Diderot and The Last Luminare

Erika Suderburg

1992, 32:00 minutes, colour, English


Diderot and the Last Luminaire attempts to give new perspective on the aims, processes and structures of the Age of Enlightenment by skewing underlying similarities and examining the evolving differences between the scientific revolution of the past and contemporary nostalgic constructions of the notion of "progress" tinged with fear and desire. Diderot's writings on the function of culture and politics in society and his concept of the distribution of knowledge are made manifest in the plates accompanying the Encyclopedia. These plates structure the video. his subversive model of visual knowledge, designed to democratize information, is used as a springboard to examine current concepts of knowledge control, dissemination and threatened collapse. The tape is an "updated" 20th century encyclopedia with all of the attendant impossibilities, a ludicrous desire to interrogate larger questions through the structures of the past. In a sense it longs for the speculative order of the Enlightenment while realizing the impossibility of its replication. It is about the gap between these two impulses.

Rental and Sales

Single Screening Rental


Educational Purchase DVD (Bluray +$15)


5 Year Educational Streaming License, Digital File with DVD Circulation Copy


Gallery Exhibition and Installation, complete Media Request form for quote

Institutional Archival Acquisition, complete Media Request form for quote

Curators and programmers, please contact to receive a login and password to preview Vtape titles online.

Screening and exhibition rentals and archival acquisitions include public performance rights; educational purchases or licenses include rights for classroom screenings and library circulation. When placing an order the customer agrees to our general online terms and conditions. Payment (or a purchase order number) and a signed licensing agreement must be received before media can be shipped to the client.