Man and his Artefacts:
MAMA PAPA AUTO
An obituary on the automobile (1991)
A film about television (1994)
The Love Affair
The computer and its user (1996)
Completing the final part of our trilogy "Man and his Artefacts", the The Love Affair
is based both in its thematic perspective and unusual formal design on the first two films. All three films deal with Man's willingness to subjugate himself to the tools instruments he has himself created.
When setting out in 1991 to make a film on that Moloch, the "Automobile", we had no inkling of the intrinsic affinity between "Auto", "Television" and "Computer". Our initial plan was to compile a visually stunning analysis of the car assembly line. Yet our intensive research into this originally ingenious mode of transportation unexpectedly opened our eyes to the almost drug-like dynamics characterising Man's self-indulgent enslavement to the television and his relationship to the computer.
In a certain manner, the German title of the film Beziehungskiste - The Computer and sein Mensch
, or translated literally the "Relationship Box - The Computer and its User" encapsulates retrospectively the common theme of the trilogy: All three films focus on three quite different "boxes", which in the course of their mutation from tools to Moloches have shaped the life and complexion of this century, as almost no other invention.
For its visual argumentation, the film MAMA PAPA AUTO
draws on the classic montage. Traditional in comparison to the following two sequels of the trilogy, this technique reflects a mode of transportation based on the combustion engine, albeit a sophisticated one. On the other hand, five years ago it would have been technically impossible to have applied the technique of continuous superimposition (BLEIBEN SIE DRAN! - STAY TUNED!)
and the collage (The Love Affair)
. In their chronological sequence, the three films clearly reflect the technically-driven trend from the horizontal to the vertical montage. And yet the methods deployed are fundamentally derived from the subject matter.
The film Stay Tuned!
is narrated primarily from the hermetic perspective of the television set, whilst the protagonists behind the veil of the real existing television programme brood over their daily need for a fix.
In The Love Affair
, the television screen mutates into a computer monitor and lures the protagonists into its pull-down menus, masks and dialogue boxes. Where all thought is reduced to the click on the hyperlink, the link itself replaces the film editor's cut; and where our image of the world is fashioned by the finger on the zapper, the film is zapped from viewer to viewer whose fragmentary utterances then coalesce to form a coherent entity. The being determining the consciousness? Only partially. For the fanatical motorist, the TV couch-potato and the computer junkie all share an amazing capacity for self-reflection.
Clear testimony to the impact of films such as MAMA PAPA AUTO
is offered by the flood of correspondence we have received from mainly outraged motorists. This is also reflected on a personal level, in the (albeit belated) decision of the authors last week to dispense with their cars (we are participating in a car-sharing project). The impact of the succeeding two films remains to be seen. Yet the fact that DENKmal-Film has recently launched its own homepage site on the Internet must surely give food for thought: Http://www.denkmal-film.com