A video by Helmut Lang (the artist, not the fashion company). From Commercial Break (2011). Curated by Neville Wakefield. Found at Ubuweb.
Originally, Mieke, Claudius and I had planned to spend our Sunday evening watching Apocalypse Now. On a whim, we changed plans and ended up watching something closer to Financial Apocalypse Now: Lauren Greenfield’s prize-winning documentary The Queen of Versailles. Here’s the trailer:
A film at once exhilarating and terrifying, The Queen of Versailles provides an insight into the life of the Siegels, a »filthy rich« (as one of their daughters puts it) couple living in Orlando, Florida. The heroine of this movie, Jaqueline Siegel, a former beauty pageant winner who looks like she fell right out of a Russ Meyer movie, is the »trophy wife« (as another daughter puts it) of David Siegel, a nouveau riche real-estate tycoon.
Despite being a Republican who claims to be solely responsible for the victory of George W. Bush in 2000, David Siegel is a bit of a Francophile. He keeps Napoleon’s bust in his house (along with an oil painting of himself as a knight in shining armor) and he’d love to live in Versailles. Unfortunately, the real thing is not for sale, because »they use it as a museum«, as a real-estate agent puts it in this film. So, David Siegel aims for the second best option and has a replica of Versailles built in Orlando. Price tag: 100 million dollars. However, halfway through the construction of what is to be the largest private home in America, the financial crisis hits.
The Queen of Versailles is a mind-boggling and truly astonishing film, a) because of the way its protagonist display what some would consider a blatant lack of taste and b) because of the carelessness with which the Siegels let Lauren Greenfield catch them with their pants down time and again. The Queen of Versailles is stranger than fiction and could pass as a satire about the decadence of the richest 1 percent, except that Lauren Greenfield is no Michael Moore and looks at her subjects with compassion and curiosity rather than with cynicism.
»People from my generation always thought that we’d have better lives than our parents, and now we are realising that it’s possible that we won’t.« [says critic/curator Timotheus Vermeulen.] Strangely however, when such generational disappointment could easily lead to an utterly postmodern response of »fuck it, we’ll fail anyhow,« the metamodern sensibility is quite the opposite. Out of loss in art, politics, bottom lines or otherwise, has come a resurgent hopefulness […W]e are ironic, but want to love; we are earnest, but know earnestness may never get us anywhere.
More on the idea of »metamodernism« at Timotheus Vermeulen’s blog Notes on Metamodernism.
c.f. »quirky«, a sensibility James Macdowell tied to the Metamodern in an essay on said blog quite a few months ago (my bad, I only noticed it today), its tone being »an oscillation between sincerity and irony, enthusiasm and detachment, naïveté and knowingness.«
[E]very single artwork created in the current era is guaranteed by recent technological developments to last forever — to attest permanently to its own artisticness and to inspire infinite artistic regeneration and proliferation. All art is now great art.
— Christian Lorentzen: »I Was Wrong« (published in n+1’s upcoming reader »What Was The Hipster«)