In the first edition of the series Dictionary of Now Jonas Mekas in a conversation with Bernd Scherer, publisher Anne König, and media scientist Christian Hiller will explore the question of how historiography and the subjective “now” can be set in relation to one another.
From the 1940s on, Mekas has documented his own life and that of his friends and colleagues on the New York art and film scenes, with a camera, in diaries, poems, songs, and programmatic texts, and has linked them with essential questions of subjective and social reality. The form of film diaries he decisively shaped allows him to create montages of personal, social, and political moments.
Mekas was born in 1922 in Lithuania and arrested by the Nazis in 1944. After a five-year odyssey through displaced-person camps in postwar Germany, he immigrated to the United States in 1949. In New York, he bought his first camera and met personalities such as Alan Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Andy Warhol, George Maciunas, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, and Susan Sontag. As the editor of Film Culture magazine and founder of the Anthology Film Archives he influenced the American avant-garde cinema movement.
With excerpts from Mekas’s films Walden: Diaries, Notes, and Sketches (1969), Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania (1972), Lost Lost Lost (1976), and Outtakes from the Life of a Happy Man (2012).
For the 365 Days Project, Jonas Mekas posted one short film on the Internet each day for a year. The 365 films can be viewed at the entrance to the Auditorium on twelve monitors from November 26 to 30.
Each event in the Dictionary of Now series focuses on a central concept of our time, surveyed anew in all its complexity by one or more representatives of the arts and sciences, from theory and practice. A publication scheduled for 2018 will unite the keywords and personalities of the various editions, establish links, and create new constellations. The Dictionary of Now breaks with the idea of a closed, fixed, collection of knowledge by opening firmly established concepts to dynamic processes of knowledge production, thereby taking into account the increasing complexity of global transformation processes. Coming editions will be devoted to subjects, the Political, Sea, Gold, and Virus.
“Dictionary of Now” takes place as part of the HKW series 100 Years of Now.