Sean Grattan

Revisiting HADHAD - Part 2: Language, Technology and Totalitarianism (2020)

26 min 57 secSingle channel / Digital Video / Colour / Sound

In Part 2 of this conversation Sean Grattan and Manuel Shvartzberg Carrió discuss language, technology and post-humanism in HADHAD. They explore the relationship between white supremacy and technology in the USA in 2020.

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

Catalogue Notes

00:00 (MS): Continued discussion of David Lynch as counterpoint - "… his movies speak to... the mask of normality in American suburbia...Your film is more about questions of technology, what is the human, and language itself?... What is the risk of accepting that our subjectivity may be be coded in technology?”

04:00 (SG): Language as the pre-eminent tool of communication, but also something hijacked by commercial interests. Notes aspirational commercial slogans ‘Be Yourself, ‘Choose Happiness’

07:00 (MS): Language, technology and post-humanism. “What you’re saying is language tainted by ideology…in it’s various forms, technological, artistic, natural..." "It’s a deep engagement with the problem of the enlightenment and (the question of) in what way can be become masters of our condition?”

(MS) Discusses HADHAD's ambiguous form "Is this thing a projection in their imagination? is this a physical manifestation of language itself? “Is it a concept, is it a metaphor or is it a different type of being?”

12:00 (SG): Describes the HADHAD asthis thing that disrupts but which is potentially creating a new thing…" He discusses evolution.

14:00 (SG) - On the enlightenment; "The idea of progress I find very confusing… establishment powers will manipulate that idea… it can be a very conservative…it can be a tool of oppression”

15:00 (MS) - Discussion on totalitarianism. (MS): "A mode of power where everyone is orientated to 1 way of being, 1 leader, 1 vision, 1 way of communicating." Discusses Frankfurt School philosophers claim that paradoxically the enlightenment had it’s last moment with the Holocaust and Nazi Germany, a rationality taken to an extreme.

Discusses white supremacy and technology in 2020. “There is a branch of white supremacism - certainly in the US - which has to do with technological evolution, which poses a kind of transhumanism… in a way the movie was prescient…all these things were there in 2012 but since then have become more acute…the technological monopolies have become more acute…white supremacism has become more overt and more dominant”

18:00 (SG) Discusses the current political moment. Describes HADHAD’S arrival in the movie as “a metaphor for how the totalitarian system is untenable” and how the movies extreme rationality is counterpointed with an alterity (HADHAD).

22:47 (SG) Liberalism and Western-style democracy. "Cynicism needs to be resisted at all times…but what we’re living in fosters cynicism… what happened with World War 2, is this what rationality brings us? Is that what liberalism brings us?"

26:57 End of Part 2

Other works by Sean Grattan

CIRCUIT is the
leading voice
for artist moving image
in Aotearoa New Zealand,
distributing works,
critical review and
which reflect our unique, contemporary
South Pacific context.