crossing. After some months in Paris, Ken Black settles in Geneva in 1994. He can’t resist getting involved in what happens here : how the squats are managed, the musical and nightlife crowd. If you’re lucky enough to meet him at a karaoke night, he apparently rocks something terrible. Ken Black celebrated his 66th birthday three days before the start of Black Movie’s 17th edition. He’s our guest of honor for the next ten days and offers to adventurous festival-goers a taste of his miracle drink.

Black Movie festival, Geneva (CH)
With the help of Fanny Devoussoux-Visser and her crew