A brave new, stable world: while we, free from work, return to nature, machines take care of everything else. Richard Brautigan knew that things could turn out differently when he wrote the poem that bears the title in 1967.
Today, algorithms distort the view of our world and promote the emergence of new nationalisms. Throughout our lives, computers predict our decisions – for the benefit of banks, employers, the private sector and the state. Machines seem to serve less to improve conditions than to make power and capital invisible.
The films in this program portrait those who evade control in Dark Net or translate their game world fantasies into reality. They reflect on increasingly artificial structures and their desire to penetrate the human condition. They show how people and their revolts become controllable on the basis of data. But they also outline possible courses of action against this control!
Serve(r) Room (2019) | AB/CD/CD | FR | 03:00 min
Dystopia is no longer tomorrow. It is here, now and today. Entropy is real and will never stop.
Deployments (2018) | Stéphanie Lagarde | NL | 16:00 min
Déploiements deals with the practice of control, both physically and symbolically. The video draws a parallel between two types of simulation: a team of fighter pilots mentally preparing for an air show, and a piece of software that simulates the behavior of a crowd of protesters. Power is presented as a game of being seen and being invisible.
The Migrating Image (2018) | Stefan Kruse Jørgensen | DK | 29:00 min
By following a fictional group of refugees across Europe, the film questions the production of images surrounding real-life tragedies and deaths. Each segment of the film takes its cue from the destination of the refugees, from FRONTEX depicting the refugees on the Mediterranean Sea, to a photojournalistic reportage from a warehouse somewhere in Belgrade. Where do all these images about refugees come from? How do they reshape the geography of Europe?
Operation Jane Walk (2018) | Robin Klengel & Leonhard Müllner | AT | 16:00 min
The digital battle zone of a shooter game is transformed into a peaceful city tour. The performative lecture focuses on the history of architecture, urbanism, and the interventions of the game developers into simulated New York.
Buffer Zone Blues (2018) | Franz Milec | CZ | 09:00 min
At the brink of the Cold War, as part of the so-called strategy of mutually assured destruction, the US produced a list of over 2,000 nuclear targets in the Eastern Bloc, and the information was declassified only a couple of years ago. The list includes military bases and airports but also targets that would have had an impact on millions of civilians.
Poor Magic (2017) | Jon Rafman | CA | 07:00 min
Jon Rafman’s “Poor Magic” (2017) is a vision of a post-human dystopia featuring animated 3D bodies continuously tortured in abstract digital space. While a poetic lament, the film addresses the fragmented consciousness of a post-physical existence, presenting a terrifying image of a future where all humanity is uploaded to a virtual purgatory and endlessly abused. Or perhaps it is also a brutal representation of the present moment and the effect that technology has on our flesh and psyche.
Curated by Johannes Duncker & Christine Bernau
Christine Bernau is a curator and cultural manager based in Cologne. As a former festival director and member of various juries (Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, Filmstiftung NRW) she has seen loads of short films. Recently she co-produced a feminist theatre play.
Johannes Duncker is a filmmaker and the festival director of KFFK/Kurzfilmfestival Köln.
Together Christine and Johannes curate the New Aesthetic section at KFFK since 2013.