The first in a series of programmes accompanying Metahaven’s exhibition VERSION HISTORY, this conversation between the artists, writer and curator Filipa Ramos, and ICA Chief Curator Richard Birkett addresses the idea of a ‘cinema of the interface’, concurrent to the London launch of Metahaven’s book-length essay Digital Tarkovsky, published by Strelka Press.
Digital Tarkovsky is a poetic exploration of how our experience of time itself is changing in the era of near-constant connection. For Metahaven, our daily engagement with digital devices and screens forms a digital patchwork that fragments experiences of time and space, and displaces a sense of shared reality. They argue that the temporalities of digital platforms constitute an undeclared form of cinema that interacts with the slowness and insipidity of lived experience in increasingly volatile ways.
The essay applies the ‘slow’ cinematic art of Russian filmmaker and film theorist Andrei Tarkovsky to our interaction with the digital, comparing them on the terms of speed and immersion. While Tarkovsky as the ‘progenitor of slow cinema’ may appear at odds with the truncated attention spans of contemporary digital viewing, Metahaven articulate how an awareness of things ‘taking time’ is inherent to the ways that messages, push notifications and social media prompts are redefining daily experiences of ‘waiting, daydreaming, thinking, speculating, and observing’.