Katalogstipendium, Kulturstiftung des Freistaats Sachsen
The ToTal eclipse of The hearT (english version is hidden beneath "Show more")
Zwischen all den stadtkälbern und -ferkeln stehst plötzlich du. Mit
deinem Motorbike kamst du aus deinem ländlichen Versteck geknattert.
Kamst, eines dieser lahmen, kraftlosen Nutztiere zu holen, um es mit
in deine Behausung zu zerren. Wirst es zerkneten, auseinanderplücken,
die Brueche schienen und es neu zusammenstecken, wirst es zu einem
Teil deines sumpfes machen, Terpentin mit ihm schnüffeln und Benzin
gurgeln, bis alle Güte in ihm weggeaetzt, das Treudoofe aus seinen Augen
gewichen, aus dem lieben Milchkalb eine ferngesteuerte, blutleere
Katze geworden ist.
Am Tage leckten sie einander die fellfressen, schnurrten, schmusten,
spielten. Bevor sie ins Mondlicht hinaustraten, in ihre Nachtgestalt
schlüpften, schminkten und maskierten sie einander, hüllten sich in
grelle stoffe. Die augen verwischt, versteckt hinter dunklen Gläsern,
zwei Endzeitroboter im Zauberwald. Jeder seines Weges stapft ihr
durch die Nacht.
Ein angebissenes Brot, ein angerissenes lämmchen. Die letzten Glühwürmchen
des sommers haben es sich in der klaffenden Wunde gemütlich
gemacht. Wundweides Blitzen.
Die Dorfköter sollten sich eigentlich die Mäuler lecken, gebannt vom
ästhetischen reiz des limmernden und so gar nicht wimmernden opfers.
sie weiden sich an seinem sättigenden anblick, statt es mit haut und
Wolle zu verspeisen.
Ein virtueller Tanz, ein schauspiel, lichtjahre und Datenbänke entfernt
vom natürlichen Kreislauf von fressen und Gefressen werden.
Verstakstes spiel fehlprogrammierter automaten.
Zwischen scheiblettenkäse und Ketchup liegen zwei Dosen highlander
von der Tankstelle im Kühlschrank, für den Notfall. Um die ins Viereck
gezwungenen augen mit der mystischen Kraft von Whisky und Bier zu
Draussen auf dem land fauchen Katzen und Kater, kläffen die hunde gegen
die hoftore. Vom Weihnachtsgeld doch lieber einen neuen computer
mit farbmonitor, nicht das Mountainbike. Kann man ganzjährig nutzen,
ohne sich ständig in den arsch treten zu müssen, kann trotzdem
ordentlich Dampf ablassen. ein Virtuose am steuerungselement sollte
aus ihm werden, jede mögliche Bewegung, mit ein paar fingergriffen
überall hin. Der Maschinist, der die Dinge am laufen hält.
in ihm wohnte etwas, dessen äusseres er dafür, dass er es noch nie
gesehen hatte, verblüffend gut beschreiben konnte. Das ausdruckslose,
verschmierte antlitz, die hinterlistlose Dummbrutalität, der Knochenmann
im durchtrainierten fleischgewand, das falsch programmierte.
Das alles ist Teil von dir, das sind deine Gefühle, deine Gefährten,
Der erste schnee fällt in sein Zimmer und fäbt sich neonrot. Kein
licht ausser der relexion von suchscheinwerfern auf der harten Januarkruste.
Die reifen der fahrzeuge, gespickt mit langen spikes, knacken
übers eis. Kristallharter schall, sein Kopf schlägt auf, ihm wird
warm. er betrachtet sich von oben, wie er daliegt im gelben Zebra
Kommt das aus einer Wirklichkeit, in der noch agiert wird, oder aus
einer, die schon konsumiert wurde, einem spiel, das du schon durch
gezockt hast? schleus dich ein in die Gehäuse deiner fantasie, mach
mit, bau mit, hols dir zurück. lass es spriessen aus dem Boden, der
die Kultur angeblich von unten her vergiftet, hirntot macht. sie
kehren zurück von ihrer Mission, um uns mit aller Kraft zu beweisen,
dass sie nicht sinnlos waren, die Jahre auf dem sofa.
Die unendlich oft abspielbaren Medien wurden unendlich oft abgespielt,
bis ein übelkeit erregendes sättigungsgefühl einsetzte, zusammen mit
dem Wunsch nach einzigartigem Neuen. etwas machen, was es
noch nicht gibt, sich nicht mehr umzingelt fühlen von etwas, das es
mal gab. einen belebenden streifzug durch eine untergegangene Welt.
Noch mal in die androidenbar, zu den robotermädchen mit dem schönen,
leeren Blick. Weisst du noch, wo die leichen liegen, die randfiguren
stehen, die sich als falsche fährte entpuppten? Unansprechbare, leere
hülsen, die einfach nur geschaffen wurden, um sie stehen zu lassen.
sie sind alle noch da, nimm dich ihrer an, erfinde sie neu, sie bitten
The ToTal eclipse of The hearT
And then, there you are. Between all the city calves and all the city piglets - you. You came here on your motorbike, took it all the way from your hiding place in the country.
You came here on a mission to get some lame, weak lifestock. lifestock to drag back to your shack.
You’re gonna work it hard, knead it, pluck it. You’ll splint its fractured bones and you’ll
remake it. it’ll become part of your swamp.
it’ll sniff turps with you and it’ll gurgle gaso-line by your side till all benevolence is etched off. No more faitfhul eyes,
no more innocent maverick. The remainder: a re-mote controlled anemic cat. During daytime they licked each other’s coat kissers. smurred. cuddled. fooled around.
Before they stepped into
and into their nocturnal selves they put each other’s faces on and masked each other and wrapped themselves in dazzling clothes. Blurry eyes hidden behind dark
shades. Two end time robots in a magic forrest. each of them follows their own path as they trudge through the night. a half eaten bread, a wounded lamb.
The last irelies of this summer nestle in the gaping lesh. flashes of gunshot wounds. The village dogs ought to lick their muzzles at the aestethic impulse of the twinkling, but
not at all whimpering, victim.
instead of eating it up, neck and wool they feast on the satiable sight. it’s a virtual dance, lightyears and databases away from
the natural circle of eating and being eaten, a clumsy game of defectively programmed machines.
in the fridge two cans of highlander rest between slices of processed cheese and a bottle of Ketchup. icecold emergency supply to ease cornered eyes with the mythological power of whiskey and beer.
Out in the country, cats hiss and dogs bark at closed gates. christmas money is spent wisely on a new computer with a co-lored screen, not on a montainbike. You can use it all
year round. No constant struggle to get going but you can indeed let off steam. he was supposed to become a virtuoso at regulating the elements, any motion with a lick of
the inger. an engineer who keeps things going.
There was something inside of him that, despite the fact that he had never seen it before, he could give a surprisingly accurate description of expressionless, smudgy
countenance. Deceitless stupid violence. skeleton in a buff meat suite. ill programmed. it’s all part of you. These are your feelings, your companions. Your kind.
first snow falls into his room and it changes into a neon red. There is no light except the relection of searchlights on a rough January crust. The spiked tires
of the vehicles creak on the ice. crystals burst when BaNG his head hits the ground. he is warm now. he looks at himself from above, his body lies on the ground in a
yellow zebra plush suit. Where does this come from? from a kind of reality in which people still operate and act or from a different kind in which they are
beyond consumption – a game that is over, a game you played to the end. iniltrate the body of your phantasies, take part, construct, retrieve. let the
sprouts crack the ground that supposedly spoils culture from below and kills brains. They return from their mission to prove with all their might that they were
not pointless, all the years on the couch. ininitely playable media has been played ininitely, until a sickening satiety kicked in, mixed with a longing for something
unique, something new.
a longing to come up with something that’s never been before and gone will be the feeling of being surrounded by something that has.
a resurrecting journey through a messed up world.
hit android Bar whith its robot chicks and their empty looks. Do you remember where the corpses are? Where are the marginal characters that turned out to be nothing
but red herrings. Unspeakable empty cartridges whose only purpose is to be left standing around.hey are all still here. Take care of them. reinvent them. They beg for it.
While most of the art world remains obsessed with crisis and rupture, and goes on insatiably discussing how the digital age constitutes a radical break with our analogue past, the painter Julius Hofmann focuses instead on the continuities. In this interview he talks about torture, advertising, and the painterly origins of video game aesthetics.
Your film works take up 90s game aesthetics. It's an aesthetics that was formative for your childhood and youth, and it marked the beginning of the computer game era. Ditching playability, you instead create filmic works whose characters turn out - in contrast to typical computer games - to be antiheroes rather than superheroes. What's left is the jerky, flickering, and geometric aesthetics in the form of 3D animations. What were you interested in when you first started to engage with this aesthetics in your art?
There were a number of different motivations. At the time I may have seen it merely as a way of adding a dimension to my painting, which was then my primary focus. The desire to redefine it by way of a dialogue - which I happen to find provocative - between the oldest and newest medium in human history. Once I had my first achievements as a painter under my belt, and no later than by the time I had finished my studies, I realized how monotonous and schematic even life as a painter can transpire, and so I started searching consciously for other areas of activity and new challenges.
The first element of the medium of film is the image, which, as a painter, I had already mastered. In film, my affinities for both narrative as well as sound and music can be bundled in a much more all-encompassing, dense, and for me therefore much more satisfying cosmos.
This was also around the time when the necessary hardware and software tools became sufficiently powerful, and above all affordable.
Now I'm able to work on a computer just as intuitively as on an easel. In my view, computer graphics are still in their infancy when it comes to artistic questions, and there is relatively little experimentation going on outside of quantitative/technical solutions. If you look at the big cinematic successes of recent years, you can see two main trends. At first, in order to avoid the "uncanny valley", pixar/Disney and comparable studios went primarily with "furries", those anthropomorphic animal creatures tailored to a child or family audience. The formal vocabulary and the buoyant animation style is limited to the classical American cartoon repertoire.
The second trend is the applied field of special effects that are ideally not supposed to be perceived on a conscious level, which was also the actual motor of their innovation in the 1970s. Just as in compositing, too - which is planned out before you shoot - and postproduction, computers are a pure tool whose effects are supposed to disappear seamlessly in the final product. What comes up short in my opinion is "computer graphics as a rhetorical device", where special attention is given to their strengths or weaknesses and they are appreciated as a means of expression.
As a third variation, I am looking for a visual language that provides the viewer of the medium with a convincing justification for its use. Perhaps the old school painters have helped me out in this regard.
In the 1990s in particular, computer games were characterized by crass stereotypes. To what extent do you deal - also critically - with this issue in your work?
I'm not sure I am in complete agreement here. I do agree that it is true for some stereotypes, but some surprising transformations were taking place at the same time. One important facet is, for example, that many of the graphic artists and animators of the time were autodidacts who had started out as computer scientists and developed their own programmes and corresponding user interfaces.
As in other fields, it is not seldom such "naive" operators who time and again implement established processes or artistic motifs in new ways.
I don't merely extract stereotypes from these games. When it comes to telling stories, they help me construct an image-symbolic consensus between the audience and myself as the author, which is a necessary condition of the stories' readability. The abridgement of ever the same processes or characters that describe our common wealth of experience, which both sides welcome, help me open viewers' minds to my - otherwise perhaps difficult - experiments. It is of course expressly desirable, or even necessary, to playfully exaggerate, but above all to break, this consensus and the expectations that go along with it.
You use the aesthetics of computer games not only in your film work but also in the static, classical medium of painting. To what extent have computer games fundamentally changed our perception of images and our visual language?
From my perspective, this is not an easy question to answer. Since I belong to the generation that grew up with these media, I have no comparison. Since our perception is being trained ever more comprehensively, from childhood on, in front of every kind of screen, this must have an enormous effect physically as well as mentally.
The influence of photgraphy/film, on the other hand - which can now be made out in these games as well, thanks to modern graphics processors - is incomparably greater. Since the arrival of this "objective" mode of representation, it is no longer inherently necessary that people who want to create effective images have their own will to form. Instead, even in these computer games - that usually have fantastical themes -naturalism again dictates its consensus of superficial accuracy.
"Game Art is any art in which digital games played a significant role in the creation, production, and/or display of the artwork. The resulting artwork can exist as a game, painting, photograph, sound, animation, video, performance or gallery installation". According to Bittanti's definition, your painting could also be subsumed under the term "Game Art". Would you agree?
No, on the grounds that it is only one aspect of my work. I would say that the influence of cinema, literature, music, and the history of painting are no less important for my work.
For you, it was painting that opened the door to computer graphics. You say that painting has paved the way for computer graphics from the very beginning. Can you illustrate this with an example?
For millenia, manual/analogue painting and graphics techniques were the only medium for saving visual information, and information of artistic content in particular. All the foundations of visual symbolism and composition were tediously formed and refined over countless generations and under the most diverse conditions.
After photography and film, the biggest revolution was no doubt that of fully digital synthetic images. This entire process was essentially completed in just a single century. Where did these - originally for the most part just technological - pioneers get their motifs and their orientation for their own canon of colours and forms?
The youth of computer graphics set out in an ellipse from the point where figurative painting had come to a partial and provisional end some 50 years before. In the styles of the time, New Objectivity and Figurative Constructivism, artists' efforts for more forceful expression resulted in reductions to the basic geometric shapes that have been mentioned.
By contrast, the - in my view successful - abstractions of early computer graphics were originally the upshot of technological necessity. When it came to display resolution, colour depth, disk space and other parameters, quantity had to be replaced by quality in order to cope with the comparative weaknesses of the machines.
The images that were generated, especially in the earliest days, are characteristic and the processes that made them are largely responsible for this high degree of sententiousness. Yet the rough framework or the substructure remain essentially unchanged. You streamline, compress, cut, rearrange and texture, and you end up with highly topical and artistically challenging solutions. But the questions of substance and of the eternal laws of form remain the same for both the short and the long term.
In one of your most recent works you deal with first-person shooter games. The viewer is addressed directly: "You" were held in a military prision and tortured. Until one night the tranquilizers didn't take effect. It ends in a first-person shooting tour through the prison. A primary sequence, in which the main character runs amok through the prison wildly shooting up the place, is punctuated by scenes in which he is most brutally tortured. This stirs up rage and hatred that almost seem to legitimate the deed. What is this work about for you?
This clip is part of an extensive new series of short films in which I deal with the medium of tv/movie ad spots and their semifictional products, or rather the marketing of them. I had started the scenes from the first-person shooter episode a few years ago, but at the time never found an acceptable solution. Finding a digestible way to prepare such an unpleasant topic is a big challenge.
It wouldn't be consistent with my art to communicate such messages in an accusatory or didactic way. The choice of a computer game (advertisement) as the vehicle, which displaces the scene into the fantastical, supplies the necessary link between the possible reactions of tongue-tied depression in the face of one's own powerlessness and the usual cynical ignorance. With the ingredient of absurd irreality, like in travesties of popular werewolf movies, representations of waterboarding or shootings can be perverted into universal metaphors.
The many atrocities shown in the film force one to think of the images that seldom surface from military prisons, in which prisoners are brutally and inhumanely tortured behind closed doors. To what extent can computer games (even if a film is not a game) be generally understood as political instruments? And practice critique?
As for the torture images from Abu Ghraib: for me those are painful icons of our time, comparable to Goya's etched "Disasters of War", or even the crucifix.
The images - which are today not so seldom at all - are freely accessible. But at the time when the images appeared of the scenes I cite in the film, I was still baffled and shocked at how something like that could leak to the public, even how it had been photographed at all. There is no contention about the role played by various modern entertainment media in the development of our notions of value, and it is becoming more important daily. This is potentially no different when it comes to forming political opinion.
Whereas in your previous works you worked a lot with antiheroes, and there was no way to "win", this film suggests a different outcome: If you play the game, in the end you get it all. You get to shoot everybody who has hurt you, escape, and last but not least you get a sexy dream woman. Time and again, first-person shooters are criticized for encouraging aggressivity and making people more prone to violence. Is the ending to be understood ironically? Is your film critical?
The challenge of this satire is finding an aesthetic balance between more serious tones, such as those of a critique of contemporary events, and on the other hand a certain escapist entertainment value, and grotesque caricatures are accordingly a part of this. As already described, I try to meld varying and often ambivalent statements, themes and styles into a harmonic, artistically motivated complex.