Monday 13 October 2008

Lutz Dammbeck’s ‘The Net’ at the Roxy Bar and Screen

Anyone finding themselves in Borough High Street on the evening of Tuesday October 14 could do considerably worse than drop into the Roxy Bar and Screen for a special showing of Lutz Dammbeck’s The Net: The Unabomber, LSD and the Internet. The screening begins at 7.30 pm, and I have been asked by event organizer Richard Thomas of the Hectic Peelers, in association with Electric Sheep magazine, to offer some introductory comments on the film.

Known to his FBI investigators as ‘the Unabomber’, Dr Theodore ‘Ted’ Kaczynski carried out a campaign of mail bombings against universities and airlines from the late 1970s through to the mid-1990s, killing three and injuring twenty-three more. He would later argue in his manifesto, ‘Industrial Society and Its Future’,that his actions were necessary in order to make humanity aware of the threat posed to its freedom by the recent advances made in computer technology. But how did a gifted mathematician come to dedicate himself to such extreme acts of resistance? Dammbeck’s visually stunning quest for the Unabomber links together multiple nodes of cultural and political thought, circling through themes of utopianism, anarchism, terrorism, the CIA, LSD, Tim Leary, Marshall McLuhan, Stewart Brand, the Macy Foundation Conferences, Nam Jun Paik, particle physics and behaviour modification. Not for the faint-hearted, this is a dazzling complex, visually lush exploration of information as collective hallucination: a trip into the media matrix as unravelled conspiracy theory, made up of archive footage, in-depth interviews and extracts from the director’s own correspondence with Kaczynski, now in the Federal ADX Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.

Presented in German and English with subtitles. Contains brief scenes of cranial surgery. For more details, check the Google calendar. Even the Unabomber thinks about the future...

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