Ubergespenst / Superspectre

Istvan Kantor

2006, 70:45 minutes, colour, English


The subject of Istvan Kantor's semi-autobiographical experimenatal feature video of many titles, RESIDENCY, UBERGESPENST/SUPERSPECTRE, RECAST, MY REVOLUTION, THE LAST PANIKATTACK IN REICHSSTADT, is the ecstasy of transmission. Immersed in a constant delirious panic but always with deadly aim Kantor exploits the rhythm of confessional narration and in-situ camera work while paying tribute to the spirit of revolution, especially to 1956 Hungarian Revolution. He deals with romantic nostalgia for insurrection with critical irony while outlining dramatic Neoist statements about today's oppressive global broadcast system.

RESIDENCY was inspired by the artist's own lifelong obsession and acute longing for revolution. Internationally known for his controversial interventions, Kantor produced RESIDENCY between aug/2004 and jan/2005 while he was an artist-in-residence at the Podewil - Centre for Contemporary Arts in Berlin.

As the protagonist, Kantor himself, rides through the city on a squeaking bike looking for collaborators, he also travels through both an imaginary world populated by spies and rebels and the new scene and changing cityscape of today's Berlin. Kantor's camera work is especially inspired by the Mitte/Prenzlauerberg areas. He gives us an exaggerated, noisy, decadent, unstable and distorted version, riddled with dissonance. He is surrounded by prominent Berlin based artists among them Canadian pop-star Peaches, Russian performance artist Elena Kovylina the Berlin Neoist Faction of MachineSexActionGroup, and many others of today's Berlin scene.

Pretending to be a director looking for new talents for a spy flick, Kantor uses his camera as a disguise. Everything becomes part of the background of his own life as he narrates the story of his revolution. His camera captures everyday reality as it is but Kantor absorbs it as a fiction. Carrying red books and constantly followed by an old fashion secret agent, he lives the paranoid role of a yogi-insurgent-robot on a mission plotting against the BIA (Broadcast Imperialism Agency), and determined to overthrow "broadcast imperialism".

Everyone he meets gets recruited as a member of his Neoist rebel group. Similarly at the same time the city transforms into a stage of oppression and therefore a center for insurrection. Kantor uses technological terms to define revolutionary struggle. He compares revolution to the ecstasy of transmission, or to be more exact he reclaims revolution as "body machine transmission vs broadcast transmission machinery". He sums up Neoist philosophy, constantly reverberating in this video, in one short hyper-dogmatic phrase: "It's always 6 o'clock!".

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