a work by Elisa Jule Braun and Moritz Stumm

video + installation

18:39 min


The heads of Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk fuse into one creating a singular entity named “Three headed Hell CEO”. HEIDEGGER’S VALLEY OR TECHNE & THE 3 FOOLS unfolds with such strange representations, as the CEO is joined by Techne, a kind of assistant embodying technology itself. Techne subsequently argues that CEOs next expansion of Silicon Valley units shall delve into the South of Germany. And with this Techne goes on a scouting journey encountering the Swabians, an engineering folk with a strange adversity towards the technological revolution this world is undergoing and yet with such a proud tradition of innovative thinkers, combined with absurd festivities like South Germany’s oh so beloved carnival. Techne encounters three fools of carnival ironically dancing to the US-rapper Future’s song “Mask off” while dressed head to toe in bizarre costumes. 

Humans thus far have mostly resorted to hierarchal orders of society. An order that is countered by the festivities of carnival, that, as the Russian philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin argues, is a “temporary liberation from the prevailing truth and from the established order.” A notion that calls Techne’s servitude into question and is mirrored within the strange conversation she has with the fools, who speak in a heavy Swabian dialect. Techne barely understands. Consequentially, Techne seeks a deeper understanding of language and finds the philosopher bot Hightekker, in the form of the glitching bust of Martin Heidegger himself, speaking in fragments of sentences and philosophical ideas. An overwhelming conversation unravels exposing all the layers that lie beneath Techne’s quest.

As such figures disappear and reappear, they proliferate an entanglement that poses a streak of questions relating towards notions of humanity, subjectivity and being. Is the carnivalesque an inherently human understanding of being? Do Heidegger’s ideas of technological innovation withstand the test of time? To which extent is language a lens through which we can understand the human and inhuman relations between tradition, technology and the future. All this while rapper Future’s chorus rings through the work: “Mask on, fuck it, mask off”. Who shall take off their mask in order to answer to Techne’s search for truth? The fools? The algorithm based Hightekker? Is it her own mask of friendly faces that must be taken off, bursting the bubble revealing the true nature of technology? Or perhaps is it the CEO puppet of capital’s mask? The video game aesthetics of his introduction may offer a subtle hint towards what may lie behind his appearance, as his passion is described as “profit” and his drug as „3x testosterone“.

by Heiko-Thandeka Ncube