Introductions and Q&A of Live Video Essay Performance at Deutsches Filmmuseum

Last Thursday I performed a “live video essay” at the German Film Museum in Frankfurt. On the right side of the screen was Ernst Lubitsch’s 1919 masterpiece The Oyster Princess on beautiful 35mm film. On the left side was my desktop showing me researching the film online, re-editing it on Premiere Pro, and chatting about it on Facebook with my friend Cristian Eduard Dragan. Cristian was watching it in Romania off YouTube while I was watching it with a full audience and live accompaniment by jazz pianist Uwe Oberg.


The actual performance can’t be published due to copyright issues (the recurring theme of my life this month 🙁 ) but here is a great introduction of the program by Urs Spörri (in German) and Rembert Hueser (in English), and you can see my deranged state after the performance as well. Thanks Rembert for throwing me into this insane experiment in live multi-screen cinema.

Images of Adornoland in Frankfurt

#Adorno Tour, Part 1

A photo posted by kbl (@alsolikelife) on

Many thanks to Rembert Heuser for giving a whole afternoon to take Chloé Galibert-Laîné and I on a walking tour through Adornoland.  It isn’t quite touristified, but there are peculiar appearances on view, like Adorno’s desk encased in a giant glass display in the middle of the campus plaza, with his papers on the desk. I asked Rembert what they were, and he replied, they are the drafts of his seminal essays “Notes on the Video Essay” and “The Video Essay as Form.” Continue reading “Images of Adornoland in Frankfurt”

I Should Have Blogged About These

Here are 20 significant items from my first month as a Farocki resident that I wanted to blog about but have not, at least not yet. (Requests are welcome as to what to write about first.)

Released 40 years ago this week. #inspiration

A photo posted by kbl (@alsolikelife) on

  • What it feels like to live a few blocks from where David Bowie lived 40 years ago, and to read about his years of self-reinvention in Berlin.
  • The utterly therapeutic satisfaction of living among the small streets and shops of Schöneberg, in an apartment with less than half the possessions I had back in the States.
  • What Harun Farocki was up to 40 or so years ago, and its relevance to the Harun Farocki Institut and Residency.

Continue reading “I Should Have Blogged About These”

Blogging. Huh. What Is It Good For?

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Nearly 30 days have passed in my residency, and yet I’ve only posted three blog posts in that time. This is much less than I expected to post, and to be honest, it’s been a source of persistent vexation in the back of my mind. With each significant experience or development during my stay, the thought flashes through my mind: I should blog about this. Even in my chats with Volker, when I mention something that happened or some item that occupies my thoughts, he offers the reply, “It would be nice to write about this on the Residency blog.” The paradox is this: so much has happened in the past month that is worth blogging about, but the problem is that I’m not left with much time to blog.

Or is that really true? Continue reading “Blogging. Huh. What Is It Good For?”

A Blog Post About Blog Posts

from: Kevin B Lee
to: Volker Pantenburg
date: Sun, Jan 8, 2017 at 11:15 AM
subject: Re: blog

Dear Volker,

I want the next entry to speculate on what a blog is good for.

You mentioned around the time of my arrival that you had experienced disillusionment with blogs several years ago. However it seems that in every chat we have you mention that something we discuss would make for a good blog entry. Continue reading “A Blog Post About Blog Posts”

Adorno: Resurrection

Chat transcript between Kevin B. Lee and Volker Pantenburg, Friday January 6 2017, 9:32 P.M.

hi kevin, you’re probably out having drinks

probably not

okay, you’re taking a night off.

i’m exhausted.
i had to go from prenzlauer
back to hafi
and then back to prenzlauer this afternoon,
because they don’t take credit cards.
so elsa had to loan me cash

it’s just in line with how the week has went
but i got an interesting insight out of it
(other than that german stores
seem to avoid credit cards)

Continue reading “Adorno: Resurrection”

To begin: arrive alive

I am glad to arrive in Berlin, especially after what I went through to get here. Sadly, along the way I lost one of my closest companions. My MacBook Pro, nicknamed “Adorno,” suffered a fatal accident due to a water spill on one of my flights en route to from the US. to Germany.

Emotional attachments to technology are dubious to be sure, but this loss hits hard, because in the last three years I’ve produced over a hundred video essays with Adorno’s help, more than any other collaborator I’ve had. And Adorno was the star performer of Transformers: The Premakewe literally see it (or parts of its top half) the whole time.

I’m sad to say farewell to this incredibly industrious and reliable partner. I’m hoping that my first HaFI event at silent green on January 14 can serve partly as a memorial service for Adorno (it would only be fitting, since silent green is the former site of a crematorium).

Continue reading “To begin: arrive alive”