Nachrichten aus der ideologischen Antike, Marx, Eisenstein – Das Kapital

Alexander Kluge2008/2015

la Biennale di Venezia - Biennale Arte 2015

la Biennale di Venezia - Biennale Arte 2015

Alexander Kluge
Born in Halberstadt, Germany, in 1932.
He lives and works in Munich, Germany.

A pioneer of New German Cinema, Alexander Kluge has closely adhered to the revolutionary appeal of the 1962 Oberhausen Manifesto, which called upon young German filmmakers to honor the anticommercial “ideology of film.” His career as a filmmaker took off when the philosopher Theodor W. Adorno introduced him to the German–Austrian filmmaker Fritz Lang in 1956. Now also an accomplished filmmaker and writer, Kluge has created dozens of films and books that draw freely on real and invented documentary materials, interviews, diagrams, newsreels, and other sources in order to question and overturn bourgeois values. At the Biennale di Venezia, a shorter version of Kluge’s nine-hour documentary Nachrichten aus der ideologischen Antike: Marx/Eisenstein/Capital (News from Ideological Antiquity: Marx/Eisenstein/Capital) is being presented as a three-channel video installation. This film, based on Sergei Eisenstein’s plan to “cinematize” Karl Marx’s Capital, departs from its source. As Kluge has noted, Eisenstein’s phrase—to cinematize— conveyed his limitless confidence in film’s capacity to translate Marx’s work into a compelling visual narrative. The question of which images can validly represent Capital is taken up in the first part of Kluge’s film, Marx and Eisenstein in the Same House. Kluge intersperses interviews with contemporary interpreters of Marx’s Capital—including Peter Sloterdijk, Boris Groys, and Oskar Negt—with intertitles, recitals from the text, and other footage, thus incorporating Eisenstein’s principle of montage. The title of the second part quotes Marx’s observation that “All Things Are Bewitched People,” and introduces the film’s second topic, materialism. The third part, “Paradoxes of Exchange Society,” inquires into the social contract that is both presupposed and reproduced in all human exchange. As the title of Kluge’s film indicates, Nachrichten aus der ideologischen Antike (News from Ideological Antiquity) seeks to constitute an antiquity appropriate to today’s challenges. Its strong argument for a return to Marx is best captured in the declaration of the Marxist political theorist Fredric Jameson, that “Marx is neither actual nor outmoded: he is classical.”

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  • Title: Nachrichten aus der ideologischen Antike, Marx, Eisenstein – Das Kapital
  • Creator: Alexander Kluge
  • Date Created: 2008/2015
  • Rights: Courtesy the artist
  • Medium: three-channel video installation, color, sound (90’, 180’, 90’)