The Project: Historic Documentaries — New Experimental Music

Realitaeten – an archeology of early Austrian documentary films
(short trailer of a one hour lasting show)
played at Viennale, Metro Kino October 26th 2013

We are excited to announce the convergence of fin de siècle celluloid and some of the most outstanding representatives of the Austrian art scene: deepseafishK (Katharina Klement, Juun, Manon-Liu Winter). Their music encompasses the entire spectrum from free-jazz elements, to noise and acoustic/experimental sound research, all the way to electronic music. In that way, the vibes of the moving screens of the Habsburg era combine with contemporary sound experiments to form small artistic syntheses, or “Gesamtkunstwerke”, that breathe the spirit of two centuries at once.

In early cinema, the boundaries between documentaries and fiction were especially fluid, and among film historians, the distinction is presumed to be rather meaningless. The motion pictures chosen for this project don’t draw upon the pretentious gestures of the documentary approach, but they also don’t deny more or less obvious staging strategies. Going back at least 100 years, they take us to the time of the fin de siècle, the last years of the Habsburg Empire. There, the first cinematographers encountered a world that was rapidly changing: Speed, acceleration, electrification and the rise of mass media, the increasing influence of new societal forces such as the women’s and workers’ movements, urbanization, and the beginning globalization of all aspects of life — those were the hallmarks of a period that had radically broken with the past and was headed towards a future yet unknown.

The Filmarchiv Austria has long been actively engaged in the collection and preservation of documentary film material.

excerpts of the films:
Kaisermanöver 1909 (Kaisermanöver, 1909)
Das Volkstrachtenfest in Wien 1920 (Folk dancing in Vienna, 1920)
Fußball-Länderkampf Österreich gegen Deutschland 2:0 am 23. April 1922 (Soccer match, Austria against Germany 2:0 on April 23, 1922)
Henny Porten in Wien 1924 (Henny Porten in Vienna, 1924)

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