Third fragment. Thomas Demand in collaboration with Alexander Kluge, Kino wie ein schöner Hut/Geographical Experiment 1, 2 & 3

The German director, writer, producer, author of television programs, public figure, and ideologist of the so-called new German cinema Alexander Kluge has always been open to various kinds of cooperation and creative interactions. One of the most striking episodes of recent times is his collaboration with Thomas Demand, which continues in the exhibition at Garage. Kluge’s films, which are video sequels or video interpretations of three works by Demand displayed as part of the exhibition—Repository, Five Globes, and Ruine/Ruin—are screened in film pavilions designed by the artist; floating models that are distant references to constructivist form-making. In describing what he has in common with Demand, Kluge centers his thought around the concept of time and attitudes to it: what does the present mean and how long does it last? In 2004, in a conversation with Boris Groys in Moscow, Kluge said: “None of us live in the present condition alone. After all, what is the present? One single moment. One twenty-fourth of a second in a film. And it encapsulates a whole eternity. We live with our deceased ancestors, and they live in us. Without these historical horizons and without hopes for the future life would have ceased. For this reason, the present attains a subjunctive mood, that is, it becomes a form of possibility. What we call reality is in fact nothing more than something very close to reality.” This “very close to reality” is most accurately described by Michel Foucault’s term “heterotopia” (which is indirectly related to the concepts of utopia and dystopia: heterotopia is a place where everything is different). Heterotopia determines Kluge’s practice: his writing and films operate simultaneously with numerous sources and channels, such as history, theory, personal biography, anecdote, excerpts, and archival references. Just as Demand defamiliarizes the real, “othering” facts through paper reconstruction, Kluge’s multi-channel video collages perform similar operations, bringing an event into the orbit of universal, cosmic time, then approaching the human, the private. Kluge’s cutting of time actually refines and clarifies many of Demand’s works. Especially those that contain the artist’s personal memories or impressions.