Public enlightenment: Strong is beautiful
Third Reich propaganda movies - ‘Nazi Hollywood’ - and found footage showing perpetrators in private and seemingly innocent settings form the base of Strong is Beautiful. In contrast to Common Enemy, the video focuses on the notion of how evil can reside in day-to-day life. Nazi propaganda is awash with positivity and cheerfulness, making it hard for us to distance ourselves from the dubious ideology underpinning it all. The glorification of how a muscular, healthy body leads to a strong mind (the supposed precondition for a ‘healthy nation’) feels uncannily similar to contemporary trends promoting rigorous physical routines.
Public enlightenment: war room
A large part of today’s radicalisation happens online; through images, the use of symbolism, appropriation of memes, and music. The online world is a playground for testing the boundaries of personal expression – particularly for teenagers and young adults. War Room shows how youth culture is hijacked by far-right extremists, how power and dictatorship, up to reenactments of WWII atrocities are presented here. Where does the strange fascination with Nazi memorabilia and conspiracy theories come from? The video includes footage from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and ends with a puzzling scene from a recent Quran burning in Norway. Showing this disturbing material is not meant to give a platform to the political ideas of its creators, but an attempt at critically reframing their intentions.
Public enlightenment: Common enemy
Evil is often synonymous with ‘the devil,’ and in Hollywood movies is regularly embodied as a psychopathic, monstrous individual — a clear-cut villain. These widespread images play a crucial role in how our cultural imagination of evil is shaped. We have learned to dissociate on-screen ‘bad guys’ from those in real life who are seldom as recognisable. How does this perpetuated representation of evil, depicted in Common Enemy, affect us?