Revisiting HADHAD - a conversation with Sean Grattan and Manuel Shvartzberg Carrió

Ostensibly a horror movie, Sean Grattan's HADHAD (2012) depicts a group of American suburbanites whose lives are upended by a mysterious visitor. Neither human nor animal, the HADHAD crouches silently, offering no clues to its’ purpose or origin.

Much like HADHAD, the sudden arrival of Covid 19 and authoritarian politics has brought panic and disruption; Where did these events come from? Are they real or imaginary? What do they tell us about ourselves and the sustainability of our current political and economic systems?

We asked HADHAD film maker Sean Grattan and academic Manuel Shvartzberg Carrió to revisit HADHAD's relevance for 2020. Speaking from lockdown in California, they address the making of the film, it's themes of language and totalitarianism, and the rising intersection of white supremacy and technology in the United States today.

The conversation is divided into three parts, and you can also watch the original HADHAD movie below.

HADHAD (41:21 mins)
Part 1: Shooting the film, Horror as genre (26:07 mins)
Part 2: Language, Technology and Totalitarianism (26:57 mins)
Part 3: The schism of Liberalism (17:24 mins)

Sean Grattan is a New Zealand artist currently based in Los Angeles. Manuel Shvartzberg Carrió is an architect and assistant professor at Cornell AAP Architecture Art Planning, where he teaches in the history of architecture and urban development programs. His areas of research and expertise include intersections between architecture and geopolitics— particularly settler colonialism and capitalism as mediated by territorial infrastructures, technology, race, and Indigenous decolonial onto-epistemologies in relation to Marxist critical theories.

Thanks to Sean and Manuel for their excellent conversation.