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28.11.2012

Thierry Geoffroy: ART a RETARDEMENT is not ART en RETARD, 2012.

Talk with film master Joshua Oppenheimer about art and the ROLE OF THE ARTIST

After two nights of insomnias due my screening of the Act of killing, I had to speak with instructor Joshua Oppenheimer. His masterpiece film tell us about massif genocide that happened in Indonesia and its perpetrator: I found the film had a little bit an atmosphere a la Buena Vista Social Club which disturb me the most, but to disturb radioactively is one of purpose of the film: I am just one more contaminated object of the explosion. Joshua have worked 8 years on this film which is the same amount of time Marcel Duchamp worked on Étant donnés (Given: 1 The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas, French: Étant donnés: 1° la chute d'eau / 2° le gaz d'éclairage).

Welcome to the "Spiritual Kingdom of Animals" | Slavoj Žižek on the moral vacuum of global capitalism.

The film - shot in Medan, Indonesia, in 2007 - reports on a case of obscenity which reaches the extreme: a film, made by Anwar Congo and his friends, who are now respected politicians, but were gangsters and death squad leaders playing a key role in the 1966 killing of cca 2,5 millions of alleged Communist sympathizers, mostly ethnic Chinese. The Act of Killing is about "killers who have won, and the sort of society they have built." After their victory, their terrible acts were not relegated to the status of the "dirty secret", the founding crime whose traces are to be obliterated - on the contrary, they boast openly about the details of their massacres (the way to strangle a victim with a wire, the way to cut a throat, how to rape a woman in a most pleasurable way...). In October 2007, the Indonesian state TV produced a talk show celebrating Anwar and his friends; in the middle of the show, after Anwar says that their killings were inspired by gangster movies, the beaming moderator turns to the cameras and says: "Amazing! Let's give Anwar Congo a round of applause!" When she asks Anwar if he fears the revenge of the victim's relatives, Anwar answers: "They can't. When they raise their heads, we wipe them out!" His henchman adds: "We'll exterminate them all!", and the audience explodes into exuberant cheers... one has to see this to believe it's possible. But what makes The Act of Killing extraordinary is also the level of reflexivity between documentary and fiction - the film is, in a way, a documentary about the real effects of living a fiction.

We had a long talk but I will focus here for Kopenhagen.dk on the moment Joshua speaks about art and the role of the artist.

THE ROLE OF THE ARTIST:

The film The Act of Killing use reenactments as a form and also a strategy to replay the past in the present and pertubate the future. In fact I found out that reenactments can have impact in today and tomorrow maybe can change history.

Joshua's film is creating waves in Indonesia, and we can not measure the size of the effect now, but they seem very high waves of radioactivity as the country step by step goes to a re-evaluation of it s history
re-evaluation/ repression? / or revolution?

It is not an art make to produce indifference.

On the challenges of releasing THE ACT OF KILLING in Indonesia - a new Australian article.

The aesthetic of emergency is not being visible as such immediately,
but left as a time bomb
gradually producing post effects increasing with the time
slowly: fast - contamination
fragementation
An Oeuvre á conséquence projecting his beeing in the future.

I don t think I agree with the film but it is a great artwork done by a great artist.

Listen to part of the talk:


The documentary The Act of Killing is kind of danish baby produced by a danish Final Cut Film Production, Copenhagen and shown by the CPH:DOX during a festival that will be part of art history (and film). Joshua is now a lot in Denmark and we should tell him a great welcome.

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