Still from The Eiffel Tower, King Kong and the White Lady (1988) (dir. Alexander Kluge)

Screening : 10 April – 22 June 2014

Alexander Kluge. Raw Materials: Present Impressions, Past Wishes and Future Fulfillment

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Alongside the exhibition ‘Unwoven World: Beyond the Pliable Plane’, with the Norwegian artists Brit Fuglevaag, Elisabeth Haarr and Sidsel Paaske, OCA presented a selection of Alexander Kluge’s eclectic collection of ‘raw materials’, a series of television programmes assembling photographs, drawings, diagrams and diverse footage construed to ‘strengthen the muscles of [our] power of imagination’. In Public Sphere and Experience (written by Alexander Kluge and Oskar Negt in 1972) the authors draw from Walter Benjamin’s criticism of the information-driven content of modern forms of communication. Particularly they criticised the way in which television programmes communicate with their audience, namely in a decline in both the art of storytelling and the communicability of experience. The attempt, they claimed, should be to replace the ‘monologue’ format of information programmes with programme formats that can stimulate the participation of the viewer. Since the establishment of his own television company DCTP (Development Company for Television Programmes) in 1987, Kluge has produced thousands of programmes for German television to engage with the capacity of fantasy to organise individual experience otherwise concealed by structures of consciousness and the screens capturing our attention. ‘Alexander Kluge. Raw Materials: Present Impressions, Past Wishes and Future Fulfillment’ as presented at OCA, resonates with larger concerns within the Norwegian art milieu of the 1970s regarding what ‘art for people’ should be. The latter was eloquently exemplified by Elisabeth Haarr’s retrospective essay Fantasy in Service of the People (2008), reflecting upon the militancy and realistic narrative as well as abstraction and non-narration as different forms of approaching the subject.