video, 5:30 min.
In Stefan Panhans
’ Sieben bis Zehn Millionen [Seven to Ten Millions], a man talks about his purchasing of a type of high-tech hardware. Out of breath and in a hysterical staccato he tells of the nightmarish search for the product, and the confusions and paranoid moments he experiences in selecting the right one. His rushed monologue is a result of the enumerable stimuli, forms of information, and impulses that make him a shopper in the miasma of the marketplace. In his video Panhans draws attention not only to the exhausting work of consumption, but also to how we are carried away by consumption and how it penetrates our desires. It seems that he follows director Pier Paolo Pasolini’s theory of consumerism as a new form of totalitarianism. According to Pasolini, the market determines social agency, competition is its fundamental communication structure. The consequence is that consumption determines the human being and causes one to ally the “feeling of freedom” with consumer imperatives. Consumption becomes thereby—as Sieben bis Zehn Millionen impressively shows—an end in itself and a central aspect of our identity in contemporary life.