Called “an open and chaotic network of diverse but interconnecting ideas, people, projects, events and venues,” TURTLE is the brainchild of filmmaker Michael Shamberg, whom I first met and interviewed in Vienna some years ago. In the 40th anniversary collective spirit of May ’68 — decades away from today’s mean-spirited and pandering political environment (yes, you Hillary) — TURTLE is defined as a salon, a sort of utopian creative environment that celebrates the free-flow of ideas and intellectual exchange that some of us would like to think is not an outdated concept. This week, after stops in the UK, Paris, Dusseldorf and Switzerland, TURTLE comes to the IFC Center for screenings of Ellen Kuras’s “The Betrayal (Nerakhoon),” Grant Gee’s “Joy Division” music doc, and Chris Marker’s 1981 short “Junkopia,” with live musical accompaniment by Christina Courtin.
The TURTLE moniker comes from a real turtle sanctuary in Lebanon along the border of Israel, according to Shamberg’s website. “It is the result of being a protected area during the civil war. The almost extinct Mediterranean sea turtle was allowed to flourish. This is something good that came out of the war. This is poetry. I have gone through my own corporeal civil war and TURTLE is my sanctuary and celebration.”
Shamberg hopes that other TURTLES will pop up naturally across the land, “outside large cities, sharing items and info,'” he writes on his website. “TURTLE is a spirit. TURTLE should always be open and continue to change and build throughout its exhibition time, and beyond. It will embrace the last minute and unexpected. TURTLE should be an environment which is alive, inspiring and unpredictable…. The audience for TURTLE includes its participants – they are, in truth, the primary audience.”
For more info, see Shamberg’s TURTLE site: http://turtlesalon.com/