Esperia Palace > 1st floor > KINO
In this talk, Metahaven are arguing that we need to go beyond meme culture in order to understand today's complex political realities. They are arguing for a re-appreciation of the cinematic long take as a way to shed light on the texture of truth. Claude Lanzmann (1925-2018) believed that "art and morality are identical," a belief that he appears to have shared with Leo Tolstoy, who argued similarly in his seminal manifesto What is Art? (1897). Lanzmann's film Shoah, a nine-hour cinematic artwork about the Holocaust, shot on celluloid over a 11-year period in the 1970s and 1980s, embodies a method of inquiry that could be seen as pertinent to our present day. Indeed, Lanzmann's "arrogance, narcissism, and megalomania, as well as his intolerance and contempt for his critics were notorious, as was his passion for life," as Enzo Traverso wrote recently. Nevertheless, Shoah contains a deep cinematic literacy and a temporal dimension that seems antithetical to today's online reality, with its relentless focus on memes and other easily repeatable and imitable patterns. As Traverso asserts, "the historical wound of mass extermination ceases to appear as an abstract, ungraspable category and becomes a concrete trauma lived by real people in their bodies and their souls," and indeed Lanzmann claimed that Shoah possessed "the status of an original event."
The work of Metahaven consists of filmmaking, writing, design, and installations, and is united conceptually by interests in poetry, storytelling, digital superstructures, and propaganda. Films by Metahaven include The Sprawl (Propaganda about Propaganda) (2015), Information Skies (2016), Possessed (2018), with Rob Schroder), Hometown (2018) and Eurasia (Questions on Happiness) (2018). Publications include Digital Tarkovsky (2018), PSYOP (2018), Black Transparency (2015) and Uncorporate Identity (2010). Their work is screened, published, and exhibited worldwide.