Some two years ago, Thomas Kaestle interviewed Johannes Grenzfurthner, Austrian all-purpose nerd, and founder of monochrom about his then brand-new movie Traceroute. In this jagged autobio road movie the filmmaker journeys through his past as a nerd, artist, activist, and discourse generator. He undertakes a funny, associative pilgrimage through the USA, visiting the sacred sites of his decades-long quest for knowledge to pay homage to the gods of tech- and pop-culture.
Grenzfurthner's new movie, Glossary of Broken Dreams, is a sequel as much as a counter-thesis. Produced with a micro-budget, this monumental mosaic is taking the audience on a ride through an encyclopedia of overused, misconceived, and corrupted concepts and ideas. The fact that it concerns the favorite vocabulary of current discourses, the golden calves of contemporary controversy, makes for a considerably explosive force. With relish, Grenzfurthner is leading them to the slaughter to rummage through their bowels and read in them an uncertain future.
So, Thomas Kaestle sat down with Grenzfurthner again, this time to talk about the deconstruction of concepts and discourses, alleged security within false contexts, societal and political change, the
fragmentation of ideological camps, cherished ideas, letting go, Daleks, and Cthulhu.
Babylonian Context Confusion
The movie opens with an Iain M. Banks quote:
"The trouble with writing fiction is that it has to make sense, whereas real life doesn't." Now, a glossary usually holds
out the prospect of something along the lines of meaningfulness
through contextualization. Is it different with your movie? Are you
trying to reestablish a meaning for concepts that have become
commonplace – or, rather, to question their established
meaning? Can you fill them with new meaning? Or are they left behind
as empty phrases? In other words, are you coquetting by using this
quote or rather by promising a glossary?
am coquetting as fuck and I will be first to admit that. In general,
broken dreams don't get listed in keywords and cataloged; quite the
contrary, in fact. In movies and in literature, dreams are always
presented as something romantic and poetic. And I wanted to play with
that in the title. Glossary of Broken Dreams
an inconvenient, entertaining movie, I would say. It was born out of
the frustration that debate culture (not only) on digital platforms
has become radically fragmented and fractalized, making it hard to
call it discourse. It's a Tower of Babel-like context confusion that
pleases me as a nerd, but as a political being who wants society to
progress, it doesn't please me at all.
Everybody spouts bombastic words. Resistance! Privacy! Activism! Market! The
Left! And yet, no-one really knows what they mean – or what can
be achieved with these argument killers. My, (perhaps
addlebrained) ambition here is to educate. I'm trying to
breathe new life into these concepts, but for some of them it might
be too late, rigor mortis has already set in and we should just let
them go. That opening Iain Banks quote provides a framework. It's
the first hint that we are neither dealing with a classic documentary
nor with a feature film, but with something different altogether.
this way, Banks came in handy. I really cherish him more than most
authors, because with his utopian model society, the Culture,
he manages to pointedly highlight the flaws of a liberal social
system. For this accomplishment alone, he deserves to be honored with
the opening sentence. I follow suit and soon define myself as
narrator and moderator, denouncing myself as a lumpennerd,
and then I go about explaining the political terms and concepts of
the early 21st century that, to me, seem to be the most important. My
aim was to assess these concepts and, where necessary, to sacrifice
them. Death to the golden calves! Only the stupidest calves choose to
Ruins with Potential
In your last movie, Traceroute, you admit to your inner urge to use
Pachelbel's Canon in D major for all your movies. Here, it appears in
some kind of hip hop-version. Is it your anchor in popular culture, a
placeholder for all the other references, contexts, and clichés
that have left their imprint during your socialization?
Yes, like I say in the Traceroute intro, the piece has been very important for me since the early 1980s, when
I first heard it on Carl Sagan's TV-show Cosmos.
In the course of my life, there were some moments of insight, mostly
political, calling everything into question, and this TV-show is
definitely one of them. It was my first contact with empiricism, with
science, and it made me embrace amazement, the ability to wonder, but
also the ability to not care if you don't understand everything.
Because that's part of what it means to be human.
I also grew up in a time when there wasn't much aside from popular
culture. Even people like Marcel
Reich-Ranicki or other prophets of the educated bourgeoisie were presented to me
through TV-channels and in TV-cockfights. When would I ever go to the
theater, or a museum, or a real concert? There was no authenticity.
The world was made of color points on a Grundig
TV set. "World" was merely the perception of copies of
copies of copies, and even the original was already an
interpretation. This situation is problematic, especially with regard
to growing up politically. I was 16 when the USSR was dissolved. As a
kid, I was afraid of the Eastern Block and cultural products such as Rocky
IV or Red Dawn only fuelled my fear.
And, all of a sudden, it was gone. As it were, my coming-of-age story
began with the end
of history. What was my self-conception as a young anti-fascist in 1991? What was
there worth fighting for? One of these fights was, without a doubt,
the battle for sovereignty over the discourse and the hegemony on the
internet. Who would win? The libertarians? Or the anarchist? Or have
the two always been in the same camp? Now, 25 years and dozens of
digital revolutions later, we are faced with the fact that
communication possibilities are in ruins. I address this problem in
my movie because these ruins have tremendous potential.
Palimpsest from a Time Loop
In relation to your other works – no matter what kind – is
this movie rather a sequel, a footnote, an index, a context, a
meta-level, a paraphrase? Or really just a glossary?
Glossary of Broken Dreams can be regarded as a sequel to Traceroute.
After all, as the narrator, I am a connecting element between both movies. With Traceroute, my focus was to dive into my own story and
to find a common ground with other people, nerds in this case.
Traceroute was a road movie about a trip to interesting places and
people, and their resistance. Glossary of Broken Dreams is
a voyage into the depths of ideas and concepts. My attempt at
mediation has several chapters resembling short movies that also vary
widely esthetically. Sometimes I wonder if the project was doomed to
failure from the start. But like an astronaut caught in something
like a Star
Trek time loop, I did it anyway.
To answer your question, though, what is it? Context, footnote,
meta-level? In some way, all of that. But I am missing one
characterization here: palimpsest.
How did you select these concepts? Which did you omit? Or are they
building on each other, like in a narrative? Do you think of the
movie as a glossary of contemporary discourses, specific
communication in social networks, modern Western European societies,
worldwide nerddom, or a glossary by Johannes Grenzfurthner?
Well, for me, the movie is a major personal accomplishment because I took
on all the central functions of production, but it's more than
a personal glossary. In fact, I compiled the theoretical background
for the movie and many of the texts in tandem with Ishan
Raval. I can say that I needed an intellectual sparring partner, and Ishan
was the right man for the job. Just like me, he is a regular
lumpennerd. On top of that, it was inspirational that, even though
Ishan went to university in what he likes to call "the
Dumbfuckistan of America" (aka North Carolina), he's from
India. So, we had a non-Western perspective on the team, yet we found
our shooting locations in Vienna and the boondocks surrounding it.
Many of the terms were not up for debate. It was clear that we would start
with capitalism and the market, then talk about freedom and
resistance, move on to activism and the media, and so on. We had a
certain narrative arc in mind, starting out with the basics and
continuously moving to the more complex and controversial. For
example, our analysis and dissection of identity politics is quite
something, perhaps requiring previous knowledge.
With the wonderful help of Chris S. Sims, our discourse slasher, Ishan and I prepared the theoretical texts.
Chris' support was crucial because as an editor with Dungeons
& Dragons, he really has an eye for jettisoning. On the basis of these texts, I
went on to develop the characters and the plot of the movie and
started filming with the actors. At the same time, I was cutting
scenes that were finished and started to put the movie timeline
together. Everything was happening simultaneously. Compiling,
writing, filming, cutting. And sometimes not even in this order. It
felt like creating a jigsaw puzzle and trying to solve it at the same
time. But in a short time – the production took about 5 months
– it was doable without losing track completely. Somehow, I was
able to hold it all in my head, juggle it, and pull it together.
Relay Race with Oneself
How many of your friends are going to pat your shoulder and say, "Damn
right, man! That's what I've been thinking!"? In
the movie, you state that it is "a project with no measurable
Since we didn't receive any funding to speak of, mainly because we
didn't apply for it, there was none of the usual
film-funding-justification waste. We just went at it. Usually, a
movie goes through several bureaucratic jury feedback loops, which is
tedious and stultifying, and rubs away the edges of a project. In my
case, I only had a 10k EUR budget for a feature film, but on the
upside, I didn't have to justify myself to sponsors. Your
average producer or selection committee would never have
let a movie like this one pass, above all because, as they would ask,
who would want to see this? But I didn't care much one way or
the other. I wanted to make a movie that I think is necessary. This
film is the result.
What kind of reactions are you expecting from your audience?
I think of every person who doesn't leave the theatre within 30
minutes as a win. We live in times of radical attention economy,
The first reviews have already come in, and they are positive, even if
the reviewers seem overwhelmed. I present a huge chunk of theory,
confronting the audience with the central political topics of the
early 21st century. Immediate reactions are most likely to be about
the vehemence rather than about the content. I tried to keep the tone
entertaining and witty, but the content is not exactly an invitation
for congratulations. What I'm saying about privacy and freedom
of speech isn't something a lot of people in our bubble want to
hear. My guess is that the traditional Left will be happy with the
first half of the movie, but then they have to take a beating. At the
end of the day, it's obvious to Ishan and me that the Left
represents the ultimate broken dream. We're straightforward
"The human is a narrative being. We construct emotional machines,
so-called 'stories', to communicate, to share the world in which we
live and make it collectively experienceable. And we are pretty good
at doing that. Since the primordial soup at some point mendelized
into primate brains, we have either been fleeing from big cats or
telling others about our escapes from the clutches of big cats."
This is a quote
from our last interview together. And it is also one of the first sentences of the new movie. A
personal module that is already older and that you like to quote? Or
maybe even someone else's quote without a reference? A
As is often the case, sometimes reflecting on a project only begins when
talking about the project in hindsight. During our interview about Traceroute I
realized some significant things that should have been part of Traceroute,
but alas, they occurred to me only during the interview. So I
thought, why not use this dissonance as the opening statement of Glossary
of Broken Dreams? In a sense, I handed the baton to myself and ran.
On the Shoulders of Agglutinated Giants
What is your method with regard to quotes – your own as well as
others' – for your movie? Do you have a big, colorful kit
full of maxims, perceptions, theories, innuendos, wacky stuff, and
weird absurdities somewhere in the back of your head?
I have a good memory, but I still write everything down. I am the
collecting kind. I make long to-do-lists with quotes, notions, and
crude ideas, Sometimes it takes years before I can cross some of them
off the list. Some of them never see realization, but movies are a
good context to use this stuff because the meaning can have so many
layers. For example, I have a thing for making up bizarre and
entirely stupid character names, like DeForest Schbeibi (first name
from Star Trek actor Kelley,
last name is the Austrian diminutive of puke). That's
completely beside the point, but I come up with crap like this a dime
a dozen. In Glossary of Broken Dreams, I was able to cross a lot off my list.
Visually it is obvious how you apply what you find as set modules to
illustrate your ideas. And when I think of the monochrom office, your HQ at the MuseumsQuartier in
Vienna, even just a peek through the windows reveals that a
considerable amount of the material is used to cover these walls like
a collage. According to you, what is original material? When does
something become your own idea, theory, worldview? Where and when are
you an author?
I think that distinguishing between originals and copies is a
non-issue. I suppose I shouldn't let a lawyer hear me say this,
but for me, it's obvious we're all standing on the
shoulders of agglutinated giants. Humans are copying machines,
genetically and culturally. If a cell stops copying, it's a
dead cell. If culture can't copy freely, it withers away. A
good portion of my creative work takes place in the no-human's
land between digitality and reality. To me, the internet isn't
just another medium, it's a habitat in which I operate. And
when real space meets web space, that's when the magic happens.
Now, to return to your question about authorship, this issue is about
property, and nobody can avoid these questions in our world, in the
positive and in the negative sense. I made a low-cost movie, but one
of the biggest splurges was buying the music rights for the
end-credits song by Inti-Illimani. That's quite bitter. Other
songs I wasn't able to pay for, and some the phenomenal Michael
Abstract Message) composed especially for the movie, for example. I owe him a lot of
favors. And Christoph Burstup Weiss
is supposed to get 1 bitcoin for his 8bit-song. When I'll be able
to afford that is anybody's guess.
Hello Again, Human Chain
the movie, the highly associative image material often appears at a
wild speed. Did you stack/cut it so fast in order to create (or at
least suggest) a dynamic, to not exceed the permissible length for
pictorial citations – or to show, and ideally also initiate, a
visual stream of consciousness? Does the speed correspond to the
speed of your thoughts when brainstorming? Or is it just the speed at
which people usually browse the internet?
permissible length exists for pictorial citations (in Austria). If an image is
visible for just one frame, that constitutes a copyright
infringement. I am pretty sure that all the material I use is legally
ok. I dutifully paid stock-footage fees and the archive material
(i.e. old ads and so on) are from the Prelinger
and marked as public domain there. So the decision was a question of
style and aesthetics. I guess that viewers are encouraged to watch my
movie several times, and if people want to do so, that's the
best possible outcome. I like a good challenge when it comes to
watching movies. I can't stand it when everything is explained
and alluded to three times to make sure that everybody got that THE
BUTLER DID IT! Really demanding movies, like Primer,
aren't fully graspable when seeing them for the first time.
a low- or even a no-budget essay, the movie depends on you
collaborating with friends and colleagues who were willing to dive
into the cosmos of your ideas for a couple of minutes. I remember
that during one of my visits to Vienna, you suggested some citations
for me to pick one and then say it in front of a camera right away,
just casually leaning against a tree in front of the MuseumsQuartier.
In hindsight, I am somehow pleased with the fact that it got cut from
felt bad about having to kill your scene, particularly because you
were going to play Richard
quoting one of my favorite
But you are correct, this movie comes to life through its many
different cinematic styles that allow for all these wonderful cameo
appearances. It has people in it like Stefanie
who is currently hitting it big in the German-speaking literary scene
with her quirky texts, and Amber
who is known to most people as one of the main characters in Buffy
the Vampire Slayer.
Amber and I have known each other for years, so I sent her an e-mail
asking if she might have time to record one or two pages for me with
my collaborators Sophia
Cacciola and Michael J. Epstein
at their home studio in LA. That really happened, within a week
actually. I'm very proud of the result.
With Robert Stachel,
who is a member of maschek,
a media comedy group world-famous in Austria, the approach was
similar. I've known Robert forever, and we work with each other
from time to time, so we met at Daniel Hasibar's sound
and we recorded the text for the section on resistance. Altogether,
the movie is a weird mixture of people. Schlien
a radio presenter with the Bavarian public broadcasting company, is
in it, as well as Max
Grodėnchik, one of the fabulous Ferengi in Star Trek: Deep Space 9. And the Austrian actress Katharina
Stemberger. The six degrees of separation are having a Japanese square
Address Database as Art Project
How much impact did the people that were available and the unfolding
opportunities to work with them have on the contents? Could anybody
have pitched in? Or are the people around you, depending on the
situation, part of your psychogram – and therefore part of the
contents and upheavals of your material?
No, my approach to casting was targeted. It's not as if just
anybody could have done this. And some of the characters that I wrote
I discarded again when the performers I wanted weren't
available. No scruples! But I think that you are spot on about my
psychogram. I'm a very gregarious person, and my entourage
influences my work. I like to network, and my ultimate art project
might well be my address database. But I think my bustling nature is
also what lets me enjoy making movies so much. It is a team effort in
every department and, unlike with other art forms, you can still flip
each frame a hundred times.
Did you need people who are not Johannes Grenzfurthner simply so you
wouldn't have to say everything yourself? Or do your guests
fulfill other functions in the movie, too?
Well, it was lonely enough, directing, cutting, and managing the production
on my own – and Ishan and I were compiling the text via
Transatlantic Google Doc. For weeks on end, all I saw were pixels
changing on my screen. I was quite happy to share the madness with
people in real life. To ride through the boondocks of my youth on a
terribly hot summer's day with Duscher
& Gratzer to record the guitar songs, and then have some beers when the work is
done. There's something to be said for that!
And yet, for most people, it must have been like working on a secret
weapon, where nobody knows what anybody else is doing at the moment.
I mean, no-one appreciated the dimension of this project. In the end,
some people were surprised that it didn't turn out to be a
short film. The only one who accompanied me from start to finish in
real life was Daniel Hasibar, my sound god, who was there at the
studio to make recordings and at all the on-site shootings. He's
the only one who got away with criticizing me in the process. As the
sound designer, at a certain point, he got an overview of the entire
In the opening, you postulate theories such as: "a human is a
political being", "you can't avoid being
political", "we project a certain story onto the world”,
or "we communicate our views by creating narrative or
conceptual shortcuts". At the same time, you announce the
reevaluation and maybe even slaughtering of golden calves. And
indeed, in the end, many of the concepts, interrelations, and
meanings, at least according to your reasoning, have been questioned,
refuted, debunked, stultified, or vaporized. What then is left of
politics if the established concepts cease to function?
This problem is fundamental to critique. But I'm not cynical. Quite
the contrary. I just thought it was time for something like a
political spring cleaning of concepts. Because picking up the broom
and taking a chance to get rid of stuff is the only way to prevent us
all from becoming social liberal hoarders. One of my examples is the
concept of privacy that, at the moment, is everyone coddles like a
puppy. Let me say this, as a good old Neo-leftist, I'm having
problems with the conservative and deeply bourgeois can of worms that
the privacy debate entails. I think it's time to change our
thought patterns here. Instead of trying to find ways to defend our
privacy come hell or high water, we should ask ourselves why privacy
is such a major concern for us? Is what we're trying to achieve
here just reformist symptom-control rather than a solution to the
In your opinion, what are possible courses of action for future-oriented
Western societies? In the movie, you are taking the easy way out by
(spoiler alert!) letting yourself be eaten by Cthulhu.
That being said, after all the criticism of what is already in place,
what is the story you project? Do you have a suggestion for better or
more efficient concepts for life after the breakdown of familiar
I wouldn't have made this movie if I didn't believe that we
can do better. Let me be clear about one thing, as stated in the
first part of the movie, we're all part of the problem. Har har
har! But we're not being defeatist. I am also offering new
perspectives here and there. For example, I think that establishing
new structures and digital commons will be of essential importance.
Just like the introduction of social infrastructure for workers was
important at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th
century, in the 21st century, it will be very important to win back
and occupy virtual space. The web is the major junction of capitalist
production, we need to start there.
Enemy of the State
Is capitalism the central concept in the movie, the meta-entry in the
glossary? It seems to serve as a key reference for most of it.
Together with the reference-term 'freedom',
which is introduced as the selling proposition of capitalism, they
appear to be predefined parts of a system that seems almost
impossible to escape. With your parody of an only seemingly conscious
and enlightened bourgeoisie, you point out that, in capitalism,
basically everyone is mired in a commodity fetish. Do you see
yourself as trapped in these interrelations?
Of course. No corner on this planet (and beyond) can be considered free
from state and capital. As a person, no way exists for me to be free
from them. Especially as a citizen. I mean, I do own a passport, I am
a wage-slave just like anybody else, and my financial buffer is tiny.
The means of production that I own are negligible (my ThinkPad). If
we realize that we are part of the problem, it will open up new
possibilities, I guess. Lots of people really think that listening to
Norwegian Death Metal alone makes them critics of the system. Of
course not. Every one of us is hanging on to some strange notion or
belief of how we could make the world a better place. It's all
about donating to Greenpeace for some people, for others it's a
Doesn't change the fact that most people won't pass the banana-test,
though. Because when you start talking about post-capitalist
societies, they'll ask where their bananas will come from. Or
who's going to collect the trash? If you ask questions like
that, you haven't thought far enough.
Communism appears only briefly, as an ideal that's not suitable for state
Or, in more concrete terms, every state is the enemy.
It's via a detour to socialism that you reach a social utopia promoting
the elimination of competition. Without competition, you suggest, the
world could function in global fairness, people could be more
productive and happier. You don't name any sources. Are there
sociological theories that you refer to here? How realistic is the
elimination of competition in your view? Apparently, you're not
counting on it because your movie doesn't end there…
Oh, the system of so-called communist states is in there and, of course,
it gets slapped, because IT ISN'T COMMUNISM! But social
democracy doesn't get off lightly, either. The episode on
competition you refer to is an allegory for me to analyze
resource-wasting competition-based systems (capitalism, evolution),
establish their pros and cons, and compare them to collaborative
systems. But you should think of that as a template of thinking
rather than as an encouragement to boycott Settlers
As you noticed, the movie doesn't end there. It was important
to Ishan and me to slag off some of the pillars of bourgeois ideology
(market, freedom, competition) at the beginning of the movie before
really kicking it off.
It hasn't changed. We still have to reflect the totalitarian
social conditions and the need for change in theoretical terms. If we
understand theory in this way, as a form of practice, it means
theoretical education unveils the social conditions and a new
perspective triggers the means to change things.
Johannes Kepler and Punk
The picture you let the Viennese coffee house waiter-glove puppet paint
of possible actions for art, resistance, and activism is bleak at
first. Apparently, we even enjoy our own surveillance and being
controlled. And the boundaries we can overstep these days to be
provocative are no longer macrosocial, so there is hardly any
relevant attention to be gained here. Today's society is happy
with mere events, somebody says in the movie – and then you, as Johannes
Kepler, claim that punk is dead. Why Kepler?
Kepler makes for a nice absurd turn. In the movie, I keep quoting people,
and Kepler marks the break that, of course, all of this can't
be true. I am rooted in a tradition of reflexive
and performative documentaries because I question the conditions of objective documentary work. My movie is
an essay. I randomly submit it to film festivals as a documentary and
to others as a feature film. How vain these categories are! Sigh!
The analysis of the culture of resistance is presented in the movie. I
really mean that. Artistic intervention on the level of Action Art,
as the Wiener
Aktionisten did in the 1960s, is no longer possible. That ship has sailed. Twenty
years ago, the producers of Jackass instigated significantly more
effective provocations on MTV and made millions. Every kind of
counterculture eventually turns into a marketable commodity. The
question is, how do we strategically deal with that? Stay vigilant
and keep reflecting your own context!
In what context would you locate your movie if not in resistance,
activism, art, or punk? Is it just another capitalist product whose
consumption contributes to the preservation of the regime? Or maybe
has no ramifications whatsoever?
Being a romantic, I don't want to hear that, but if I'm honest,
that's probably the case. Each cultural product is ultimately
embedded in a network of social violence. Maybe the grand gesture is
the only approach we have left, but this way of making a piece is
important. This point should be discussed more. Particularly in the
realm of creative work, people are given carte blanche to be an
asshole. I never understood why that should be the case, and I have
always actively combatted it. If I've been an asshole, I've
tried to listen to criticism and to better myself. The most terrible
lie about working creatively is that you can only deliver your
maximum performance if you suffer and if other people suffer. What a
pile of inhumane rubbish.
Purchasable Liberal Values
In my view, to draw on Radical
Constructivism, for which emigrated Austrians paved the way, as a key witness for all
news being fake. News is always made for a certain target audience
with a certain objective, an exploitation of the philosophy for a
blanket disillusionment. If, as they say, no objective truth
existed, but only individual constructions of perception, it would
relativize the concept of fake. And, morally speaking, every
individual would then be even more responsible for the truths they
My main objective is to distance myself from the fairy tale of an
enlightened public and the utopia of objective news. That might sound
disenchanting now, but for me, it's also about finally stopping
to believe that journalist gatekeepers will save us from anything.
They won't. If that's what you believe, you already have
one foot in a bourgeois promise of liberation. To me, it's only
a very small step from fact-based journalism to clickbait. This
relationship was shown quite clearly in recent years, even within
high-quality media. Growing economic pressure makes them do whatever
is necessary. But to me, my (admittedly polemic) statement is not an
invitation to join the swinger club of post-modern arbitrariness,
much rather a warning not to rest too much on Western liberal values.
They come with a price tag. Reality is not Habermas'
wanking material of egalitarian communication.
To me, ideologically motivated misinformation can hardly be equated to
responsibly contextualized content. Do you intentionally utilize
polemic shortening for your work? To what purpose?
In a world where 4chan is
probably more influential than the New York Times, valences have
clearly shifted. I discuss this shift in the episode on politics. In
a world of micro-societies, it has become difficult to refer to
something like citizens or subjects. What used to characterize a
political person in the past has now turned into a fight against
absolute fragmentation. I ask myself, though, if this change can be
stopped by demanding civic values alone. Open society isn't the
superglue we used to think it was.
Dalek Before the Storm
In the movie, politics has to see a point-and-click therapist
eventually, because it suffers an identity crisis and is no longer
able to speak with a unified vox populi. A universal voice remains a past ideal in times of globalized
audience subgroups. A Dalek
is driving through this scene; in the TV show Doctor Who,
the Daleks are a hostile alien race with a collective consciousness
and a strong desire for expansion. A dystopian reference to the fact
that dictatorial and absolutist systems will have an easy going in a
situation like this? On top of that, you present democracy rather as
opium for the people and social democracy as a corrupted, hardly
helpful approach. And finally, you refer to the Left as “the
ultimate broken dream” and call the power of the working class
in a digital world pure nostalgia.
Yes, that's exactly why the hoover-Dalek interrupts the
therapy-session. For now, it's still dutifully doing its job
and we can easily click it away, but what about the next day?
Totalitarian ideologies have an easy going. It's only a
question of time until. in the spiral of tolerance, there will yet
again be enough tolerance for the madness of ultimate contempt for
human beings. Liberal democracy is the face of capital as long as
it's not afraid. Fascism is the face of capital when it is
afraid. When times are good, the property-owning bourgeoisie tends to
advocate the ideology of liberal democracy. But when the accumulation
of capital is at stake due to the crises of capitalism, they turn to
fascism in order to protect the capitalist operating modes. I can't
believe in democracy's promise of salvation. Do you want total
My movie is an attempt to rethink old ideas (and therefore, of course,
ideologies). I don't think of that as being pessimistic. To the
contrary, it means actively approaching the situation. In
2005, as a part of monochrom, I had this idea to offer
people the possibility of being buried alive in a coffin,
because I wanted to learn how to handle my own claustrophobia. And
what could be better than burying other people in order to overcome
your own trauma? Well, it took about, say 275 burials! Ha!
Back to the Dalek. Where are the Tardis and the Doctor? Even though he,
too, can't offer a long-term solution for a perfect world, he
has mastered survival in a fragmented universe. And he stands for
hope on a small, manageable scale. Or are things not that bad in your
world, and the Glossary of Broken Dreams will make good bookends for your mother's shelf?
We can always find refuge in the safe spaces of counterculture, like the
disillusioned hippies did in the 1970s. It's very common now in
of identity politics. But this won't achieve anything. Take the
ongoing propaganda war on the internet. Right-wing, authoritarian
memes are easy to make and easy to distribute. It doesn't get
any more basic than BUILD A WALL or SYRIANS OUT. Leftist memes have a
much harder time. Leftist memes are twenty-five pages long and come
with footnotes. That stuff isn't sexy, but does it have to be? Glossary
of Broken Dreams will fit in nicely with What's
that Bird? and Healthy Pets Naturally on my parent's bookcase.
Where can we see your film?
It's being shown at a couple of film festivals, universities, and hacker
cons (for example HOPE in NYC), and will be available on Vimeo-on-Demand later this year.
Please check our project page for details.
I have to add that the film also hit the torrent sites a couple of days
ago. Someone released the genie from the bottle. There were hundreds
of seeders. What a frickin' force of nature.
I have seen folks from Afghanistan and Bolivia quote my film on Twitter. That makes me
happy. But the torrent forum threads are the best. Trolls
discussing my movie! Car crash deluxe.And there's a self-proclaimed liberal user on
IMDb who attacks me for adding a trigger warning at the beginning of
the film. He claims it's people like me who make liberals look
bad, and why liberals lose elections. Well. a) I'm not a
liberal. b) Elec-what? c) The message actually says “epistemological
trigger warning”. I guess that joke died on arrival. However, I
have more jokes to send to the minefields.
I'm glad, though, that I put a ‘how to donate'
insert into the film. There's a steady stream of buckazoids coming in. Gotta eat (aka 'trickle-down effect').
First published in German on Zebrabutter.
Translated from German by Evelyn van Hulzen.