KAIROS – THE FICTION, AN ALLEGORY
2009-2012 – 35’30” – 2K – 16:9 – color – 5.1 surround – english spoken
Kairos (καιρός) is an ancient Greek word meaning the “right or opportune moment”.
The ancient Greeks had two words for time, chronos and kairos.
While the former refers to chronological time, the latter signifies “a time in between,” a break in the continuity of time, a moment in which something special happens.
In the aftermath of the Great Temporal Catastrophe, an apocalyptic event that brought an end to linear time, the company Collective Time Flow (CTF) developed a technology to extract crude time and process it into a quantifiable commodity, reinstating a new era of human history and civilization.
We follow Larry Church, an unruly worker for CTF, who is stationed in an outpost at the edge of the Desynchronized Zone, the uncharted territories prone to temporal disturbances and the repository of raw time reserves.
Transgressing his mission order, in a attempt to garner some raw time for himself, he takes his chances and ventures beyond the grid.
The film is a “dérive”, a layered journey that lets us take a glimpse, fragmentarily, into a world where time itself has become a coveted and dangerous, if merely fabulated commodity.
PRESENTATION & NOTES
Investigating the “infrastructure” of the archetypical landscape of the Australian Arid Zone, focusing on an area stigmatized by recent human intervention, the film revisits it by means of a science fiction narrative about time, which resonates indirectly with Australia’s colonial history & the omnipresence of the mining industry.
Initiated as a research project by visual artist Alexis Destoop and developed throughout a number residencies in collaboration with the philosopher Aaron Schuster, the film drew on a documentary approach by making use of the existing locations, structures & objects as readymades for a science fiction story.
Kairos was produced mainly in the Arid Zone around the mining town of Broken Hill –birthplace of the Broken Hill Proprietary, known today as BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining corporation, and made famous through the Mad Max films – an area where the colonial intervention has had a dramatic effect on the landscape, both ecologically, through desertification, and culturally, through the demise of the aboriginal cultural identity.
Contained in the notion of “Catastrophe”, these facts are referenced obliquely while the fundamental dichotomy in the significance of the landscape between the corporate / colonial and the indigenous perspective form the subtle and unspoken backbone of the narrative.
Kairos is a film about the desert, as a physical geography, as a mental landscape and as a residual image of ideology.
Relying on a minimal and fragmentary narrative, the film was devised as a set of clues for the viewer to assemble, an agency to configure.
By interrupting the linear, “horizontal“ unfolding of the narrative, the film opens up the space for to a “vertical” lecture: a space of experience and structural negotiation. By withholding and diffusing narrative information, by introducing blanks, by shifting between cinematic registers and codes, it defers the viewer’s expectations and invites him/her to cast a critical gaze.
Ultimately, by means of a circular twist, a “mise-en-énigme”, it questions the status of fiction and reflects on how our reality is informed by fictions.
Kairos is scored and textured by experimental musicians Oren Ambarchi & Stephen O’Malley. Intended as an essential constituent of the film, the music was recorded prior to the editing, allowing a blurring of the line between diegetic and non-diegetic sound and a questioning of the intricate relationship between music and the creation of a fictitious universe.
Direction and production Alexis Destoop
Story & dialogues Aaron Schuster
Cinematography Vincent Pinckaers
Sound engineer Peter Connelly
Music Oren Ambarchi & Stephen O’Malley
Music recording & mix Randall Dunn
Editing Cécile Chagnaud & Alexis Destoop
Sound design Cécile Chagnaud & Peter Connelly
Sound mix & mastering Peter Connelly & Emmanuel de Boissieu
Compositing & graphics Devi Mallal
Grading & effects Massimiliano Simbula & Paul Millot
Image assistant Christophe Bouckaert
Sound assistant Craig Freeman
Production asistants Susan Thomas, Louisa Achille, David Cranswick, Bram Coeman, Loïc Serot & Maya Wilsens
Props David Rogers, Michael Graham, Don Mudee & Mirabelle Wouters
Actors Lee Wilson, Richard Green, Susannah Bayes-Morton, Peter Connelly & Aaron Schuster
Voices Elisabeth Thurbon, Donald Sword, Erik Lambert
Produced by An Archer A Weaver
Supported by Filmlab, Flemish Audiovisual Fund (VAF), Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council for the Arts
Co-produced by Buda Kunstencentrum (BE), Le Fresnoy, Studio National (FR), Broken Hill Arts Exchange (AU) & Kunstencentrum Vooruit (BE)
With the participation of Nadine (BE), dLux Media Arts (AU)