Film Space and Video-on-Demand Raum


The exhibition YOU_ser: The Century of the Consumer primarily shows installations which identify the options for a personalized emancipation of the subject and the democratization of the social systems. The critical perspectives on the transformation of the consumer to user and the application of advanced technology - formally used for the colonization of peoples and nations and which served for the construction of political empires – and which could also serve for the colonization of consumers and the founding of transnational financial empires, are presented in a selection of documentary- and essay films that examine the “society of the spectacle” (Guy Debord) and the “economy of desire” on which this is based (Peter Weibel). Well-known philosophers such as Noam Chomsky, Guy Debord, Jacques Derrida, Antonio Negri, Slavoj Ziˇzek analyse macroscopically, the political and cultural consequences of the transformation of the world into a global department store.
One of its own films is devoted to the strategies of seduction and, based on the example of Sigmund Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays, tells of one of the most well-known advertising campaigns and advertising consultants in the USA, one of the first to apply psychological techniques in advertising during the early phase of modern consumer behavior (The Century of the Self, director: Adam Curtis, 2002). But a microscopic view into the world of the commodity fetish, the media massage of the masses and the dark side of the world of trade is also shown. The “creators of the shopping worlds” (Harun Farocki) are aslo given a voice as well as the critics (Michael Glawogger and Hubert Sauper). The interplay between strategies of seduction and strategies of exploitation, the world of desire and consumer world, progress and regression, added value and value destruction, freedom and terror, power and powerlessness is made conscious by means of word and picture. Thus, three films throw light by way of documentaries on how companies and banks control the food industry and how these, in turn, have a central influence on our eating habits, namely, our consumer behavior or our consumer compulsions. Septemberweizen (director: Peter Krieg, 1980) is the title given to the documentary film awarded with the Adolf-Grimme prize on the theme of hunger as a calculated factor. In Super Size Me (director: Morgan Spurlock, 2004) the director himself was guinea pig in that he nourished himself for a period of thirty days on Mc Donald’s products. During this time he drove around and questioned experts – doctors, teachers and politicians – on the theme of “fast food”. Production in this sector apparently turns over 150 billion US Dollars per year whereas obesity causes an annual death rate of 300.000 people and 117 billion US Dollars in medical costs.
In WE FEED THE WORLD (director: Erwin Wagenhofer, 2005) we see the trace of our food in France Spain, Rumania, Brazil, Austria and Switzerland. Day by day the same amount of bread is disposed of in Vienna as is consumed in the entire city of Graz. Over approximately 350.000 hectares, primarily in Latin America, soybeans are cultivated for the Austrian cattle industry. Furthermore, one quarter of the indigenous Brazilian population is starving. The artificially irrigated glasshouse vegetables are responsible in many countries for the scarcity of water reserves. WE FEED THE WORLD is a film about food and globalization, that is, about dearth in abundance.
These films can be seen in traditional forms but also, in keeping with the maxims of the exhibition, in video-on-demand-space programmed by the visitors themselves.
(Text: Peter Weibel)

Photo: © ZKM_Video collection