How long is now

On History of the Present

GER 2020,Video and Super8 on video, 84 min, OmE, directed by Michael Busch

with Boris Groys, Herta Müller, Helga Nowotny, Hila Peleg, Bernd Scherer, Birgit Schneider, David Scott, Wole Soyinka, John Tresch, Mushon Zer-Aviv and more


Laokoon in the spider web

The human being in the net, an image that is paradigmatic for the entire work: Laocoon, the warner in front of the Trojan horse, as a sculpture he is already constricted by the snake, the snake connects him with his sons, together they form an ensemble of powerlessness. The warner in front of the poisoned gift of the future repeats what Pandora’s box has brought over mankind. The future that points out from this present holds dangers and hopes in equal measure. In HOW LONG IS NOW the spider’s web appears in a variety of ways. It is the imperial railway network that spreads colonialism, it is the data cables that lie in the sea between the continents, it is the algorithms that dominate trade and stock exchange, it is the gps system, the face recognition software, the distorted maps of the world. The human being in it struggles with his mortality, struggles with language, the concepts that shape thought and action, struggles with morality and struggles with its expansion in the technosphere. The film makes shameless use of the image reservoir of the twentieth century, casually quoting the history of the moving image and the history of its progressive virtualization. The image plane sometimes nestles close to the spoken narrative of the lectures, then again it expands the space of discourse, adds associations and situations, and networks itself with the heritage of the expanded present.

For four years I have been participating in this series of events and produced a series of short trailers for  cinema promotion. The clips are 30 second long experimental films in a stream of consciousness manner. With the visual archive that was created along these productions and the possibility to use the HKW archive, the idea arose to develop a full-length work from it. I wanted to create a space of possibilities in which questions about our present can be articulated, beyond the quickly googled answers.

list of lectures, used in the film
in chronological order

Bernd Scherer – Opening Speech
John Tresch – Wisdom Technologies
Mushon Zer Aviv – Worlds of Data
Boris Groys – Becoming Cosmic
Svetlana Cheloukhina – Abolishing Death
Helga Nowotny – Eigenzeit Revisited
Birgit Schneider – World of Data
Donald McKenzie – Futures Lag
Anna Echterhölter – Genealogies of Standardization-Tokens
Maya Indira Ganesh & Nishant Shah – Data Discrimination
Hamid Ismailov – The railway and the www
Shashana Rajani & Zahra Malkani – Afterlifes of Imperial Formations
Samuel Merril – Ghost Stations
Herta Müller – Wörterbuch der Gegenwart #Sprache
James C. Scott – A short account of the deep History of State Evasion
David Scott – Norms of Self Determination
James Clifford – Primitivism and the Indigenous Longue Durée
Wole Soyinka – Dictionary of Now #Truth

the work of Maria Eichhorn about Haus der Kulturen der Welt
is presented by curator Hila Peleg and the architects and researchers of
“arch+” Arno Löbbecke & Anh-Linh Ngo