The Power of Emotion

Alexander Kluge

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The Power of Emotion
Alexander Kluge

90 Minutes

June 13–July 17, 2024

“It begins with infatuation and ends with divorce. It begins in 1933 and ends in ruins. The great operas begin promisingly with heightened emotion, and in the fifth act we count the dead.” In a collage of individual episodes and continuous fragments, play and documentary scenes, operas and silent film quotations, Kluge asks about the destructive power of feelings. The opera as a “powerhouse of emotions” plays a central role—and also stands for confidence against better judgment: How can the chamber singer in Rigoletto sing in the first act with a spark of hope in his face when, after 84 performances, he must know the terrible outcome awaiting him in the fifth act? The opera is located in Frankfurt am Main, a “cold and rational environment.” The sun rises over the river banks and is reflected in the high-rise facades. Historical and private catastrophes take their course, but “all feelings believe in a happy ending.”

Film, Performance, Theater
Affect, Experimental Film, Documentary, Germany

Alexander Kluge (b. 1932) is an author, filmmaker, and lawyer. His research and practice revolves around film, literature, social theory, film theory, and political action on various cultural fronts. Kluge is credited with the launch of the New German Cinema movement, and his body of work can be regarded as a continuation of the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School. His first feature film, Yesterday Girl, won the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1966. In 1987, Kluge founded the television production company dctp.tv, which produces independent television slots on German commercial television. In 2008, he presented the almost-nine-hour-long News from Ideological Antiquity: Marx/Eisenstein/Capital—a reinvention of Eisenstein’s unfinished project of filming Capital by Karl Marx. Alexander Kluge’s major works of social criticism include Öffentlichkeit und Erfahrung (Public Sphere and Experience) and History and Obstinacy, both co-written with Oskar Negt. His exhibitions include The Boat is Leaking. The Captain Lied (Fondazione Prada, Venice, 2017), Pluriversum (Museum Folkwang, Essen, 2017; Belvedere 21, Vienna, 2018). Together with New York poet Ben Lerner, Kluge published The Snows of Venice in 2018. Just in time for the e-flux program in June 2024, his books The Dragonfly’s Eye - My Virtual Camera (AI) (Spector Books) and War Primer (Seagull Books) will be published in English.


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