[spectre] Final Program "An Archaeology of Imaginary Media"

Eric Kluitenberg epk at xs4all.nl
Mon Feb 2 17:06:37 CET 2004

Dear Spectrites,

Herewith the final program of "An Archaeology of Imaginary Media" the 
program at De Balie in Amsterdam, 5 - 8 February 2004.

All talks will be streamed live via the internet at: http://www.debalie.nl/live
The time schedule of the talks is below.

Late aditions to the program:

- Filmmaker John Akomfrah will complement Bruce Sterling's talk on 
imaginary media with an Afro-futurist perspective.

- Francois Ducat screens a new film based on Raymond Roussel's 
imaginations about a new watery communication medium.



F   I   N   A   L    P   R   O   G   R   A  M

An Archaeology of Imaginary Media

Excavating mankind's dreams of the ultimate communication medium

February 5 - 8, 2004,
De Balie - Centre for Culture and Politics, Amsterdam

An Archaeology of Imaginary Media is a mini-festival in De Balie in 
Amsterdam around the eternal return of mankind's desire for the 
ultimate communications medium. Will technological progress finally 
resolve the human communication problem? The mobile phone mania 
demonstrates a compulsive attempt to arrive at an affirmative answer 
to this question. Digging in the history of human communication and 
its media provides ample grounds for serious doubts.

De Balie will bring together a distinguished selection of artists, 
filmmakers, authors, theoreticians, and especially media 
archaeologists, to undertake a thorough investigation of the utopian 
visions of the ultimate communications medium. In a variegated and 
highly diversified panorama, the visionary perspectives of 
technological dreamers throughout the centuries will be excavated and 
held up to the audience.


Already for some years, cyberpunk author Bruce Sterling has been 
collecting dead media. Media that have withered and are mostly 
forgotten (much like Dutch tv comedians van Kooten & De Bie predicted 
the demise of phillips' cd-i many years ago). Erkki Huhtamo has been 
digging up the pre-history of interactivity from the caverns of 
forgetfulness. Edwin Carels discovers in the pre-history of cinema 
the bizarre concept that moving image and sound might be a medium to 
establish contact with 'those in the hereafter'. Siegfried Zielinksi 
also finds death in media in the (delusional) conceptions of the 
media-engineers. Edison created a machine to communicate with the 
"sprits", and Zoe Beloff made a film about it. She will cast a light 
on the matter. And wasn't cyberspace the ultimate means to abolish 
the borders of race and gender? Away with the body!!! Who still 
beliefs that today? John Akomfrah (tbc) will investigate what this 
question means within Afro Futurism. What is it that inspires men 
time and again to believe in their own machines? Maybe literary 
scholar and media-sociologist Klaus Theweleit can shed some light in 
the dark?

On Imaginary Media....

Multi-talented artist Peter Blegvad created a theatrical performance 
"On Imaginary Media" specifically for this program. A philosophical 
drama, a multi-layered collage of meditations on the sublimity and 
tragedy of imaginary media, of the dream for the ultimate 
communications medium. Musicians John Greaves and Chris Cutler, with 
whom he has previously realised many avant-gardistic music projects, 
and Dutch actors Christine van Stralen and Kees Hulst accompany 
Blegvad during the performance.

Peter Blegvad became famous as a musician because of his involvement 
with cult-bands such as Faust, Slap Happy and Henry Cow in the early 
seventies, after which he went through a remarkable solo career. As 
an avant-gardist he appeared in New York in the environs of people 
like John Zorn (Locus Solus). Simultaneously he established himself 
as an extraordinary cartoonist with his series Leviathan, widely 
regarded as an important innovation of the cartoon genre. He also 
produces a series of radio-plays for BBC-Radio, called "Ear-toons 
from the Verb".

World-Première: Thursday February 5 / 20.00 hrs / Grote Zaal
Second Performance: Saturday February 7 / 20.00 hrs / Grote Zaal

Narrative Space

The idea for a narrative space was developed together with Peter 
Blegvad: A visual space where the visions and conceptions of 
imaginary communication machines are presented. A number of 
cartoonists and artists have been invited to contribute their visual 
imaginations about imaginary media in the form of drawings or short 
cartoons. During the entire weekend these visions can be viewed 
continuously in a simultaneous three-channel projection in the public 
vide in De Balie.

Participating artists:
- Thomas Zummer
- Jonathan Rosen
- Peggy Yungue
- Sasa, aka Aleksandar Zograf
- Gary Panter
- Dick Tuinder
- Neal Fox
- Les Coleman
- Ben Katchor
- François Ducat
- Peter Blegvad

to conclude....

Richly illustrated lectures, films, discussion, a narrative space 
with works by cartoonists and artists, the philosophical theatre of 
Blegvad and an extensive film program, together paint the contours of 
an eternal dream that manages to hold people time and again under its 
sway, from Heinrich Suso's late-medieval Horologium Sapientae to the 
unfolding debacle of 3G**.

(**3G: third generation mobile phones)


Further background information, essays, information about the 
presenters and web links can be found in the dossier "Media 
Archaeology" on the website of De Balie:


Overview of Lectures & Presentations:

Speaking will be...

Friday, February 6 / 15.00 - 17.30 hrs / Grote Zaal:

Siegfried Zielinski - Deep Time of the Media, an anarchaeology of 
hearing and seeing through technological means.

Klaus Theweleit - on the soccer game as an imaginary medium.

Friday, February 6 / 20.00 - 22.00 hrs / Grote Zaal:

Edwin Carels - on pre-cinema and the iconography of death.

Zoe Beloff - on spiritist media and stereoscopic cinema.

Saturday, February 7 / 15.00 - 17.30 hrs / Grote Zaal:

Bruce Sterling - on dead media en never realised media histories.

John Akomfrah - on Afrofuturism and imaginary media.

Sunday, February 8 / 15.00 - 17.30 hrs / Grote Zaal:

Erkki Huhtamo - on the archaeology of the dream world of interactivity.

Timothy Druckrey - on the archaeology of the present in the works of 
media-critical media-artists.


Short Biographies:

John Akomfrah is a filmmaker, founder of the 'Black Audio Film 
Collective' and a prominent thinker within Afro Futurism, one of his 
more recent films is "Digitopia".

Zoe Beloff is a film maker and media artist, originally from 
Edinburgh, she lives and works in New York.

Peter Blegvad is cartoonist, musician, writer, and the creator of the 
cartoon series Leviathan. He also produces radio plays for BBC radio, 
and lives in London.

Edwin Carels is a freelance curator and writer, who is especially 
interested in the relationship between visual arts and film, video, 
and photography. He writes a.o. for "Andere Sinema".

Chris Cutler is a musician, sound artist, and writer. He is also 
involved in various independent music-publishing initiatives. As a 
percussionist he has appeared in numerous avant-garde music ensembles.

Timothy Druckrey is a curator, writer, and editor concerned with 
issues of media history, representation, and technology. He lives in 
New York.

John Greaves is a musician and gifted song-writer. Operating in a 
variety of avant-garde music settings, not least with Peter Blegvad 
and Chris Cutler, he has always stood at the crossroads of several 
musical traditions,

Erkki Huhtamo is a Finnish Media Researcher, Curator, Writer and 
Professor at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

Kees Hulst is an actor. He appeared in many Dutch movies and 
television productions, a.o. "De Avonden", "Snapshots", "Somberman's 
Actie", "Eenzaam.nl" and many more. He also appears frequently on 
stage, formerly with the Toneelgroep Amsterdam, and independently.

Bruce Sterling is a writer, mostly renown for his cyberpunk fiction 
oeuvre. His publications include Schismatrix, The Hacker Crackdown en 
The Difference Engine (met William Gibson).

Christine van Stralen is a Dutch actress,who plays among others with 
the theatre group "Mug met de gouden tand", she appeared in numerous 
films, recently a.o. in  "Necrocam", and "Dunya & Desie".

Klaus Theweleit is a writer, literary scholar, and cultural theorist. 
He is the author of a.o. the monumental series "Buch der Könige" 
(Book of Kings) and "Der Pochahontas Complex".

Siegfried Zielinski is a media researcher, the founding and former 
principal of the Academy of Media Arts Cologne. He teaches and 
researches on the history, theory, and praxis of audiovision; his 
special field of interest is media archaeology, and he has published 
numerous books and articles on the topic.

Further Reading and Browsing:

More extensive biographies and links to other resources can be found 
via the person's pages of all speakers and presenters, linked from 
the program pages at the Balie website:


Film Program An Archaeology of Imaginary Media:

- Main program 22:00 Thursday, February 5:

My Browser, Orij, Stel & Verhagen, nl, 2002, betacam, 4'
A web browser imagined as a person's alter ego

Orphee, Jean Cocteau, fr, 1949, 16mm, 112'
Modern translation of the Greek myth ab
out Orpheus a
nd his wandering in the underworld, where a radio becomes an 
indispensable device to communicate with the after-world.

- Main program 22:00 Friday, February 6:

Shadow land or light from the other side,
Zoe Beloff, usa, 2000, 2x16mm, 32'
Stereoscopic film about the connection between technology and 
imagination, presenting a mental projector to communicate with the 

In Absentia, Quay Brothers, gb, 2000, 35mm, 20'
Many visual illusions in a hybrid animation film in which the 
thoughts of a woman writing a letter are visualised. Soundtrack by 
Karl Heinz Stockhausen.

Out of the ether, Kerry Laitala, usa, 2003, 16mm, 9'
Handmade 16mm film, composed on an optical printer, tells about dark 
techno forces that attempt not only to invade or bodies, but also our 

Gothic Aztecs, Jonathan Rosen, usa, 2003, dvd, 21'
A demonic reliquary of Medusa-Quetzalcoatl gives godly and demonic 
visions to a young woman. Gothic Aztects is a film in which the 
viewer is projected into the brain of the female priest, and in doing 
so experience her artificial mediatized delirium.

- Late program 23:30 Friday, February 6:

Anatomy of time, Dick Tuinder, nl, 1995, 35mm, 17'
The waving to the camera of filmmaker and time-traveller Arthur 
Dauphin, obscure contemporary of the Lumière brothers, who already 
knew a century ago that behind the seemingly lifeless machine of the 
camera a new secret future world was hidden.

Out of the present, Andrei Ujica, ru, 1996, 35mm, 96'
Russian cosmonauts leave the Soviet Union for space station Mir. 
Meanwhile the Soviet empire collapses, leaving the cosmonauts in 
limbo. Out of the present contains the first breathtaking 35mm 
footage ever made of planet Earth. Due to technical problems the 
majority of that footage and a 35mm camera were set overboard before 
the last crew returned to earth, leaving the pictures of the earth 
encircling it forever.

- Main program 22:00 Saturday, February 7:

Aqua Micans, François Ducat, be, 2004, dvd, 5'21"
A hommage to Raymond Roussel.
"Thanks to the combined properties of the aqua micans, the Eryhtrite 
pill and the mental cone that concentrates energy on the nervous 
tissues, we can from now on HEAR Danton (because I've learned to 

Conceiving Ada, Lynn Hershmann, usa, 1997, 16mm, 85'
Programmer Emma wants to get contact with the long since passed away 
Ada Byron King, pioneer on artificial intelligence and daughter of 
the poet Lord Byron. Emma manages to establish contact by emerging 
her body into an experimental DNA memory-coding device. The narrative 
of the film is structured along the spiral of the double helix of DNA.

- Late program 23:30 Saturday, February 7:

More, Mark Osborne, usa, 1998, 35mm, 6'
Clay-animation in which a lonely engineer invents an apparatus that 
makes live in the industrial age bearable
again: 'Happy product', though without happy ending thanks to the 
management of the world.

"Surprise from the Sixties", dvd, 97'
Subway construction is immediately halted when bones and sculls are 
found. A well-known professor discovers that the bones and sculls are 
enclosed within the rotten structure of an ancient spacecraft.

- Main program 20:00 Sunday, February 8:

Anamorphosis, Quay Brothers, gb, 1991, 35mm, 15'
Esoteric illusions of the Quay brothers within an 'illustrated' 
reading about physical and mental perception.

Eye like a strange balloon, Guy Maddin, gb, 1996, betacam, 4'
A drawing of the French Symbolist painter Odile Redon is taken as the 
surreal inspiration for a story about the triangle relationship 
between a father, his son and an orphan girl during a strange train 

Retrospectroscope, Kerry Laitala, usa, 1997, 16mm, 5'
Like Plateau's disk, the 'retrospectroscope' can be seen as a 
procession of flickering phantasies and fragmented lyricism; its 
existence today lies hidden within the processes from which it has 
created itself.

videØvoid, David Larcher, fr, 1993, betacam, 34'
Contemplation about the apparent void of time and space as 
communication vehicles for thought and matter.

- Continuous screening of documentaries,
    6, 7, 8 Februar
   14:00 - 20:00 hrs, among others:

The man who wanted to classify the world,
Françoise Levie, be, 2002, betacam, 56'
Documentary about the Belgian visionary Paul Otlet, who, long before 
Ted Nelson claimed and invented the term hypertext, imagined the so 
called 'Mundaneum', a kind of proto Internet aimed to become a 
worldwide information system to support and establish world peace, 
but obstructed by WWII.

Alle kennis van de wereld, het papieren internet
IJsbrand van Veelen, nl, 1998, 23'05'
Dutch documentary on Paul Otlet's Mundaneum. See also description of 
'The man who wanted to classify the world'.
(Dutch subtitles)

Archaeology of the Moving Image,
Erkki Huhtamo, fi, 1996, betcam, '90
Three issues of a Finnish documentary series about the archaeology of 
the moving image.
(English subtitles)


Tickets and reservations

Ticket prices:
Lectures: E 7,- / with reduction: E 5,-
Film screenings: E 6,25 / with reduction: E 5,-
Passe-partout: E 25,- / with reduction: E 20,-

Opening hours ticket office:
During working days from 13:00 till 18:00 hrs. or till the start of 
the program.
During the weekend from 1,5 hour before the start of the program.
Reserving by phone: +31.20 5535100, during opening hours, till 45 
minutes before the program starts.

De Balie
Kleine Gartmanplantsoen 10
1017 RR Amsterdam
Tel +31(0)20 5535151
Fax +31(0)20 5535155

Reserve: +31(0)20 5535100
Balie at balie.nl


- Tram 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, en 10
- De Balie is accessible for wheelchair users, and is equipped with 
audio systems for hearing impaired visitors.



Eric Kluitenberg, concept and final editing
Lucas Evers, coordination production, editing, film program

T(C), H&M, Felix Janssens.

The Book of Imaginary Media:
Alongside the program a book and DVD will be published by Uitgeverij 
De Balie, including contributions by all presenters in this program. 
During the weekend of 5 - 8 February it will be possible to pre-order 
this publication.

Special thanks:
Edwin Carels, Carel Alphenaar, Elly Ludenhof, Peter van Hoof, Peter Sep

Supported by:
VSB Fonds, the Mondriaan Foundation, and the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts.

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