program 2023

Contrapunctus V

Director Biography – Kenji Ouellet
The film’s director Kenji Ouellet is half Japanese, was born in Québec, Canada and is based in Berlin. He graduated in piano performance (MA, City University of New York), in Digital Art (University for Applied Arts, Vienna) and in Experimental Media Design (Film, University of the Arts, Berlin). His work consists mostly of films/videos and performances, and has been shown and won distinctions internationally, including at the Media Forum (Moscow International Film Festival), the Zendai Museum of Modern Art (Shanghai), the Weserburg Museum of Modern Art (Bremen), Videologia (Volgograd), the Cologne Art Film Biennial, the Strange Screen Festival (Thessaloniki), Le Havre Biennial, Media Art Friesland (NL), the European Media Art Festival (Osnabrück), Videoex (Zürich) and at the Mois Multi (Québec).
Biography/filmography, longer version:
CONTRAPUNCTUS V (5) is an experimental documentary featuring mind fragmentation, a search for patterns and Japanese urban architecture. A time capsule of sorts, centered on (biological or artificial) brain states, it makes different themes and voices converge and connect in a rhizomatic, multitasking structure reminiscent of musical counterpoint (and attention deficit behaviour symptoms).
The images show simultaneous events and multi-layered architectural structures. The soundtrack involves multiple voices interacting in a polyphony, each voice associated with one theme: there are quotes about sleep, capitalism and work, the emergence of Artificial Intelligence, the effect of the internet and related technologies on the brain, and quotes from people suffering from dementia.
Japan is according to recent statistics the country where the population sleeps the least, and has the worlds largest percentage of older adults. It is in those ways and others at the forefront of issues and trends that are global. The film is not a straightforward portrait of the cities it shows. They become metaphors and a point of departure for a reflexion on those global themes, as well as symptoms of time and space disorientation.
In a world where the border between work and free time is increasingly blurred, the time when we sleep and dream may be the last area completely free of work. We are (often voluntarily) trying to change that.
Many try to sleep less (to different and sometimes extreme degrees, like those experimenting with polyphasic sleep) in order to work more, often motivated by the productivity mindset.
A correlation has been observed between lack of sleep or disruption of sleeping patterns and the onset of dementia.
In parallel to our brains striving to multitask and adapt to media technologies (involving changes in attention patterns, some addictive behaviours etc.) and our presently unavoidable ageing-related neurological decline, we witness the increasing capabilities of an old fantasy, artificial intelligence.