kairos pr 0711 · presentation & notes investigating the “infrastructure” of the landscape...
2011 – 33’30” – 2K – 16:9 – colour – 5.1 surround – english spoken
a film by Alexis Destoop
story by Aaron Schuster
Oren Ambarchi & Stephen O’Malley
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.
SYNOPSIS In the aftermath of the Great Temporal Catastrophe, an apocalyptic event that brought an end to linear time, the company CTF (Collective Time Flow) 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 agent for CTF, 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. As his gear malfunctions, he succumbs to the haunting effects of the Zone.
PRESENTATION & NOTES
Investigating the “infrastructure” of the landscape of the Australian outback, focusing on an area stigmatized by recent human intervention, the film re-signifies 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 by visual artist Alexis Destoop in 2008 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, both as a physical geography and a mental landscape. 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 withholding and diffusing narrative information, by obstructing straightforward identification with the characters, by shifting between cinematic registers and codes, it defers the viewer’s expectations and invites him to cast a critical gaze. Ultimately, by means of a circular twist, a “mise-en-énigme”, it takes a reflective stance on the relationship between fiction and reality. 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. As a result the film is a “dérive”, an immersive and layered journey, that lets us take a glimpse, fragmentarily, into a world where time itself has become a coveted and dangerous, if merely imagined, commodity.
direction and production Alexis Destoop story & dialogues Aaron Schuster cinematography Vincent Pinckaers sound engineer Peter Connelly music Oren Ambarchi & Stephen O’Malley editing Cécile Chagnaud Alexis Destoop sound design Cécile Chagnaud music recording Randall Dunn sound mixing Peter Connelly grading & effects Massimiliano Simbula compositing & graphics Devi Mallal image assistant Christophe Bouckaert sound assistant Craig Freeman production asistants Susan Thomas Louisa Achille David Cranswick Bram Coeman Loïc Serot props David Rogers Michael Graham Don Mudee Mirabelle Wouters actors Lee Wilson Richard Green & Susannah Bayes-Morton Peter Connelly Aaron Schuster Barry French voices Elisabeth Thurbon Donald Sword Erik Lambert produced by An Archer A Weaver supported by Filmlab, Flemish Audiovisual Fund (VAF) Visual Arts Board, Australia Council for the Arts coproduced by Buda Kunstencentrum (BE) Le Fresnoy, Studio National (FR) Broken Hill Arts Exchange (AU) d/Lux Media Arts (AU) Kunstencentrum Vooruit (BE)