ISSN: 2241-6692

Multiple Lives of the Machines: Memory, Topography and Film Archaeology in Thanassis Rentzis’s Films Bio-graphy (1974) and Silent Machines (2000)

Ioannis Paraskevopoulos


Τhis article discusses two films by filmmaker Thanassis Rentzis, Bio-graphy (1974) and Silent Machines (2000), which explore the concept of memory through time, from the industrial revolution to the post-industrial era. Bio-graphy is an epopee of the western world, whereas Silent Machines focuses on Greece’s industrial heritage. Rentzis acts as an archaeologist both of the present and of the past either by reenacting, through a series of simulacra, the transformation of the human being into homo industrialis or by testifying of the decay of that formation and contemplating on the relationship of the narrating subject with the past in the post-industrial era. Through the method of film archaeology Rentzis traces the aforementioned eras of transition and represents the end of experience in the West. The article explores how the films create a virtual image and construct a topography of time, thus providing an overall epopee of the last two centuries of industrial civilization.

Keywords: Film Archaeology, Filmic space, Memory, Ruinology, Thanassis Rentzis, Virtual Image