Ahali Conversations with Can Altay podcast

Episode 19: Metahaven

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Founded by Vinca Kruk and Daniel van der Velden, Metahaven’s body of work encompasses filmmaking, writing, objects, and graphics. Their activities offer a kind of cultural practice that doesn’t shy away from producing knowledge and reflections; as much as the production of affect.

We hear Daniel reflecting on their practice, through the notions of interface, agency, distribution, formats, versions, iterations, and many other potentials and obstacles towards making something meaningful and compelling.

Episode Notes and Links

Metahaven http://metahaven.net https://mthvn.tumblr.com

Centering on children, adults, and parental relationships, the absence of linguistic reference to reality, and the ineffability of the metaphysical, Metahaven’s latest work titled Chaos Theory (2021) is a multi-voice video essay starred by Georgina Dávid and Valentina Di Mondo. It is a sequel of previous films by Metahaven titled Hometown (2018), Information Skies (2016), and The Sprawl (Propaganda About Propaganda) (2015). Excerpt: https://vimeo.com/494444068 https://mthvn.tumblr.com/post/663742206080909312/valentinadimondotalkstometahaven

Assembling genres (anime, sci-fi, fantasy role-playing games) and moving beyond the representation of linear time, Metahaven’s Information Skies offers a dreamlike speculation that questions the boundaries between sound and images, reality and fiction, factuality and technology, reflection and embodiment.

Citation by Lesia Prokopenko for Vdrome. https://www.vdrome.org/metahaven/

Filmed in Beirut and Kyiv, Hometown depicts a fictional city through the perspective of protagonists Lera and Ghina that reveal their attachment to the Hometown which is so familiar yet not what it was once in the past. https://www.e-flux.com/announcements/192165/metahavenhometown/

Released in segments on YouTube, Sprawl is Metahaven’s first feature film delving into various geopolitical disturbances that occurred in the last decade.

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/152877677 https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5432984/

sprawl.space is the online interface for The Sprawl, where the viewer can see the “shards” that make up the full version of the film. The website has been shaped by the interface design of Metahaven and the viewing algorithms of YouTube. https://sprawl.space/about-the-sprawl/

Assembling cinematic sequences shot in the Southeastern Urals and Macedonia, archival footage, and animation, Eurasia (Questions on Happiness) sets forth on a journey towards the Eurasian steppe where it meets the New Silk Road. https://vimeo.com/296095100

Citation from Metahaven’s exhibition at ICA titled Version History in 2018: https://www.ica.art/exhibitions/metahaven-version-history?fbclid=IwAR3tAJ5TQ2xxzVhItTYW7bx6uJcKBYjgdwBnGkXBgI75nmczpt6yDzcbXCw

Expounding the genealogy of viral internet memes and their potential uses within politics as agitprops 2.0 to engineer public opinion, ‘Can Jokes Bring Down Governments’ is a visionary essay on social media warfare by Metahaven. https://strelkamag.com/en/article/memes-design-and-politics

Published by Sternberg Press in 2015, ‘Black Transparency’ reflected on the changes that are introduced to our life with the fast-paced development of communication technologies and their impact on information democracy by tackling matters such as the conscience of the whistleblower, whose personal politics are now instantly geopolitical. https://www.sternberg-press.com/product/black-transparency-the-right-to-know-in-the-age-of-mass-surveillance/

Borrowing its title from the findings of a survey which indicates that an average person in the U.S. spends eight more minutes than the total duration of Stalker (161 minutes) daily, Digital Tarkovsky is a thought-provoking essay investigating the effect of social media platforms on our perception of time. Published by Strelka in 2018. https://strelkamag.com/en/article/digital-tarkovsky-metahaven-excerpt

Filmed in 1979, Stalker by Andrei Tarkovsky is a loose adaptation of Arkady and Boris Strugatsky’s science fiction novel Roadside Picnic (1972).

Netflix is a subscription-based streaming service that offers different catalogs of movies, documentaries, and series internationally.

Mubi is a subscription-based streaming service that offers a curated catalog covering a wide range of moving image genres.

Short for Internet Movie Database, IMDB is an online database of information related to films, television series, home videos, video games, and streaming content online. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMDb

4:3 by Boiler Room is a multifaceted genre-spanning platform for curated and commissioned underground films exploring themes of performance, identity, youth culture, and anti-establishment. https://boilerroom.tv

State of Concept Athens is a non-profit contemporary art institution founded by curator iLiana Fokianaki. https://stateofconcept.org/general/

Conflict is an anarcho-punk band originally based in London. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict_(band)

Mike Kelley (1954 – 2012) an influential artist who merged childhood objects with youth culture; personal stories with political histories. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Kelley_(artist)

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