“Our products”, Marx writes in his comments on James Mill, “would be so many mirrors in which we saw reflected our essential nature.” The metaphoric of mirrors that reflect our essence (our species being) expresses a certain cinematographic impulse. Alexander Kluge has taken up this impulse in his “News from Ideological Antiquity”. But there are reasons to believe that the project of filming Capital is still not fulfilled.
With a series of events the Institute of Contemporary Art and Social Thought at the China Academy of Art (CAA) in Hangzhou picks up the idea of Kluge and tries to continue the yet unfinished project of a Capital film. International artists, curators, theorists and students collaborate on a contemporary cinematographic vision on Marx’ Capital. But other than Kluge’s work, which is, ultimately, dominated by interview sequences on the metaphoric and reception of Marx, the Hangzhou project “Film Action. For A Not Yet Existing Film” focuses on dimensions of practice that Kluge had denied: Economic production and exchange, political interventions and a form of teaching that understand itself as interaction and intervention itself.
The key question of the project is the politics of community under conditions of developed capitalism. How can we conceive of forms of sociability that reach beyond the logics of capital and institute alternative modes of sharing the world? And how do these forms of sociability imply different forms and dynamics of the aesthetic as well. Marx was clear about the fact that capital constitutes a specific “form of objectivity” (which he also called “gespenstig”, “phantom-like”). It is therefore not only a manner of instituting the social but also implies a mode of subjectivity, a specific logics of perception.
The central idea of Film: Action is that to understand capital means to develop alternatives. Therefore Capital does not exist yet as a film and Film Action will not bring this film into life but rather outline the conditions of its possibility. Against the background of these complications the talk will give outlines of the discussions and experiences of the Film Action project and try to develop perspectives of Marxism as an aesthetic ontology.