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Topography of Terror (19.12.2016) | 2017

Topography of Terror (19.12.2016), 2017
(In collaboration with Elisa Caldana)
(CGI Film, Full HD Color/Surround Sound)
Foto: Rendering - Still Frame from the Animation
Courtesy: Courtesy the artists

Elisa Caldana and Diego Tonus
Topography of Terror (19.12.2016)
Narrator: voice by actor Khalid Abdalla
CGI Film, Full HD, Color/Surround Sound, 31’
With thanks to Hessische Kulturstiftung, Germany and Acme Studios, London

LINK TO THE SHORT VERSION: https://vimeo.com/253607420

The film Topography of Terror (19.12.2016) is set in the unrealised building of the “Topographie des Terrors” in Berlin, which was initially planned by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor in 1993. Zumthor’s design won a competition for the construction of a Documentation Centre on the site where the Gestapo, the SS and the Reich Security headquarters were all located during the Nazi era, but the project was never realised due to its high costs and the architect’s radical and uncompromising attitude. Starting from Zumthor’s original drawings and plans, Caldana and Tonus produced a CGI-rendering of the Topography of Terror building; an image of a present-day future which never came into being and therefore provides the perfect stage for a narrative that asks how forms of terror operate now and how they might operate in future. Informed by a series of conversations with psychoanalysts and journalists from Reuters, the BBC, and the Freud Museum, the film tells the story of a news agency journalist who suffers from secondary traumatic stress disorder as a result of overexposure to violent imagery in the newsroom. Through the fictive first-person account conveyed by actor and activist Khalid Abdalla’s voiceover, the work explores ways of constructing information in contemporary journalism, articulating a reflection on that role and on the value of images as tools for perpetuating terror and manipulating the perception of reality. The empty building is resignified via the impossibility of defining a unique topography of terror, the schizophrenic nature of contemporary terrorism echoing through the non-places of the internet and the media. In these terms, Topography of Terror (19.12.2016) ‘is at once an entirely compelling reconstruction of a seminal building that never was, a profound investigation of our damaged and damaging mediation of conflict, and a striking exploration of the complex relationship between personal and public ethics’. (Gareth Evans, Film producer and moving image curator at the Whitechapel Gallery, London)


Topography of Terror (19.12.2016), 2017
(In collaboration with Elisa Caldana)
Courtesy: Courtesy the artists

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