German author and film-maker Alexander Kluge and Richard Sennett introduce their new project over a whole weekend, including discussions, three new feature-length essay films and an eight hour epic at the Whitechapel Gallery.
City, Capitalism, Religion: Turning Points for Civilisation. These three concepts are essential to an understanding of contemporary societies. Inextricably linked with one another, they are central catalysts in the history of civilisation.
On consecutive nights, screenings of three new films by Alexander Kluge, will provide a programmatic framework for dialogues between key sociological, political, cultural and religious thinkers, including Richard Sennett, David Chipperfield, Saskia Sassen, Robin Blackburn, and Craig Calhoun on the themes of city, religion, and capitalism.
In the panel discussions, curated by Richard Sennett, experts will negotiate these fundamental structures, and trace decisive turning points in these three areas as they look back over the history of humanity. Beginning with the first urban settlements in Mesopotamia, the historico-philosophical concept of the ‘axial age’, and early capitalism, they will draw connections to the present and future. What emerging challenges will cities around the world have to come to grips with? What is the complexion of our contemporary understanding of ourselves and the world when viewed against the backdrop of current religious conflicts? And where are today’s capitalist economic systems leading us?
The aim is not simply to comment of the films, but rather to explore their themes from the respective perspective of the speakers. It’s obvious that there must be important connections between cities, religion, and capitalism, but what these connections are, is perplexing.
On Sunday 5 October Alexander Kluge introduces his most ambitious film, showing in a shorter edit from its original 9 hour cut, a monumental avant-garde essay about the present status of the political; a complex, total work of art.
In association with the LSE Cities project Theatrum Mundi and Development Company for Television Program. With thanks to Alexander Kluge and the Goethe Institut London.
Thursday 2 Oct, 6.30–9.15pm
Film: The Emergence of Civilisation from Paradise and Terror, and the Principle of the City
Saturday 4 Oct, 6.30–9.15pm
Film: When the Heavens Still Spoke to Each Other: The Struggle of the Religions in Late Antiquity
Sun 5 Oct, 11am–8.30pm
Film: News from the Ideological Antiquity: Marx / Eisenstein /Das Kapital
This project was delivered in collaboration the Whitechapel Gallery, dctp – Development Company for Television Program and the Goethe-Institut London