Issue 11 : Fall 2006






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Xtra Large Terrestrials and Transmigration Of Cinema

by Podp Yvol

9 Sep 2006

XLTerrestrials: RadioOrgs Unite. Der freie Wille, Berlin. 2005. Zulah Have you ever considered that just maybe you have been unwillingly cast as an Xtra in a really, really bad movie? Abducted, captured and incorporated in a mass media extravaganza that, in sum, is easily the Most Expensive and Worst Movie ever made. Picture a Military Entertainment Complex production on the scope of Ed Wood in a parallel universe with X-trillions of dollars, all manner of directorial delusions, and already more than a century in the making.

That is just one premise of our current Ost-Blok-Buster “The Transmigration of Cinema” (TOC) which has just been touring through the Balkans and the former Eastern Block. Hint: This is Not a Film. Warning: Cinema has imploded.

Letne Dielne 1.0 (Summer Open Academy). Bratislava. It’s a massive bite to chew but really somebody had to begin gathering research from all those who are having bad dreams about being probed, implanted, and transported to other, cheaper, dimensions; not to mention hostile subjection to re-runs, re-makes, part 2s and 3s and 4s at the end of the cinematic galaxy.

We initiated the idea of TOC’s first run as a cultural exchange initiative with the eastern interzones, because as Brian Eno once wrote, those in the Soviet states already knew quite well that the media they were being fed was propaganda entirely in the state’s interest.[1] Whereas in democratic states, there still remains some murky confusion about the meaning of the likes of Murdoch and Disney having realized the Spinal Tap version of freedom where the remote control for all those sprouting satellite dishes goes to channel 111 ... and beyond! Many are even simultaneously laughing, while still anxiously and feverishly clicking. It’s the sheer persistence of the illusions that seem to be corrupting all rationality and vision..

The movie screen at Tuzrakter, Budapest A small psycho-geographical glitch in our research concept for the summer tour is that the general public in the East is quite happy to have a little more Technicolor on their shelves in contrast to the previous grey visitations and programming of the Ceceascu-, Honegger-, and Breshnev-types, etc. But their keen and tilted sense of cynicism about revolutions and social change has proven to create ripe sectors of mutation among the new consumer meets electronics + media-users there. And it was there, in these abnormal pockets and fringes, that we found ourselves transfixed by the hacker and copy-left Brood.

Shimura Bros. Film installation. Tranzit Gallery, Bratislava. So we primarily landed amongst the media-active hubs where the friction against Spectacle and irReal-Estate is strongest, DMedia Association in Romania, [2]temporary labs like the one in Labin for MMK[3] (multimedijalni kamp; with Zagreb’s MAMA[4] participating), the 6th Visura Aperta festival in Momjan,[5] and Letne Dielne 1.0 (Open Academy) at the 13m3 Kubikov[6] in Bratislava.

We are still chronicling the experiences at, but here’s one anecdote that might provide a taste of the intoxicating rebellion brewing in those caverns below the frenzied new colonization sprees on the earth’s surface.

Shimura Bros. Film installation. Tranzit Gallery, Bratislava. Not wholly Ost-grown, but two Japanese filmmakers Yuka and Kentaro Shimura[7] had produced a very curious piece in Prague which they presented at 13m3. Three massive dark gallery rooms presented time-staggered film fragments on different planes which revealed tale-bits of a bio-technological dystopia set within scenes of a Czech family in a small barren and urban apartment. A father who tries to find a gift for his daughter after being berated by the mother for his absence, he ventures into a very hospital-like shop and is lured into buying a rodent-pet, which is just the head of a white lab mouse embedded in some larger asymmetrical body that is more furniture than animal. There is no full or linear story to follow, and the three screens are placed more like specimens. One screen is in fact a low table. And at various points in the loops the films just scroll into a digital fast forward blur.

Shimura Bros. Film installation. Tranzit Gallery, Bratislava. Just watching the viewers watching the media form, less as an “equal” in its usual vertical mirror-frame, triggered resonance with a number of TOC themes. Certainly not a new angle considering four decades of new media installations but given the high theatrical quality in a kind of mimicry of dramatic cinema, then sliced and diced and strewn about the gallery rooms, each with clinical time codes appearing, rather thematically positioned the audience for performing an autopsy on the mediated form.

Art on the wall at Lamparna Cultural Center. Labin, Croatia. Because cinema is at the root of the trance, we are taking this deconstruction a step further into a live lecture / performance / laboratory realm, wherein we are developing a number of experiments for media psycho-analysis and detournement through a mash-up of high art flicks, straight-up propaganda, various forms of guerrilla media, and asking: What exactly will it take to drop a Spectacle-buster in the age of the digicam herds, my- (panoptic-rectal-exam ), vloggers, netflix, data-miners, disinformation consolidated, embedded journalism, the military-entertainment complex, and the multi-billion dollar pixelated dream colonies? Is there a Next Level of media activism?

Next Levels, beyond media, are what the XL terrestrials might be aiming at – instigating more intersections for arts and action. Looking for the bright green exit signs in the burning theater in order to manifest some sort of walking-talking Dogme2006 anti-script, that will not just re-point your lens on this cooked and consumed world, but turn the whole mass-media web inside out and back up onto a platform for launching realtime social change. media performance, Momjan, Croatia Sadly we must admit our progress at this time is only monitorable at - Yet Another Website that will plop up on your screen and be wholly dissatisfying, if not infuriatingly inadequate. But consider yourselves entirely welcome as fellow XL terrestrials to interact with any or all of these sketchy virtual digressions, at least until further notice of live interventions at a theater near you. Speaking of which, our next stop is Club der polnischen Versager (Polish Losers’ Club)[8] in Berlin Mitte, where we will theoretically blue-screen our audience into a background of Zbigniew Rybczyński shorts, Bolivarian 4th World War excerpts, and Guerrilla News Network documents.


1. Brian Eno. ‘Lessons in how to lie about Iraq’. Guardian Unlimited. 17 Aug 2003.