Vision Machine is a non-profit filmmakers collective started in 2000 to experiment with filmmaking as reality intervention, simultaneously creating and documenting via the camera lens. A current work-in-progress is part of a film series that explores the legacy of a politically motivated (and UK/US endorsed) genocide in Indonesia begun in 1965 and carried out by civilian death squads. This project challenges the boundaries between cinema, reality and History by weaving layers of footage created by a production method that progresses from interviews to increasingly fantastic dramatisations of extreme political violence: the routine extra-legal arrest, torture and execution of persons deemed dangerous to the security of the nation (in this case: Communists, trade unionists, peasants, intellectuals, and feminists).
The footage takes the viewer on a journey with a gangster who controlled a movie ticket scalping racket and exploited the murderous political climate to become a widely feared paramilitary executioner. He casts himself as the man who did the dirty work for the good of his country and rehearses a role he claims to have learnt from the Hollywood movies that were his livelihood. These films were the inspiration not only for his method of killing but also his very persona while torturing the “garbage”. He longs to be glorified as an unsung hero and, indeed, is happy to sing about his lethal exploits in a musical version of the massacres. The film provokes and documents a perpetual fluctuation between intimate direct experience and the stylisation of popular cinema genres “noir, Western, musical, shock horror, and verite” in a movement that is at times humorous, at times terrifying. – Vision Machine
Vision Machine will present footage from their current work-in-progress followed by a conversation between members of the collective: Christine Cynn, Josh Oppenheimer, Andrea Luka Zimmerman and Michael Uwemedimo.