PERRY RHODAN #2600 Launches Open Access to all the Series’ Pages Ever Published

It is to be the “largest e-book project in the world”: Together with its technical partner book wire GmbH [1] the PERRY RHODAN editors are planning to make all previously released 200,000 pages of the series completely available for download – “a world record attempt,” as the publisher VPM [2] tells.

The attempt launches with the new “Jubillee” issue 2600 “Das Thanatos-Programm” of the weekly series, followed by the Silver Bands, and all other off-series paperback novels. The project is starting on 17 June with the launching very number 2600 of the world’s largest science-fiction novel series, which runs now for nearly 50 years and will celeberate this event in the end of September with a special world convention in Mannheim – WeltCon2011 [3] – an special event I am happy to contribute to in form of the “Space Design” panel. [4]

The e-Pub formatted files won’t be free of charge (€ 1,59), but they won’t be burdenend by any Digital Rights Management foo “to run on all e-reader platforms.” [5]

[1] Official book wire GmbH web site
[2] Official PERRY RHODAN web site
[3] Special WeltCon2001 themed web site by PERRY RHODAN
[5] reports “PERRY RHODAN zum Jubiläum kostenlos zum Download”

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Still in Control – or Under Control?

Film still from Volker Sattel’s Under Control, courtesy credo film

Three years ago – before the ongoing Fukushima meltdown crisis following March’s Japanese earthquake and the subsequent apocalyptic tsunami –, Volker Sattel began work on Unter Kontrolle (Under Control) unaware of its burning topicality in Germany’s particularly controversial debate about nuclear power. The documentary premiered in the Forum at the 2011 Berlinale and focuses on the ›here and now‹ of the almost publicly suppressed artefacts of a »hi-tech« era which was so characteristic for the booming post-war decades in the developed countries of the Western hemisphere. It gives a unique insight into the strange world of the nuclear industry which will now be off-limits to the public eye for many years – because of Fukushima.

Clearly timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster – still by far the worst nuclear power plant accident in history –, Volker Sattel’s »archaeology of the atomic age« skillfully captures the daily working routines in these cathedrals populated by a predominantly male order in never-before-seen pictures which meticulously subvert the original statements of this nuclear high priest caste. They seem to have fallen out of time as their monstrous mega-complexes are caught in a 1970s time loop.

The archaeological approach is evident when Sattel enters the pharaonic reactor core of Austria’s Zwentendorf nuclear power plant which never came online because of a referendum. Today, the partly dismantled facility serves as a training centre for engineers and staff of Germany’s nuclear power plant providers. Completely absurd and undermining the bright prospects for a future plutonium age are those scenes in the abandoned fast breeder reactor in Kalkar which has been turned into the »Kern-Wasser Wunderland« fairground attraction with its spectacular, but outlandish carousel inside the gigantic ventilation stack chimney.

This unforgettable imagery and the almost congenial atmospheric soundtrack of this strange world also show that Sattel has a clear eye for the pop-cultural iconography of science-fiction movie heritage – whether it is the deserted Kubrick-style mock-up control centres of the simulation centre in Essen, the post-doomsday images of demolished Chernobyl-type power plants in Eastern Germany, or – with a subtle sense of humour – the establishing dolly shot of a single nuclear fuel rod exhibit citing the famous opening in George Lucas’ Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) when the literally never-ending Imperial Star Destroyer of Darth Vader come onto the scene.

However, the enigmatic nuclear radiation isn’t an invisible »Phantom Menace«: abstract traces of radiation are shot in an alcohol-saturated »fog chamber«, the beauty of the supernatural blue Cherenkov radiation and, finally, the flickering radiation striking the spectator. The end titles are underlain with film footage exposed in the radioactive core of a research facility. A unique, but eerie moment in film history when the film stock is seemingly converting itself into an intimidating source of hazard. Are we still in control – or under control?

This review has been published in the recent print issue #100 of KINO – German Film & International Reports.

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“Czarnobyl Mutation” at ATM Gallery, Berlin

Flyer of Czarnobyl's "Mutation" exhibition at ATM Gallery, Berlin.

Still on exhibition at ATM Gallery [1] till May 29, 2010 you can get a glimpse of a genuine East European phenomenon of ‘phuturismatic’ aesthetics that is deeply embossed by the 1986 catastrophic nuclear trauma of Chernobyl – even avant la lettre.

Polish urban artist Czarnobyl [2] work is rooted in a tradition which were broadly recognised by Western audiences through Andrei Tarkovsky’s famous 1979 movie masterpiece Stalker [3] which prophetically visualised the idea of a kind of Pre-Chernobyl forbidden Zone were an uncanny entity is establishing paranormal influence upon the chosen few who dare to break the boundaries and eventually reach the Room in the very heart of the prohibited area.

Although loosely based upon Roadside Picnic [4]– a short story of Arkady and Boris Strugatsky – which has a more generic science fiction approach to its matter, Tarkovsky’s movie has a strong dystopian attitude and in its contemporary reception it has been sometimes read then as a reference to the aftermath of the so called Tunguska Event [5] or other strictly classified, but unmistakeably man-made nuclear incidents in Soviet history before the Chernobyl hellfire break lose.

The later successful ego-shooter game series S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl [6] borrowed key elements from both – the Strugatsky novel and the Tarkovsky movie and embossed positively a genuine ‘post-soviet’ style of game design and futurist envision which could be described by categories like heavily dark and grey dyed contrasts and a generally ‘wrecked’ and dystopian look and feel.

More interesting background information to this whole complex can be read at BLDGBLOG’s post “Ghosts of the Future: Borrowing Architecture from the Zone of Alienation” [7].

The artwork of polish born artist Czarnobyl fully fit into this scheme, but it seems he knows to over-exaggerate it to a degree where something unique is coming into play.

[1] Official ATM gallery web site
[2] Czarnobyl’s MySpace portfolio
[3] Wikipedia on Stalker
[4] Wikipedia on Roadside Picnic
[5] Wikipedia on the Tunguska Event
[6] Wikipedia on S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
[7] “Ghosts of the Future: Borrowing Architecture from the Zone of Alienation” by BLDGBLOG

Update: Today, May 25, 2010, 20:15 Franco-German high-brow culture TV channel ARTE brings the documentary Tschernobyl – Die Natur kehrt zurück (Chernobyl – Nature’s Turnig Back) (France, 2010, 90 mn) by Luc Riolon who focus on scientific observations from the Zone around the notorious havarist reactor cell. Reruns of this programme are scheduled for May 27, 2010 at 10:40 and June 15, 2010 at 01:05 – and don’t forget to use the web-based offer of a temporary archive service named ARTE+7.

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PHUTURAMA Entered the Hyperspace

The on-air Hyperrraum.TV logo is defintely extraterrestrial: Digits go Saturn!

Every of you who is interested to leran more of the first PHUTURAMA event in the framework of the transmediale.10 Salon Talks, here is a compact, but competent wrap-up by the Munich based scientifically and education-oriented Web TV channel called HyperraumTV. [1]

This is, by the way, a wonderful name (German expression for hyperspace) for a channel to cover the first PHUTURAMA results. The report on PHUTURAMA – “Visual Futurists im Dialog” – is in German language only, but it provides a distinguished summary of the event’s general ambition as well as of the single presentations completed by selected illustrations from the very slides as well as some footage presented on site.

Hyperraum.TV is a project of mediacomeurope GmbH [2], initiated and led by journalist and publisher Dr. Susanne Päch who has a long track record of corporate communication projects especially in affiliation with Deutsche Telekom AG.

[1] Link to the Hyperraum.TV report on PHUTURAMA, “Visual Futurists im Dialog”
[2] Website of mediacomeurope GmbH

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“Metropolis” Mythically Transgressed by Comic Artist Michael W. Kaluta

The Mensch-Maschine by comic artist Michael W. Kaluta's vintage graphic novel masterpiece of 1988, courtesy

In the wake of the Metropolis 27/10 renaissance (see recent post here in this blog [1]) at the 60th Berlinale, thanks to Nerdcore [2] and Golden Age Comicbook Stories [3] I stumbled over the 1988 masterpiece of comic art by renowned illustrator Michael W. Kaluta [4].

Kaluta has more and more turned his career into a still, but not merely comic-centric cover artist whereas his own series kept rare – StarstruckThe Shadow and Eve (a spin-off of The Sandman saga). Kaluta’s official homepage [5] is worth an intense study.

As this snippet from his Metropolis Graphic Novel based by the original Thea von Harbou novel shows that he is an extraordinary gifted penciller, although his elaborate style isn’t really suitable to fit into standard comic industries tight production requirements – heavily based on a strict division of labour.

Metropolis shows the awesome variety of Kaluta’s penciling abilities, but the tendency that every panel of the sequence wants to be more than just a decent servant oft the superordinate story line is evident. But to get the immersive power of the Metropolis myth you might get no better witness than this masterpiece of illustrative, not necessarily sequential art.

Michael W. Kaluta splash images might spark the imagination in a way the Alan Lee [6] artwork did for the classic Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings editions. It is no-brainer that, if in the aftermath of the Hollywood 3D frenzy a CGI obsessed sort of Peter Jackson would try to create a definite remake of Metropolis he would take Kaluta’s work as the 1:1 model for its production design.

The original Metropolis issue is out of print, so our initial Sinnspruch remains: “We Are Keeping A Close Eye on You!”

[1] Metropolis 27/10 – “We Are Keeping A Close Eye on You!”
[2] Nerdcore – “The Blog About Very Cool Stuff. Und so.”
[3 Golden Age Comicbook Stories – Dr. Door Tree's impressive resource on this very topic
[4] Wikipedia on Michael W. Kaluta
[5] The Art of Michael W. Kaluta
[6] Alan Lee’s Biography at BPIP – “A site devoted to illustrative art”

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“iPhuturity?” – Futurologia and Russian Utopias at THE GARAGE – CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY CULTURE, Moscow

An interesting announcement of two conjoint exhibitions [1] in the Moscow Garage CCC reached me: For all of you visiting Moscow until May 23, 2010,  this is a longer explannatory text sent to me, thanks  by Daria Beglova, PR Coordinator of THE GARAGE – CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY CULTURE (– Gregor Sedlag):

Futurologia: '3G International' by Electroboutique (Aristarkh Chernyshev, Alexei Shulgin in collaboration with Roman Minaev),courtesy o the artists and private collection

The two exhibitions Futurologia and Russian Utopias at the Garage present two separate projects, differentiated by their concepts, selected artists and curatorial approaches. However, at the same time, the two exhibitions form a relationship with one another. The artists in both exhibitions present different projections of the future influenced by the past – the future through the prism of the past.

The Garage invited Hervé Mikaeloff to curate an exhibition of contemporary Russian art from a uniquely international perspective. Through the overall concept and chosen artists in Futurologia, Hervé has highlighted many current Russian preoccupations which are being explored by artists working today.  The concept inspired young and up and coming Garage curators Yulia Aksenova and Tatiana Volkova to comment from a Russian perspective with an independent exhibition – Russian Utopias.


The linkage between the great Russian avant-garde artists such as Malevich is strong and Hervé wanted to show this rich heritage alongside new, large scale contemporary work.  Over 100 years ago, the avant-garde artists imagined alternative models of the future through their work.  Initially, the artists labelled themselves ‘futurists’, the name Avant-garde came retrospectively.

The two paintings by Kazimir Malevich underpin this concept. Malevich, known for his almost messianic visions for the future, developed a Suprematist school of thought, which intended to build new future. This future was represented through geometric abstraction on Malevich’s canvases. Later on, Malevich moved to figurative style of painting, where faceless peasants were meant to represent the new generation. Futurologia exhibits two paintings, each representing these styles, and sets out to explore both abstraction and figuration in Russian contemporary art.

Therefore, the exhibition has two sections – Science and Fiction which explores abstraction and Change and Permanence which references figuration.  This formalistic curatorial approach reveals how different artists respond to contemporary society either through abstract or figurative means. It also echoes the two directions of Malevich’s oeuvre, while posing questions on how these two approaches forecast or imagine a future relevant to Russian everyday reality.

It highlights the way the legacy of avant-garde has played a critical role in the formation of Russian contemporary art, as artists in the exhibition return to it through re-assessment and analysis, borrowing its visual language and interpreting the ideas in a contemporary context.

The two different sections of the exhibition explore some uneasy projections for the future. As the section titles imply, the artists interpretations vary from the definitive assertions of ‘science’ or ‘permanence’ to the vague ‘fiction’ and ‘change’.  This suggests a re-assessment of the past and its failures, including the failures of the avant-garde’s futuristic projections, coupled with their investigation of the contemporary society.

Hervé’s seemingly formal division of the exhibition into abstraction and figuration underpins deeper considerations for why these artists have decided to use such approaches for imaging the future.  The exhibition acts in conversation with Russian Utopias, showing both French and Russian approaches to curating Russian art.

Russian Utopias

Russian Utopias focuses only on the theme of Utopia, and the curators have shown works by both established and emerging artists spanning the last 20 years, it includes existing work and newly commissioned work.  The exhibition demonstrates how the concept of utopia has evolved over time, and has been subject to radically different interpretations from being regarded as an archaeological monument to acting as a vehicle to imagine an alternative future. By tracing the development of these ideas in contemporary art, the exhibition explores how utopian ideals and dreams are an important part of the Russian character and society today as much as the past.

The avant-garde was not only an artistic movement, but also a philosophical one which aimed to construct an alternative and ideal future to cope with everyday reality.  By exploring Utopia as a desire for the ideal, the curators seek to unveil the difference between the desired and the actual reality, as an aspect of human nature.

The exhibition is divided into two parts, the first focuses on the past, the second on the future. These two sections will be shown at different times through a re-hanging of the work part way through the exhibition.

The artists in the first section of the exhibition Tributes On the ruins of Great Utopias, explore the notion of an ideal world, the transformative influence of the Soviet Project and the Project’s legacy in contemporary Russia. The artists provide a very different presentation of utopia, presenting it as a myth which needs to be destroyed; or as a trauma, in which the collective is merged with individual experience; or as a vehicle for retrospective imagination.

The artists in the second section Future from Here, use utopian rhetoric to create alternative models of the future. The models vary from hi-tech futuristic representations of the city scapes or bio-technological achievements to negative, dystopian, outlooks. Other projections take various forms including escape, dream and paradise.


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“PIP My Ride!” Why Porsche’s 918 Spyder is a Bold Move into Car Industry’s Future

The '21st Century Porsche' – hopefully they don't put a James Dean avatar into its future-proof cockpit, courtesy Dr. Ing. h. c. F. Porsche AG

There is a saying that, on a medium turn basis, any car manufacturer in crisis could achieve a turn-around just by offering great cars. The Dr. Ing. h. c. F. Porsche AG was a manufacturer in crisis – until Monday evening, March 1, 2010, when the by now tenth Volkswagen sub-brand presented its concept study 918 Spyder [1] which rocked the traditional VW band wagon press event on the eve of the opening of the 80th Geneva International Motor Show. [2]

After nearly twenty years of ongoing success – predominately under the aegis of former CEO Wendelin Wiedeking – Porsche had lost its track and permutated into a presumptuous hedge fonds monster that aimed to acquire and lastly failed to consolidate the factor 10 bigger VW group. This was the final hybris as the result of a remarkable turn-around which started 1989 with the cut of the production-ready 4-door sports-sedan 989 in favour to just focus on the brand’s iconic 911 sports car and to phase-out all the other semi-fortunate front-engined models from the 1970s like the 944 respectively 968 series as well as the fat cat V8-powered 928 Gran Tourisme coupé.

A die-hard 911-only production line-up saved Porsche as a independent manufacturer in the beginning of the 1990s and let the company earn enough money to leap forward into modern automotive industry’s production realms and to finally – after nearly 35 years of production and continuous evolution – establish a new sports car platform that premiered with the mid-engined Porsche 986 Boxster in 1996 and the 1997 launch of the even more crucial rear-engined 911 Carrera successor 997. Both cars brought water-cooled boxer engines to the sports car range, extricated Porsche’s core product from the 1937 VW Beetle heritage without diluting the brand’s unique technological identity as the Audi-bred 924 range did twenty years ago.

The Cayenne Was a Spicy Sales Turbo

The next big step of “Wiedeking Midas” was the invention of a the spicy Cayenne SUV series, a class so different from the common Porsche sports car range that even the die-hardest amongst the Porsche afficionados could live and drive with it because of its sheer practicability. Brand loyalty wasn’t longer an act of self-asceticism or of – even worse – domestic violence against wife and children. Social acceptance eventually was an issue – the Cayenne was more a mighty utility vehicle than a Porsche-typical sports car targeted to please even the SUV-mad North-American market. Besides the more than careless fuel consumption it was the somewhat plump and blown-up design that endangered the company’s broadly accepted reputation.

Nonetheless the Cayenne was a success story and broadened the road for Porsche to be more than just a one-trick-pony. And the Cayenne’s mid-term face-lift resulted in a subtle, but effective design change that added a sort of Italian elegance to the big bold 4WD SUV ogre – in the meantime accused by many as one of the main causes of climate change. The second big step in the Wiedeking era almost risked to fail in the turmoils of the financial crisis and the on-going merger and acquisition battles in 2008 and 2009. It was the launch of a new model series that re-interpreted the 989 attempt twenty years ago which almost had killed the company: the 4-door Panamera sports sedan.

Panamera Is Not a Hand Lotion

Some say that that there were rarely a worse moment to launch the wrong car with a crippled marketing name. “Panamera” is an invention of “labeling czar” Gotta, is derivative of the prestigious Mexican Carrera Panamericana rally raid that inspired Zuffenhausen’s name finding from the early victorious heydays on. Probably the marketing guys didn’t like the full name not only because it were too long to get attached to the car’s wide stern, but to not stir up Anti-American affections amongst Porsche’s important Middle-East customer base in Saudi-Arabia and the Emirates.

The car is in its tiny market niche – you could mention the Maserati Quattroporte, the Aston Martin Rapide and the Mercedes-Benz CLS in AMG version – technologically a class of its own and delivers more sports car feeling than the competitors. But, similar to the Cayenne’s original design, it doesn’t look so Porsche-like than it should. In favour to rise the greenhouse’s capacity at the backseat row they spoiled the sporty 911-inspired line and created a more than bulky back-end. Following the example of the first Cayenne generation, we will hopefully see a more audacious mid-term face-lift that will vamp up the car towards the designers’ initial ideas.

And by the way, the latest 911 Carrera 998 face-lift wasn’t the brand mover than the fans would have expected. Even dedicated Porsche enthusiasts would have problems to indicate immediately in the wild if there was the new 998 instead of the six-year old predecessor in front of them. In the end the only fascinating activity – aside rocking the stock markets and forcing well-established, but mis-speculating entrepreneurs into suicide – was the opening of the Stuttgart-based new Porsche Museum. A spectacular architectural sculpture that above all seems to communicate how shallow the company’s car design has become in the meantime.

So, Porsche Really Has Got a Problem

Coming back to the initial statement of this post, that any car manufacturer could solve his business problems by just inventing great cars, Porsche seems to have learned the lesson that suicide because of facing death is not an option. The March 1, 2010, presented 918 Spyder is a bold move not only for Porsche, but for the entire car industry. It shows that the invention of new ‘green’ technology must be part of a top-down strategy, instead of bottom-up. Elitist high-tech solutions – albeit environmentally enlightened or just performance-driven  – are a primarily moment for automotive fascination and they will sparkle innovations in the standard models. For the Porsche brand itself the 918 Spyder is crucial because the company is coming on a par with its two major Italian competitors again to define the sports car’s cutting edge. Ferrari really made tremendous progresses in technology, reliability and over-all sophistication without losing its traditional fascination as the most desirable brand and the VW-owned Lamborghini, backed up by the concern’s enormous technological and business capacities, could establish a stance as a more than purely exotic and outrageous testosterone-driven fashion statement.

Porsche 918 Spyder – The Overall Package

Although I would have liked to see a closed-cabin coupé instead of another Spyder after the 918′s super car predecessor Carrera GT there is some race-bred marketing logic in this decision. First of all, the Carrera GT was a success in the high-market super car segment and it results in a sort of sound business logic to not give-up a well established market position. Secondly, Ferrari’s contemporary counterpart of the GT was an uncompromising thoroughbred Formula-1 inspired race coupé, the Ferrari Enzo Ferrari, whereas the Carerra was the even better race track performer by also providing boulevard cruising capability for the extroverted gentleman driver. Thirdly, package-wise, the 918 Spyder draws inspiration from Porsche’s current very successful Le Mans Prototype Class 2 RS Spyder which brings in real race credibility to the new concept study which consensually won’t remain a study. Hopefully the production car remains it stunning compact dimensions. Size does matter in the super car league, but often to impose a certain will for supremacy against practicability.

Forget the Toyota Prius – Green Technology Is Ready to Race

These are the most important facts of the 918′s plug-in hybrid powertrain, called PIP – Porsche Intelligent Performance: A 500-horsepower gasoline V8 with 4,6 litre capacity – a derivative of the LMP2 RS Spyder engine (?) – supported by three electric motors, in front and rear axles as well as  integrated in the gear’s double-clutch, delivering a surplus of 216 zero-emission horsepowers. Porsche claims to move the car with a carbon footprint of only 70g/km in economy mode and to provide a consolidated fuel consumption of only 3,0 litre per hundred kilometers. These are fable figures for a 700-plus-horsepower super car. It indicates a complete paradigm shift in automotive culture. You like to go buying your breakfast Brötchen by car? As the owner of a super car this wasn’t a good idea until now. When returning home the Brötchen still might be kept warm from the oven, your engine wasn’t definitely not yet. With a 918 Spyder freshly charged up in your garage overnight and good for 25 kilometers you could roll in E-Drive mode to your favorite bakery – sneaking silently and smoothly in a stealth mode. What a show – without any roar!

But the electrical engines are not only good for urban stealth mode in 30 km/h speed limited zones, they are supporting the race-bred high revving engine with low-end torque when needed to cope with the vernacular power diesel Kombi in everyday Autobahn traffic (Hybrid mode) or to deliver the jet-like afterburner extra-punch when really getting serious with the car in Sport or Race Hybrid mode, latter on track preferably. These are new dimensions in super car abilities and even when these features appear at first in the absolute high end of the premium car segment (400,000 EUR and more), it is good news, because these power features will hit the shelves of the standard production car segments for the rest of us until 2020, latest.

It was high time for Porsche to set standards and front running this new technological era. Ferrari is going to launch hybrid-mode super cars like the 599 GTB Fiorano HGTE or the Enzo successing code-named F70. And not to forget the small, but pioneering small e-vehicle boutiques like Tesla or Fisker. Porsche, now, is delivering a complete package satisfying all the desires that you would associate with hybrid powertrains: A comprehensible stand-alone zero-emission E-Drive mode for urban and inner city environments, a plug-in rechargeable battery system and uncompromising performance figures through electrical support in the sports car program specifications. [3]

Re-Vamping the Porsche Style

Last, but not least, the design of the Porsche 918 Spyder is a revelation after the above moaned style flaws and lacks of attitude in the entire model range. First of all, ‘biorganic’ retro-design is dead! More than fifteen years Porsche celebrated their back-to-the-roots design festival, but lost contact to the contemporary “new edge” design language paradigm. The 918 is unmistakably Porsche, but its front lights derive from rectangular basics, its overall shape in no longer a blown-up 365 plumper style, but an athletically defined, techno-futuristic machine that is breathing race flair and is transpirating mesmerising electrical agility.

The front-end incorporates integrated spoiler-like cooling vents intersecting with a sculptured snood that is deeply ducked to the ground. It is a familiar Porsche face, but it is a futuristic re-interpretation which in a complementary way focus the aggressive shape of the lower underbody carbon fibre air intake. The mid-body is waisted in favour of further lateral air and cooling intakes which are wrapping the wider rear end with a sharp spoiler-attached stern. The rear lights graphic is clean and aggressively looking, the complete contrary of the Daliesque and obviously Kia-inspired shapes of the new Cayenne’s ones. The engine hood with its two characteristic bulges and central air vent looks so technologically extroverted in comparison to the 918 predecessing Carrera GT.

The cockpit and dashboard also reclaim to provide a big step forward for Porsche’s often criticised and kind of inappropriate interior design. It provokes in me the feeling it could set you in control of a deeply sophisticated, highly evolved technological system instead of just a car. After years and years of whimsically intersected gauges the first time we can see that this nonsense comes to an end: They are just slightly visually overlapping because the instruments are housing in separately arranged stand-alone shells.

Whatever Porsche is planning with a possible production run of its latest Geneva hit, more relevant is, even it remained only a design exercise, the 918 Spyder  is opening a lot of promising options for the upcoming 911 and Boxster/Cayman generations to regain the meanwhile  sporadically bored and yawning audience for Porsche again. And you will see how many Hollywood celebrities will escape their Toyota Prius or even Tesla roadsters fast to drive a really electrifying Porsche super car. We should applaud them when changing to the better.

[1] Dr. Ing. h. c. F. Porsche AG Corporate Website Linked to 918 Spyder Webspecial
[2] Official Website of the 80th Geneva International Motor Show
[3 Porsche's Press Release in English Language with Lots of In-Depths Technical Specifications

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“All Along the Watchtower.” Future Archaeologies by Armin Linke

Reclaim the White Space: 'Kosturnica, Monument to Local Victims in WWII, Prilep, Macedonia', 2009, photographic print, 50 x 60 cm, Ed.: 1/5, 2AP; courtesy Klosterfelde Gallery

In the wake of this year’s very successful transmediale.10 tag line “Futurity Now!” a Twitter link thrown at me and referring to a current exhibition of Armin Linke’s at Future Archaeologies at Klosterfelde Gallery, Berlin draw my attention. The exhibition is quite small, but well selected. The collection of Linke’s photographs provides images of really existing kind of science fiction scenarios that have come to life long ago – and now are just stranded and obsolete artifacts and subject to slow-fading decay. [1]

Most impressing work of art is Linke’s exceptional 3D video Nuclear Voyage which looks like the never seen prologue to Andrei Tarkowsky’s masterpiece Stalker in a deeply sad Post-Tchernobyl world of “eternal coma.” The former future technology looks anything, but shiny. The obligatory radiation- and security-checks documented in long takes by the left-over staff of the actually inactive nuclear power stations and waste sites are a long farewell to yesterday’s high hopes of a better tomorrow.

An ironic twist by the artist is to present this footage from the glory holes of nuclear ambitions in colorful 3D-technology which could be seen as a perspicacious comment on the current hype regarding spatial viewing of images in mainstream movie spectacles like John Cameron’s Avatar or Tim Burton’s current re-interpretation of Alice in Wonderland. Armin Linke’s melancholic 3D masterpiece is a voyage into the phantom limb syndrome of our past’s failed futures.

Duration of the exhibition until March 13, 2010. Opening hours: Tuesdays through Saturdays 11 – 6 pm and by appointment.

[1] Website of Klosterfelde Gallery, Potsdamer Strasse 93, 10785 Berlin

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“White Noise – and Beyond the Infinite!”

To Infinity – and Beyond! Buzz Lightyear abused my iPhone to post this pic of Žilvinas Kempinas' 'White Noise'

The transmediale.10 exhibition Future Obscura [1] – curated by Honor Hager –  presented artworks that use the materials, mechanisms and machines of image-making to illuminate and define our relationship with atemporality – the collision of past, present and future.

One of my favorites artworks in this exhibition was a quite simple, but aesthetically very effective installation by Žilvinas Kempinas, born 1969 in Lithuania who lives and works now in New York. [2] He uses unspooled videotape and electric fans to conjure transfixing visual conundrums such as Flying Tape (2004), which levitated a room-size loop of video tape on the air currents from a circle of fans; and White Noise (2007), which recreated a monumental kinetic screen of “weißem Rauschen”  on the gallery wall. [3]

In the FUTURITY NOW! context it is the work’s stunning force of attraction – cleverly arranged as the single work in a separate room at the HKW – that appealed to me the most  and lured me to getting absorbed by the infinitely buzzing environment.

Quite similar to Dr. David Bowman’s voyage through the 2001 – A Space Odysse’s “Star Gate” you are encountering the vertigo of the racing at great speed across vast distances of space aware to dive into eternity. It’s my second personal reminiscence [4] to Stanley Kubrick’s groundbreaking moving picture in the transmediale.10 context and it says  a lot  about Future Obscura’s definition of atemporality: 2001 defined an image of the future which won’t disappear into the white noise.

[1] transmediale.10 Exhibition Future Obcura
[2] Wikipeda on Žilvinas Kempinas
[3] transmediale.10 Installation White Noise
[4[ PHUTURAMA post on Félix Luque Sánchez’ Chapter I – The Discovery

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Metropolis 27/10 – “We Are Keeping A Close Eye on You!”

This isn't Clark Kent: The re-discovered Thin Man (Fritz Rasp), Joh Fredersen's private eye, observes the patriarch's rebellious son Freder (courtesy Murnau-Stiftung / Museo del Cine)

On February 12, 2010, the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Foundation’s almost completely restored original Metropolis 27/10 version celebrated a highly acclaimed premiere performed live in two cities simultaneously: in Frankfurt am Main’s Alte Oper as part of the interdisciplinary project cooperation Phänomen Expressionismus as well as at the Friedrichstadtpalast on the occasion of the 60th Berlin International Film Festival. [1]

The newly adapted music score, which is based on the original 1927 one, has accompanied both screenings. In Berlin, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin played under the direction of Frank Strobel, and  in Frankfurt, the Staatsorchester Braunschweig performed under the direction of Helmut Imig. The Franco-German culture channel arte took the chance to broadcast the event live on TV – and, an intrepid crowd of cinephilic die-hards gathered in the winter’s cold in front of the Brandenburg Gate at Berlin’s Pariser Platz. [2]

From Babylon to Belsen

From a PHUTURAMA perspective there is nothing new in Metropolis 27/10. The lost scenes, fortunately saved by an Argentinian distributor immediately after the controversial Berlin premiere of 1927, were expurgated from Fritz Lang’s original cut at least to save the commercially crucial U. S. exploitation, but it almost completely ruined Metropolis’ narrative structural integrety for decades.

It is now becoming clear that the until then very chlichéd story (“The New Tower of Babel”) is primarily propelled by the fundamental clash of the two big egos of Johann “Joh” Fredersen and the inventor Rotwang who were the founders of the gigantic high-tech city of Metropolis. They split up because of their love for the same women called Hel. She tragically passed away whilst giving birth to the son of the lately victorious Joh Fredersen who had become the undisputed hegemon of the vertically integrated Great Society of Metropolis – a Fordist nightmare of class segregation.

The brilliant, but finally vanquished Rotwang never overcomes his defeat and so he constructs a robotic (wo)man-machine to substitute his late beloved and idolised Hel. But it’s not Hel who is eventually becoming the matrix of the iconic Mensch-Maschine, it’s a young woman named Maria preaching the virtues of love and reconciliation to the impoverished workers in the abandoned Unterstadt catacombs. From the first accidental encounter in the Oberstadt’s elitist Forever Gardens it is this woman who Freder Fredersen – the magnat’s rebellious son and ‘mediating’ heart of the story – has fallen in love with.

After Rotwang disclosures his secret surrogate of Hel to Joh Fredersen, the patriarch himself forces the inventor to alter the robot form to replicate the new girl in town, Maria, who is evidently becoming a menace to the authorities. Fredersen is intending to use Rotwang’s ingenious automaton to regain his influence over the workers and his dissident son. Rotwang assents only perfunctorily to Fredersen’s plot, aiming to execute cold revenge against the rival and to destroy his metropolitan supremacy. The ‘fake’ Maria is attended to spur the underprivileged working class on to ultimately rage against the machine. The ‘machine’ as in Herz-Maschine, epitomising the entire system, not as in Mensch-Maschine. The uprising against the latter ironically comes to pass as a consequence of the first, when both villain’s sinister ambitions happened to fail by epic proportions.

The arch-malefactor Rotwang’s plot doesn’t succeed in the end, thanks to the original, humane and saint-like Maria and her loving redeemed ‘Mediator’ Freder Fredersen. After a joint heroic rescue of the lUnterstadt children abandoned by  the catastrophic surge as the insinuated consequence of the unleashed underclass’s rioting, Labour and Capital close a historic compromise in front of the holy church – citing the movie’s initial Sinnspruch: “The Mediator Between the Hand and the Brain Must be the Heart.”

This happy ending is emblematic in the context of the profoundly disturbed Weimarer Republik of the 1920s, when the Nazi regime could eventually achieve a sort of long yearned ‘compromise’ between the hand and the brain by a charismatic leader, advanced political propaganda, and brute as well as total terror – domestically and abroad.

The Anti-Modernist Monument

Metropolis prophetically envisioned the Holocaust avant la lettre in the hallucinatory sequence of the illuminated Freder Fredersen when he is confronted for the first time with the exploited workers’ misery at the central Herz-Maschine which then mutates for him into a giant man-eating Moloch of industrial mass-destruction.

There are lots of fascinating motifs of religious thought and tradition which make Metropolis’ intention look very alt-fränkisch and sceptically anti-modernist in contrast to the prevailing ultra-futuristic commonplaces like man-machine interfaces, video-phones and mile-high towers in the skies. So, beyond its iconic and paradigmatic visual as well as cinematographic qualities, Metropolis 27/10, in its reconstructed narrative, becomes an important historic witness to the unique and fatal Anti-Western mental state of Germany’s pre-Third-Reich society.

[1] The Official Website of the 60th Berlin International Film Festival
[2] metropolis2710 – The Special Website of “The World Premiere of the Restored Version of Metropolis in Frankfurt and Berlin”

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2010 – A Platonic Solid Meets »KuBrick« at Transmediale

In our mental 2010 movie, this time the earthlings could have pampered the alien entity from beyond (courtesy Other Sounds)

2010 – The Year We Make Contact by Peter Hyams was the 1984 sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s groundbreaking 2001: A Space Odyssee – both movies based on novels by British writer Arthur C. Clarke –, but it was an epic fail and an inexcusable offense against any audience attracted to a further exploitation of the by then and till now peerless as well as untouchable monolith of science fiction cinema.

But now there is a new hope for Berlin: 2010 is the year, we make contact with the condign successor of the mysterious black “KuBrick” – which seems meanwhile to be regarded as the cinematographic set design’s equivalent to Malevich’s Black Square. [1]

Its shape aims to be one of the five Platonic solids, the Dodecahedron, it is black as well, but it is communicating with us not only by sound, yet by his light emitting edges. It’s this year’s transmediale.10 Award nominee Félix Luque Sánchez’ Chapter I – The Discovery. [2]

More then the sheer object on display at the Instituto Cervantes Berlin during transmediale.10 [3], there are the few, but distinguished video sequences that loop the fictitious discovery of the dodecahedronic anomaly in strange, but beautifully sorted environments. The video stills of Sánchez’ footage – with support of Iñigo Bilbao (3D videos) and Nicolás Torres (video camera) provide the impact of the forever missing 2010 movie Stanley Kubrick never wanted or dared to realise and we all dream of like the Star Child in the final sequence of the original Space Odyssee.

[1] Wikipedia image of Kasimir Malevich’s Black Square
[2] Félix Luque Sánchez’ Website Other Sounds
[3] transmediale.10 Award Nominee Chapter I – The Discovery

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»Stream Ahead!« PHUTURAMA Schedule and Live Streaming

An awesome 'pre-historic mortherfucker' by Big Lazy Robot, presented by Oliver Handlos, S&F Berlin

PHUTURAMA Sub-Conference on Speculative, Fictitious and Futuristic Art and Design at transmediale.10 Salon Talks will started Wednesday, February 3,2010 at 14:00 and has been streamed by the festival’s partner serve-u and can be watched in the transmediale Media Archive:


1400 – 1415 Moderation: Dr. Sandro Gaycken, Institut für Philosophie, Universität Stuttgart

1415 – 1445 P1 – Herbert W. Franke (PHUTURAMA Keynote Theorie)
1445 – 1500 P1 – Q&A / Discussion

1500 – 1515 P2 – Christian Heller, Futurist und Filmkritiker (Impuls: Visual Language of SF-Design in Film & TV)

1515 – 1535 P3 – Oliver Handlos, Creative Director, Scholz & Friends Berlin (SF-Design in Mainstream Media)
1535 – 1545 P3 – Q&A / Discussion

1545 – 1600 Pause

1600 – 1630 P4 – Michael Khaimzon, Lead Artist Crytek (PHUTURAMA Keynote Praxis)1630 – 1645 P4 – Q&A / Discussion

1645 – 1705 P5 – Holger Logemann, Korvettenprojekt 3435 A.D. (SF-Fandom: Das heimliche Impeium)
1705 – 1715 P5 – Q&A / Discussion

1715 – 1745 P6 – Christian Bennat & Marten Suhrš, c-base-Open-Moon-Project-Teams im Google-Lunar-X-Prize (Get real!)
1745 – 1800 P6 – Q&A / Discussion

1800 – 1830 P7 – Alan N. Shapiro, Software-Entwickler und Hyperreality-Theoretiker (“The Car of the Future”)
1830 – 1900 P7 – Diskussion + allgemeines “Resumee”

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»Doing Strange Things on the Moon?« PHUTURITY NOW! premieres with dorkbot.bln

PHUTURITY NOW! Installations, meetings, events under the blacklight of Bobblespace.

Since “Fly Utopia!” transmediale.2004, c-base, the open structured, independent research hub for the pursuit of scientific, cultural and other futuristic concerns of general public utility, is presenting each year a special programme week of media art and activism coinciding with and transmediale.10 and CTM.10. With PHUTURITY NOW! in 2010 the c-base main hall will be transformed into a ‘vintage 3d wireframe’ environment by Stefan Baumgärtner’s installation ‘Bobblespace’ [1], while the c-lab team will display their ’c-base 3d-printer-demo’ and ‘ c-base multi-touch console’ installations at the starting dorkbot.bln event on Monday, February 1, 2010. A dorkbot highlight and a first glimpse of PHUTURAMA is the c-base Open Moon presentation of the Google Lunar-X-Prize team’s C-ROVE concept in fantastic renderings by mars [2].

• Monday, February 1, 2010; 20:00 > 5 € (Access free with CTM.10/transmediale.10 Festival Pass):
Doing Strange Things with Electricity, featuring: c-base 3d-printer (RepMan setup, installation & first testrun) by the c-lab team, ScreamPONG by ProjektionsAreal e. V. [3], C-ROVE (Moon rover design & development) by benone & mars, c-base Open Moon Project. Folowed by OpenMoon presentations, e. g. lazor experiences by gismo of Raumfahrtagentur. [4]

• Tuesday, February 2, 2010; 20:00 > Entrance free
Electronica, krautrock, synthesizer jam sessions – the weekly c-base jam session featuring PlayLive, an Ableton multi-touch user interface [5].

• Wednesday, February 3, 2010; 19:00 > Entrance free
Special get-together of the Berlin freifunk community at CTM.10/transmediale.10. freifunk is a non-commercial, free and open initiative that takes part in the global movement for creating free communication infrastructures. Featuring Freifunk Future of WIFI in metropolises / Status Berlin Talk (de); Smartphones vs. Cyborgs Talkshow (de) [Yan „t“ Minagawa & Stephan Karpischek] The Future of mobile personal assistants.

• Thursday, February 4, 2010; 20:00 > Entrance free
c-base Open Moon Project presentation, a side-event of Phuturama – Symposium on Speculative, Fictitious and Futuristic Design.

• Friday, February 5, 2010; 20:00 > Access free with CTM.10/transmediale.10 Festival Pass
Live classless Kulla & istari Lasterfahrer; Rubberhair; M. Featuring 2d & 3d-plotterbar (RepMan) and Video Community Lounge.

• Saturday, February 6, 2010; 20:00 > Access free with CTM.10/transmediale.10 Festival Pass

[1] Stefan Baumgärtner’s Website Bobblespace
[2] c-base Open Moon Official Google Lunar-X-Prize Team Website
[3] ProjektionsAreal e. V.
[4] Raumfahrtagentur
[5] Marco Kuhn’s Website

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»Transmediale is a Monster!«

The HKW aka the "Pregnant Oyster" is hosting a monster that not even Æon Flux could cope with (Photo Jonathan Gröger, courtesy transmediale.09)

The Haus der Kulturen der Welt and its entire neighbourhood is under siege by German police. It is Tuesday morning, February 26, 2010 and we are not part of another dystopian SF thriller since Æon Flux [1], Kary Kusama’s 2005 adaption of the correspondent MTV animated series from the early 1990s, although the architectural installation heavily under construction by raumlaborberlin [2] fits in the ample foyer of the classic modernist 1950s conference facility like a perfect film set.

It is the annual main press conference event of the two festival siblings that share the “transmediale” brand and against all odds of an almost entirely blocked Tiergarten, caused by the security nightmare associated with the Israeli president Shimon Peres’ state visit to Berlin, many press people, blogosphericalists and supporting programme curators have gathered together in the upcoming PHUTURAMA K1 room. They are listening to festival artistic directors Stephen Kovats (transmediale.10) and Jan Rohlfs (CTM Overlap – Sound & Other Media) under the firm and friendly direction of Sally Below from sbca [3].

After having flooded the poor press people with an unavoidable information overload, at the adjacent Meet & Mingle, all two festivals’ staff are confessing each others that they themselves have lost overview of what is happening in town from Friday, January 29, 2010 on. “The transmediale is a monster” and “If I only knew what I am going to miss.” are some of the statements flocking around the professional crowd.

transmediale.n – festival for art and digital culture berlin [4]

Reason enough to start the attempt to sort out some basic recommendations for all interested visitors and bystanders of the upcoming festivals events beyond PHUTURAMA. But, first of all: Why two festivals and how two differentiate them? The ‘original’ transmediale was founded in 1988 by Micky Kwella to complement the allmighty Berlin International Film Festival “Berlinale” as a video and related time-based media side-kick, but it quickly evolved into a festival institution of its own right at the realms of media art and digital culture. Later driven by charismatic artistic director Andreas Broeckmann and co-curating Susanne Jaschko who both introduced an interest for software art and re-launched the festival in 2001 as an important contributor to the European art scene with their ever-changing imperative tag-lines like “Go Public!” (2002), “Fly Utopia!” (2004) or “Unfinish!” (2007). A tradition followed by current artistic director Stephen Kovats who has broaden the festival’s focus to general issues of societal relevance in the particular contexts of media art. The transmediale festival format consists nowadays of a media art Competition, a costly and well-selected media art Exhibition, a track of Performances, a Conference and accompanying Salon Talks and myriads of other side events by third parties (“tm.satellites”) throughout whole town which make transmediale such a “monster.” Probably you can get media art events and installations here in a density in ten days you couldn’t get in the rest of the country for the entire season.

CTM – Festival for Adventurous Music and Related Visual Arts [5]

And then there is the CTM (club transmediale), the “Festival for Adventurous Music and Related Visual Arts”, which started 1999 as a one-off Special Programme for the transmediale focusing on the vivid electronic music club culture in Berlin which then sucessfully sparked another festival format by its own which is more and more just loosely affiliated to its media art sister transmediale. This is mostly documented by the fact that the CTM follows its own programmatic mottoes and tag-lines which are completely independent from the ones of the transmediale agenda. In 2010 the artistic directors and curators of CTM, Oliver Baurhenn, Jan Rohlfs and Remco Schuurbiers (all from the backing DISK/ctm entity) are follow their 2009 STRUCTURES to the promised land of OVERLAP. In the tradition of the well-established Barcelonese Sonar festival, CTM nowadays falls apart into a conference Day Program at the new independent art and cultural center .HBC [6] in the middle of Berlin’s City-East and the a Night Program at one of city’s club-cultural battleships, the ever-roaming WMF [7]. A third major venue is the nearby temporary exhibition space SPA (for Spandauer Straße 2) which is hosting further art, lectures, workshops, panel discussions and presentations. If you are not confused yet, eat this! A MAZE. Interact [8] is a festival in itself, embedded into CTM.10 to explore and discuss the increasing convergence of music, sound and computer games. At last year’s transmediale days they contributed to the c-base e. V. SNOW PLAY [9] partner event with their own very successful Jump’n Run: BONUS CHEAT, now they are transforming their concept into a proto-festival  – hopefully to the next level of the ever-spreading Berlin media festival landsape.

Some Selected Highlights:

• Saturday, January 30, 2010; 23:00: WMF Floor 1 HEAT, because of VJ SNIPER (CTM.10)

• Sunday, January 31, 2010; 15:30-21:30: .HBC, A MAZE Interact Symposium, featuring Keiichi Yano “The Future of Music in Games” (CTM.10)

• Monday, February 1, 2010; 20:00: c-base e. V. PHUTURITY NOW!, the annual DORKBOT.BLN gathering and vernissage of the Bobblespace mainhall installation (tm.10 & CTM.10)

• Tuesday, February 2, 2010; 18:00: HKW, the prestigious Opening Ceremony of transmediale.10 FUTURITY NOW! with an appearance of PHUTURAMA participant Herbert W. Franke (tm.10)

• Wednesday, February 3, 2010; 14:00-19:00: HKW, *guess what?* (tm.10)

• Thursday, February 4, 2010; 15:00: .HBC, Friends, Helpers. Deflectors.“This s not a Game – Alternate Realities: Expanding Digital Narrative into Real Life” Lecture by Christina Maria Schollerer & Winfried Gerling (CTM.10)20.00: c-base e. V. PHUTURITY NOW!, PHUTURAMA Lounge feat. c-base Open Moon Google X-Prize Competition team presentation

• Friday, February 5, 2010; 15:00: .HBC,  Morphing & Mingling: Sound & Art. “Art as Party, Party as Art – From Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable to Today” Lecture by Cornelia & Holger Lund (CTM.10)

• Saturday, February 6, 2010; 16:30: HKW, Future Observatory.“Atemporality – A Cultural Speed Control“, Panel featuring Keynote by Bruce Sterling (tm.10)

• Sunday, February 7, 2010; 17:00: HKW, Future Observatory. “Liquid Democracies”, Panel featuring Sascha Lobo e. a.

Please, don’t rely on these recommendations and explore for yourself. For, when I am writing these notes I am realising that I missed on Thursday, January 28, 2010 the CTM.10 Opening Night at the HAU2 – Hebbel am Ufer and it wasn’t even blocked by any authorities: “Transmediale is a monster!”

[1] Wikipedia on Æon Flux – The Movie
[2] transmediale.10 Festival Architecture by raumlaborberlin
[3] sally below cultural affairs
[4] Official Website of FUTURITY NOW! transmediale.10
[5] Official Website of CTM.10 – OVERLAP – Sound & Other Media
[6] The former Haus Ungarn CTM.10 Festival Venue
[7] WMF Club Berlin
[8] A MAZE.Interact CTM.10 Microsite
[9] SNOW PLAY c-base tm.09 & CTM.09 Partner Event Microsite

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German FAZ Sets Avatar’s International Reception in US-vs-PRC Synopsis

Hyper-Urbanisation Criticism or Un-American Activities? Hell's Gate on Pandora (Source:

James Cameron’s Avatar [1] is a tremendous commercial success and will recuperate the long and fruitful relationship between Hollywood’s Big Business blockbusters and the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre itself. Probably it is doing for 3D cinema what Halo did 2001 for the X-Box in the game branch: It is more important for its ground-breaking 3D theatrical projection technology than for visionary ‘phuturist’ statements of artistic excellence in art or design.

Although I don’t have seen it either in 3D spectacles version nor in standard 2D yet, I am tending to follow my strong prejudgements against this ‘Pocahontas-in-Space’ and trying to procrastinate any close encouters of whatever kind as long as possible. But having  in mind that our upcoming PHUTURAMA session [2] does not reflect explicitly the world-wide success of this stunningly well performing Science Fiction mega-blockbuster, I am lucky to get inspired to write something in this particular blog by the occasion that my favourite newspaper confronted their Feuilleton readers on January 21, 2010 with two synoptically arranged stories [3], referring the different reception and debate in the People’s Republic of China and in the movie’s domestic U. S. homeland.

Out of the Blue?

Avatar seems to serve as a perfect bluescreen for projecting randomly heteregenous political notions and criticisms onto it. Following the report from Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung correspondent the Chinese response seems to interprete and identify the role of the movie’s indigenous Pandoran Na’vi – ‘native’ or just ‘naïve’? – with the obstructive movement against brute force or just plain criminal-minded  ’urbanisation’ practices which completely re-rendered the surface of Chinese cityscapes from scratch and produced anti-modernistic counter-heroes like the inhabitants of the famous “nail house” [4] in Chongqing. Indeed, this iconic building really resembles the Pandora’s low-gravity caused shifting mountain compounds. Limiting the cinemas that are playing the movie has been suspected therefore as an anti-oppositional move of repression by the all-mighty censorship authorities to promote the upcoming launch of a more patriotic movie on Confuzius.

Into the Black?

Verena Lueken on the other hand sums up the major complaints that has shaken the “red” Republican-American reception confronted with Avatar’s tremendous box office success. Whereas the Chinese reception got a liberal and anti-gouvernemental spin, the U. S. right wing media protagonists like John Nolte of Big Hollywood or John Podhoretz of Weekly Standard smelled betrayal and claimed completely Un-American Activities behind the movie’s simple plot. James Cameron, never denying his solid rootedness in 1960s hippie sub-culture, is suspected to undermine America’s strength and fortune by blackmailing U. S. Armed Forces, free entrepreneurship and the justified “War on Terror” – all represented in Avatar’s predominant Resources Development Administration (RDA – as an aside: signalled by a completely dull and ridiculous logo). But a free-wheeling “quasi-governmental administrative entity (QGAE)” [5] isn’t entirely unparalleled in the history of colonialism and a thankful stand-up enemy in any action flick since the creation of the world (‘Creation’ as in ‘Grand Design’). All that cries “Blackwater!”, whereas this controversial company itself (probably in reaction of such unintended castings and vaguely mantled innuendos) shifted their brand name recently into Xe Services. [6] Don’t follow this link, muhaha! Guess what? Nobody would confuse now a well-respected private military contractor and security consulting firm with a completely fictitious Hollywood blockbuster villainous entity.

In the end, all these allegations could easily point at Rupert Murdoch’s Fox produced real-time TV success series 24 as well – with the sublime difference that in Avatar a Jack-Bauer-like character mask does not necessarily strangle innocent beings to go blue in the face.

[1] Avatar: The Official Movie Site
[2] PHUTURAMA Session at transmediale.10 Salon Talks, February 3, 2010, 14:00 – 19:00
[3] The FAZ Stories on Avatar Reception in the U. S. and P. R. China
[4] The “Nail House” Lemma in English Language Wikipedia
[5] Yes, There Is a Web 2.0 Fansite Called “Pandorapedia”
[6] I warned you!

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