The Nuclear Football (2004) and Reflecting Absence (2016)
The Nuclear Football
The Nuclear Football (2004) documents Bush’s arrival at Tegel Airport, a state reception at Bellevue Palace, and the President’s departure from the same airport the next day. Although such visits are a kind of choreographed ritual that the media film like an extended photo shoot, Korpys/Löffler found opportunities to deviate from the guidelines. They simply took a slightly different look, pointed the camera in the other direction, or lingered on seemingly insignificant details. The Nuclear Football makes it clear how trivial this whole fuss is in the end – beyond the symbolic handshake, ceremonial and honorary formation: journalists who stand around stupidly on a leafy traffic island waiting; employees who embark out of the back door of the presidential machine; embarrassing pauses when the president steps from one foot to the other and puts on a smile until he receives the next keyword. While this happens peacefully and quietly, Brian Eno’s minimalist album Ambient 1: Music for Airports (1978) can be heard in the background. A rhythmic, strangely choppy, whispering male voice comments on the whole film revealing details of the behind-the-scenes security measures. These confidential revelations provide insights into what’s happening behind the scenes of political power, or right before our eyes.
Following on closely from older films (World Trade Center, United Nations, Pentagon) Korpys/Löffler use Super-8 film recordings in Reflecting Absence, the name borrowed from the memorial to victims of the terror attacks in New York on September 11th 2001. Places and buildings relating also to tourism are shown in cinematic moments of convergence; places located in the immediate surrounding area of the former World Trade Center. There are also recordings of visitors to the memorial Reflecting Absence, who stand and walk around, or take photos of the glistening water surface as if such photographic acquisition could bear witness to their emotional empathy. These images are accompanied not only by the piece of music “Two Emotions” by Helmut Lachenmann (1992) but also by soundtracks recorded on the spot, each of which is processed digitally by Korpys/Löffler.
(Excerpts from Cara Schroeder, Reflecting Absence)
Related ProjectDisruptions, Interruptions, Misruptions
In their artistic-documentary projects the duo Korpys/Löffler (Andree Korpys and Markus Löffler) use the methods of the modern surveillance state and reflect it back onto the state itself, focusing on its mechanisms and structures of power represented by institutions like the UN, the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, the BND (Federal Intelligence Service), the European Central Bank, prisons, or the police.
Despite these highly charged subject matters, their films remain non-judgmental and objective and don’t engage in investigative journalism. Instead, the aesthetics of peripheral events, secondary characters, and details are their focus of attention.
Recent exhibitions include: Personen Institutionen Objekte Sachen, Kunstverein Braunschweig (2018), Hartware Medienkunstverein Dortmund (2018), Kunsthalle Tübingen (2017); Images of Surveillance, Goethe Institut New York (2016); L’image Volée, Fondazione Prada, Milano (2016); and the IX. Berlin Biennale amongst many others.