Jonathan Guggenberger

Jonathan Guggenberger

My video work tries to give paranoia an expression to path the way to Utopia.

Mainly coming from painting, I studied Fine Arts at UdK Berlin and quickly changed my main media to installation and video, often combining both into mixed media rooms trying to direct and alternate the perception of both the audiovisual and the spatial works. I then studied film studies and political science. There I found access to a – for me – quite unfamiliar medium of expression: writing. My writings since then include cultural/film critique; scientific papers mostly on political and philosophical dimensions of film historiography, but also on historical and contemporary forms of exile and the history of social movements and their cultural expressions; programmatic texts, letters and speeches for political organizations dealing mostly with antisemitism, patriarchal culture, and political economy; and finally, scripts and screenplays. I continued my filmic/video work with mostly research-based projects about e.g., conspiracy theorists (Schneewolf) or the historical layers of a former Zyklon-B production site in Dessau (Rattenkönig 1). Since almost two years I am working on my first feature film Rat King, a paranoia thriller and political parody, which will premiere in July 2022.

Besides my artistic practice, I am working as a researcher for academic research projects on the attention strategies of videoactivism on social media and about TikTok activism in the conflict between Israel/Palestine.

Bringing these contexts together, my work to date has been characterized by the complexity of dealing with different areas of artistic, filmic, but also political and academic activity. I am interested in the specific differences, but also in the interfaces between these different disciplines, which I also try to explore formally in my own filmic and research-based works. Therefore, the focal points of my cinematic/video work are open, experimental film-aesthetic forms and genre mixes, which in terms of content often deal with real social, historical, and psychological phenomena and alternate them in aesthetically accurate forms. With great knowledge and love for dark areas of film history, I am moved by the untapped potential of Spielfilm (meaning both feature films and filmic forms of play) in all its formal expressions. Especially where film is able to let hope arise in paranoia and vice versa, utopia in downfall, and to lay bare a connection between the individual, society and history that was believed to be lost.

RAT KING (Excerpt): Exposition One

HD Video / 06:45 min / 2022

Character exposition of Jens, the protagonist of my upcoming debut feature. RAT KING is a paranoia thriller and political parody about a group of young performers and activists who get caught up in their own misbelief to be on the forefront of an up-and-coming world revolution.

OnlyFans Diana

HD Video / 14:55 min / 2021

The video is part of the mixed media installation OnlyFans Diana oder Draußen war Drinnen schöner (OnlyFans Diana, or outside was inside more beautiful).

Body my house

my horse my hound
what will I do
when you are fallen

Where will I sleep
How will I ride
What will I hunt

May Swenson: Question

– er sähe es lieber, als selbst es zu spüren.
Überall ist er umstellt: es wühlen im Leib ihm die Schnauzen,
Und sie zerreißen den Herrn in der falschen Gestalt eines Hirsches.

Ovid, Metamorphosen, 3/248-250

SCHNEEWOLF - Bericht aus dem Widerstand

HD Video / 78:09 min / 2017/2018

My experimental video film SCHNEEWOLF – Report from the Resistance is about the increasing mental deterioration and the radicalization of the supposedly TV-intern Sebastian Schneewolf.

Based on experiences and events that I underwent for more than a year as a fake conspiracy theorist in so-called chemtrail groups, the film – aesthetically based on the audiovisual products of these groups – describes the functioning of ideological narratives in a person afflicted by mental crises.

The film follows the protagonist on his way through the meanderings of his barricaded brain, meets his role model, the former Greenpeace activist and conspiracy theorist Werner Altnickel, walks at his side through the ruins of the former Technical Sector of the GDR’s National People’s Army (NVA) and looks over his shoulder, when he tries to bring the truth, exclusively revealed to him, into the world with his very own means and when he forcefully frees himself from the yoke of the modern world.

Between the sometimes cryptic, overtly fictious and self-related references, the paranoid repetition loops and the collapse of narrative logic, a (self-)documentary core emerges that pushes the viewer to become what Sebastian Schneewolf claims to be: a “truth seeker”.

Premiere including performance with Prof. Alex Garcia Düttmann was in December 2018.