experimental documentary, Germany 2023, 8 mins
16mm, 1:1.33, 24fps, colour, stereo

Light Cone Paris

idea, text, camera, edit & sound: Bernd Lützeler
lab & scanning: Colorlab, Rockville USA
prod: NoMasala Films

commissioned by the Trustees of Indiana University and the IU Libraries Moving Image Archive
in celebration of the 100th anniversary of 16mm film (2023)

It is the year 2023. Unnoticed by the rest of the world, a small group of artists, enthusiasts and academics are celebrating the 100th anniversary of 16mm motion picture film. Meanwhile, the worldwide digitization has been fully completed, the former dystopian vision of the transparent citizen has become our sad reality, and artificial intelligence is taking over almost all facets of human activity. Analog media have become a niche interest amongst hobbyists, and from an economic point of view, the only relevance of celluloid film is its long shelf life as a data storage. The television tube, the eponym for YouTube, a status symbol in German living rooms for decades, but now incapable of receiving even a single frame of moving image, is now only a fetish for style-conscious retro fans. Gone are the days when one could be lulled to sleep at night by the soothing white noise, a mixture of the basic electronic current of the television set itself, and a small percentage of cosmic background noise.

But how could all this happen? Berlin artist and filmmaker Bernd Lützeler has succeeded in visualising echoes from the origins of our misguided global economy. These echoes date back to the 80s and 90s of the 20th century, when they were still considered wisdoms that could solve all the problems of our planet. And although they've been long time outdated, they continue to resonate into our reality today. With the help of machine learning, a Bolex film camera and one of the last well-preserved television tubes, Lützeler was able to distill some of these echoes from the white noise through multiple exposures on 16mm film, preserving them for the next 100 years, perhaps even longer. The television tube may soon no longer exist, the white noise may disappear from our collective memory, but the echoes of neoliberal wisdom from the 80s and 90s will continue to reverberate for a long time...

A Century of 16mm, IU Libraries Moving Image Archive, Bloomington, USA 2023

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