an animated anthology feature film
Twenty female artists have undertaken to initiate a European conversation about the future of the continent and the whole world through the medium of their art.
The anthology feature film “Happiness Machine” is an innovative, interdisciplinary project devised for public concerts and cinema screenings, organized by Klangforum Wien throughout Europe and abroad. The film comprises ten short films by female animation directors, made in collaboration with ten female music composers from all over Europe. The films take as their starting point “The Economy for the Common Good” an economic theory proposed by Austrian economist Christian Felber.
The films reflect on various aspects of “The Economy for the Common Good”. Its opportunities and challenges, and its theory and practice, will be brought up for discussion through the mediums of animation, music, and an advanced participatory form of music theatre.
Michelle Kranot / Iris ter Schiphorst — Suggestion of Least Resistance
Suggestion of Least Resistance is based on archive materials which depict The July Revolt of 1927 (Der Brand des Wiener Justizpalastes), a monumental episode still acutely relevant. The animation film is a rhythmic, poetic surge, comparing us, our lives, and our very humanness to burning paper in the breeze. Images of sheets of paper flying through the broken windows of the burning palace are juxtaposed with images of the crowds as they convene and disperse. The music charges these powerful images with its own aliveness and colour.
In the context of Economy for the Common Good, the repetitive, stylised abstractions of events unfolding frame the notion of the individual vs. the historic.
—Michelle Kranot, 2018
Samantha Moore / Malin Bång — Bloomers
Animated fabric brings the story of a lingerie factory in Manchester to life. Silk, cotton and lace go under the camera, as the workers recount the history of Headen & Quarmby, the UK garment manufacturing industry, and British family traditions of making. A specially composed soundtrack by Swedish composer Malin Bång, inspired by sounds of sewing machinery, evokes the ups and downs of the factory.
—Samantha Moore, 2019
Rebecca Blöcher / Eva Reiter — Lickalike
In Lickalike we give voice to our reflections on the necessity and the character of artificial and natural forms of organisation. The focus – both visual and auditive – is on the connectivity between everything that is alive. From this point of view, the work examines such self and externally organised systems that have become the basis of our current social understanding.
It’s all about individual and social identity, about interconnectedness and collectivity, social responsibility and our digital and natural living environment.
A prevailing situation can always be seen from various perspectives. The film follows various narrative threads, some of which evolve into utopian contexts of development and meaning. Fragments of organised connectivity are extracted and reassembled; the whole context is fragmented – but nonetheless it becomes apparent: Everything is connected.
—Rebecca Blöcher, 2018
Eni Brandner / Misato Mochizuki — PANTOPOS
Starting out in a seemingly old-fashioned world of grandeur and glamour, PANTOPOS takes us on a journey of discovery to a surreal and peculiar place of new and abstract ideas, where nothing is as it used to be. The only thing left that is familiar to us are the people who inhabit this place, and their gestures. In the end we are left with the question whether this new place is just a dream or already part of our reality.
—Eni Brandner, 2018
Elizabeth Hobbs / Carola Bauckholt — Die Flunder
A fisherman and his wife live in a hovel. One day the fisherman catches an enchanted fish. The man tells his wife of the strange incident, and they decide to ask the fish to use its powers and improve their circumstances. They return to see the fish again and again, each time becoming more ambitious with their demands. As their greed grows, the world around them becomes more and more disturbed; the seas rise, and the earth becomes more polluted and dangerous. When the fisherman and his wife demand to become Gods, the flounder decides enough is enough. Through painted animation by Elizabeth Hobbs, and an original score by composer Carola Bauckholt, the Brothers Grimm fable ‘The Fisherman and his Wife’ is brought vividly to life.
—Elizabeth Hobbs, 2019
Andrea Schneider / Marianthi Papalexandri-Alexandri — Generator / Operator
In our project we focus on the terms cooperation, trust, sharing and solidarity, which Christian Felber calls central values for the Common Good Economy. We want to translate these key terms into moving still lifes. The idea is for each term to create the atmosphere of a microcosm that works within itself and runs in an endless loop.
We are both fascinated by objects, their materiality, peculiarities and stories. Therefore we want to work with specific objects, both images and sounds, trying to reveal their essence.
—Andrea Schneider, 2018
Joanna Kozuch/ Ying Wang — Music Box
In a circus, an ensemble of acrobats tries to create a perfect pyramid of human bodies. However, one of them has problems with his hand and cannot hold his colleague so that the pyramid collapses. The choreographer now has three options to achieve his goal: He can replace the injured acrobat with a new, more capable person; he can replace the whole ensemble, or keep the team, but find the right spot in his choreography for everyone involved. All three processes can have the same result; however the essential difference lies the path that takes them there.
—Joanna Kozuch, 2018
Ana Nedeljković / Hanna Hartman — The Happiness Machine
The film is conceived as a simulation of a non-existent Video-game concerned with the business practices of a company which at first sight seems ideal. However, what happens if we look at the wider picture? Gradually, details are revealed – details that show the real emotions of people, various malpractices, violations of human rights and the environment… The “ideal” space, conceived and guided by financial considerations as the key objective, is being deconstructed before our eyes.
—Ana Nedeljković, 2018
Susi Jirkuff / Joanna Bailie — Vermessung der Distanz
The project explores urban edges as they correspond with the marginality of social groups who inhabit them. Distance, the anonymity of the architectural setup, decay, but also movement and interaction are subjects of a raw sketch that seeks to integrate a discussion about space and segregation into the discourse of the Common Good. The audio-visual language of the film uses a transparency and starkness of approach to reflect its subject matter. The fusion of architectural lines with sound through unexpected correspondences and synchronizations aims to generate a new kind of intermedial proposition.
—Susi Jirkuff, 2018
Vessela Dantcheva / Electric Indigo — Hierarchy Glitch
In a purely abstract way, Hierarchy Glitch deals with a core idea of the Common Good Economy model. Both its visual patterns and the ensemble’s voices are tied up in hierarchical behaviour that restrains the full potential and mobility of each individual element. Soon the matrix pattern collapses, connections and directions are lost, resulting in entropic disorder. This is the moment when individual units autonomously connect with the rest, forming organic and balanced constellations. They develop a collective organism, a resilient entity.
—Vessela Dantcheva, 2018
Concept SVEN HARTBERGER
Producers ABIGAIL ADDISON, ALEXANDER DUMREICHER-IVANCEANU, FABIAN DRIEHORST, ZUZANA MISTRÍKOVÁ
Production Manager MARTIN REPKA Music Mix MISCHA JANISCH Sound Mix GEORG TOMANDL
Happiness Machine is a project of Klangforum Wien, Musik der Jahrhunderte and Amour Fou Vienna in cooperation with Tricky Women.
Funded by Cultural Affairs Department of the City of Vienna and Federal Chancellery of Austria with special funding from the German Federal Cultural Foundation and Interfaces/Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.
The commissions to Iris ter Schiphorst, Malin Bang, Eva Reiter, Carola Bauckholt and Marianthi Papalexandri-Alexandri are funded by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation.