The Wake


Interview with Kvium & Lemmerz
The Wake / A Dream in Progress
The Wake on Tour / Supported by
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Production & Distribution
The Wake / Credits
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Finnegans Wake


The Wake / Michael Kvium & Christian Lemmerz

History is a nightmare from which I am trying to wake up

The Wake is the title of a large-scale multimedia project, the main element of which is an eight-hour long silent movie. The film is based on 'Finnegans Wake' by James Joyce (London 1939) which is a limit-transgressing, maybe even limit-dissolving, book that not only transgresses the limits of what literature is and is capable of, but inscribes transgressions on almost all conceivable levels. It is at the same time dream book, history book and necrology. It is almost impossible to determine whether we are dealing with a long poem, a prose narrative or a piece of drama.

Our intention is - with this gigantic language-scape as a basis - to create images of the same complexity and radicalness.

Thematically, the private and personal limits of the book’s characters are transgressed, whether we are talking of evil gossip or incestual affairs, real or dreamed. Not only is the book based on plays on words that not even relate themselves to a single language but which are multilingual. This means that the book invents its own linguistic universe, a universe that both darkens and enlightens and with a kind of subconscious dream dialect (not the subconscious of the single character, but rather that of God) wishes to retell the story of the world.

The film is imagined as a tapestry and a feverish dream, a film wanting to invent its own images, its own grammar, and its own world. Sigmund Freud translated dreams into language, we want to reverse this: Translate Joyce’s dream language back into images, for these to become another dreaming on towards new images and image constructions.

The idea of a silent film may sound old-fashioned, but we view it as a point here, at the turn of the century, to go back to the silent beginning of film history. In order to create a film seeking to transgress the limits defining contemporary film. We are living in the most visual century of history; images have taken over reality, but mostly as clichés for manipulating opinions and capital. By denying ourselves the spoken language with its restrictive names and meanings we are liberating a figurative language that has deleted all well-known cultural subtitles.

The Wake is a multimedia project and this means that the film enters into the following contexts:

As a multi-screen video installation at an art museum or gallery.

As a 1-screen video installation, but in an ordinary bar. The video is to be shown on a wall: A Moving Wallpaper. Otherwise nothing will be changed in the bar. The real actions, conversations, thoughts and dreams taking place every day will mix with the unreal space of the film (also quite realistically by the shadows of the bar guests hitting the projection on the wall).

As a 35mm film or 2-screen video being projected in various towns, for instance on a bare wall or in a large hall. During these nightlong performances, Dror Feiler, August Engkilde and DJ Wunderbaum will assume the classic role of the piano player and together with 5-10 other DJs in the roles of orchestra players create a "DJ Symphony" as a live film music that will change with every new performance. This "event" is to be repeated in several countries, as a kind of concert tour.

The 35mm film will be shown in the great outdoors, on a rock wall, a large tree or something like it, to animals and the occasional passer-by. A silent film in a lonely nocturnal landscape, useless and beautiful.

It will be broadcast on the Internet as a virtual dream.