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Adam Curtis

A Natural History of Power

6 November - 28 December, 2017 / Nouvel Building, Auditorium 400 and Sabatini Building, Auditorium

Free admission, until full capacity is reached

Adam Curtis. Collage from filmstills of HyperNormalisation , 2016
Adam Curtis. Collage from filmstills of HyperNormalisation , 2016

“We live in a strange time. Extraordinary events keep happening that undermine the stability of our world: suicide bombs, waves of refugees, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, even Brexit. Yet those in control seem unable to deal with them and no one has any vision of a different, or a better, kind of future. This film will tell the story of how we got to this strange place”. This is the opening of HyperNormalisation, one of the most influential films in recent memory. Since the 1990s, its director, Adam Curtis, has unrelentingly revealed the way power works, its meandering architecture, the ideas that configure it, the agents and institutions involved, the way it is etched into contemporary geopolitics, into us. Power reverberates through and constructs one of the most fervent, lucid and revealing bodies of work in recent times, a bona fide natural history of the present, of the times in which we live.  

This series compiles, for the first time, a major part of Curtis’s work, spanning feature films, series and short clips reassembled from the vast BBC archive. The films, remastered in new versions made especially for this film season, are accompanied by a masterclass, two carte blanche (‘blank pages’) sessions orchestrated by the director and a series of presentations given by culture theorists. Adam Curtis often insists he is a journalist, not a film-maker or an artist, asserting that his work involves crafting a new analytical and critical model of information and reportage by searching through the discursive and visual montage of images to narrate ideas that emerge in such unhinged times. In excavating archives from the BBC, for whom he makes his films, Curtis deploys an endless stream of contemporary images, writing an account that maps out how certain notions, stories and connections, however unlikely, determine and govern us in the present day.
Adam Curtis is concerned with scrutinising a new narcissistic culture of the self, its relationship to 1960s counter-culture, the birth of the internet and technology networks, and, up against abstract, global financial power, political elites’ inability to lead the world since the Cold War. Underlying narratives include the crisis of representation, the use of the irrational desire of mass consumerism, new forms of social control, the architecture of a new world order, the effects of post-politics as government, and the consequences of so-called post-truth as a guideline for public communication. Drawing parallels with John Dos Passos’s books, Adam Curtis sets forth a multi-faceted body of work, peerless in the sheer density of its subjects, ideas and themes, to mark a transition from essay films to cinema as a novel of the present.

Moreover, Curtis’s films explore different spaces and audiences: produced on alternative devices, distributed on television in multi-episode series and premiered on streaming platforms and new screens. Therefore, in response to these new formats, the Museo will screen individual episodes and entire series in uninterrupted sessions.

All films are screened in their original version with Spanish subtitles.

Free admission, until full capacity is reached

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Program

Adam Curtis

Monday, 6 November - 7 p.m.

A masterclass with Adam Curtis

Nouvel Building, Auditorium 400

Adam Curtis often insists he is a journalist, not a film-maker or an artist, asserting that his work involves crafting a new analytical and critical model of information and reportage by searching through the discursive and visual montage of images to narrate ideas that emerge in such unhinged times.

Adam Curtis. HyperNormalisation [Hipernormalización]. Película, 2016

Tuesday, 7 November - 7 p.m.

Session 1

Nouvel Building. Auditorium 400
Second screening: Saturday, 18 November – 5pm Sabatini Building. Auditorium

Living in an Unreal World, 2016
UK, digital archive, colour, 5’

HyperNormalisation, 2016
UK, digital archive, colour, 166’

The first session will be presented by Chema González, the Museo Reina Sofía’s Head of Cultural and Audiovisual Programmes at Museo Reina Sofía

Adam Curtis. Bitter Lake, 2015

Wednesday, 8 November - 7 p.m.

Session 2

Edificio Sabatini. Auditorio
Second screening: Sunday, 19 November – 5pm Sabatini Building. Auditorium

Bitter Lake , 2015
UK, digital archive, colour, 136’

Saturday, 11 November - 7 p.m.

Session 3

Sabatini Building. Auditorium 
Second screening: Sunday, 3 December – 5pm. Sabatini Building. Auditorium

Everything is Going According to a Plan, 2013
UK, digital archive, colour, 2’

Dancing Remade, undated
UK, digital archive, colour, 10'

It Felt Like a Kiss, 2009
UK, digital archive, colour, 54’

Adam Curtis. All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace. Episode 2: The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts [Todos vigilados por máquinas de gracia y amor. Episodio 2: Uso y abuso de conceptos vegetativos]. Película, 2011

Monday, 13 November - 7 p.m.

Session 4

Sabatini Building. Auditorium
Second screening showing the entire series:
Saturday, 25 November – 5pm
Sabatini Building. Auditorium
 
All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace. Episode 1: Love and Power, 2011
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

Presented by César Rendueles, philosopher, professor at the Complutense University of Madrid and author of Sociofobia. El cambio político en la era de la utopía digital (Sociophobia. Political Change in the Digital Utopia, Capitán Swing, 2013).   


 

Adam Curtis. All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace. Episode 3: The Monkey in the Machine and The Machine in the Monkey [Todos vigilados por máquinas de gracia y amor. Episodio 3: El mono en la máquina y la máquina en el mono]. Película, 2011

Tuesday, 14 November - 7 p.m.

Session 5

Sabatini Building. Auditorium
Second screening showing the entire series: Saturday, 25 November – 4pm
Sabatini Building. Auditorium

All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace. Episode 2: The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts, 2011
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

Adam Curtis. All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace. Episode 3: The Monkey in the Machine and The Machine in the Monkey [Todos vigilados por máquinas de gracia y amor. Episodio 3: El mono en la máquina y la máquina en el mono]. Película, 2011

Wednesday, 15 November - 7 p.m.

Session 6

Sabatini Building. Auditorium
Second screening showing the entire series: Saturday, 25 November – 4pm
Sabatini Building. Auditorium

All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace. Episode 3: The Monkey in the Machine and the Machine in the Monkey, 2011
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

Adam Curtis. HyperNormalisation [Hipernormalización]. Película, 2016

Saturday, 18 November - 5 p.m.

Session 1, second screening

Sabatini Building. Auditorium

Living in an Unreal World, 2016
UK, digital archive, colour, 5’

HyperNormalisation, 2016
UK, digital archive, colour, 166’

Adam Curtis. Bitter Lake [Lago amargo], 2015

Sunday, 19 November - 5 p.m.

Session 2, second screening

Sabatini Building. Auditorium

Bitter Lake, 2015
UK, digital archive, colour, 136’

Adam Curtis. The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom. Episode 1: Fuck you, Buddy [La trampa: Qué pasó con nuestro sueño de libertad. Episodio 1: Que te den, colega]. Película, 2007

Monday 20 November - 7 p.m.

Session 7

Sabatini Building. Auditorium
Second screening showing the entire series:
Saturday, 2 December – 5pm
Sabatini Building. Auditorium

The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom. Episode 1: Fuck you, Buddy, 2007.
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

Presented by Marta Peirano, journalist, writer, and deputy director of eldiario.es. She is the author of El pequeño libro rojo del activista en la red (The Little Red Book of the Network Activist, Roca, 2015) and editor of El Rival de Prometeo. Vidas de Autómatas Ilustres (The Prometheus Opponent. Lives of Illustrious Automata, Impedimenta, 2009).

Adam Curtis. The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom. Episode 2: The Lonely Robot [La trampa: Qué pasó con nuestro sueño de libertad. Episodio 2: El robot solitario]. Película, 2007

Tuesday, 21 November - 7 p.m.

Session 8

Sabatini Building. Auditorium
Second screening showing the entire series:
Saturday, 2 December – 5pm
Sabatini Building. Auditorium

The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom. Episode 2: The Lonely Robot, 2007
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

Adam Curtis. The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom. Episode 3: We Will Force You To Be Free [La trampa: Qué pasó con nuestro sueño de libertad. Episodio 3: Te obligaremos a ser libre]. Película, 2007

Wednesday, 22 November - 7 p.m.

Session 9

Sabatini Building. Auditorium
Second screening showing the entire series:
Saturday, 2 December – 4pm. Sabatini Building. Auditorium

The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom. Episode 3: We Will Force You To Be Free, 2007
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

Adam Curtis. All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace. Episode 2: The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts [Todos vigilados por máquinas de gracia y amor. Episodio 2: Uso y abuso de conceptos vegetativos]. Película, 2011

Saturday, 25 November - 5 p.m.

Sessions 4, 5 and 6, second screening

Sabatini Building. Auditorium

All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace. Episode 1: Love and Power, 2011
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace. Episode 2: The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts, 2011
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace. Episode 3: The Monkey in the Machine and The Machine in the Monkey, 2011
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

Adam Curtis. The Power of Nightmares. Episode 1: Baby It’s Cold Outside [El poder de las pesadillas. Episodio 1: Cariño, hace frío ahí fuera]. Película, 2004

Wednesday, 29 November - 7 p.m.

Session 10

Sabatini Building. Auditorium 
Second screening showing the entire series: Saturday, 9 December – 5pm
Sabatini Building. Auditorium

The Power of Nightmares. Episode 1: Baby It’s Cold Outside, 2004
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

Presented by Andrés Hispano, essayist, audiovisual producer and professor at Pompeu Fabra University, the Elisava School of Design and Engineering, and other university centres.

Adam Curtis. The Power of Nightmares. Episode 2: The Phantom Victory [El poder de las pesadillas. Episodio 2: La victoria fantasma]. Película, 2004

Thursday, 30 November - 7 p.m.

Session 11

Sabatini Building. Auditorium
Second screening showing the entire series:
Saturday, 9 December – 4pm. Sabatini Building. Auditorium

The Power of Nightmares. Episode 2: The Phantom Victory, 2004
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

Adam Curtis. The Power of Nightmares. Episode 3: The Shadows in the Cave [El poder de las pesadillas. Episodio 3: Las sombras en la caverna]. Película, 2004

Friday, 1 December - 7 p.m.

Session 12

Sabatini Building. Auditorium
Second screening showing the entire series:
Saturday, 9 December – 4pm. Sabatini Building. Auditorium

The Power of Nightmares. Episode 3: The Shadows in the Cave, 2004
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom. Episode 1: Fuck you, Buddy [La trampa: Qué pasó con nuestro sueño de libertad. Episodio 1: Que te jodan, colega], 2007

Saturday, 2 December - 5 p.m.

Sessions 7, 8 and 9, second screening

Sabatini Building. Auditorium

The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom. Episode 1: Fuck you, Buddy, 2007
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom. Episode 2: The Lonely Robot, 2007
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom. Episode 3: We Will Force You To Be Free, 2007
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

Adam Curtis. The Century of the Self. Episode 1: Happiness Machines [El siglo del Yo. Episodio 1: Máquinas de felicidad]. Película, 2002

Monday, 4 December - 7 p.m.

Session 13

Sabatini Building. Auditorium
Second screening showing the entire series:
Sunday, 17 December – 12pm, episodes 1 and 2, and 5pm, episodes 3 and 4. Sabatini Building. Auditorium

The Century of the Self. Episode 1: Happiness Machines, 2002
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

Presented by Luis Martínez, journalist and film critic for El Mundo.

Adam Curtis. The Century of the Self. Episode 2: The Engineering of Consent [El siglo del Yo. Episodio 2: Ingeniería del consentimiento]. Película, 2002

Tuesday, 5 December - 7 p.m.

Session 14

Sabatini Building. Auditorium
Second screening showing the entire series:
Sunday, 17 December – 12pm, episodes 1 and 2, and 5pm, episodes 3 and 4. Sabatini Building. Auditorium

The Century of the Self. Episode 2: The Engineering of Consent, 2002
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

Adam Curtis.  The Century of the Self. Episode 3: There is a Policeman Inside All Our Heads, He Must Be Destroyed [El siglo del Yo. Episodio 3: Hay un policía en nuestras cabezas que debe ser destruido]. Película, 2002

Wednesday, 6 December - 5:30 p.m.

Session 15

Sabatini Building. Auditorium 
Second screening showing the entire series: Sunday, 17 December – 12pm, episodes 1 and 2, and 5pm, episodes 3 and 4. Sabatini Building. Auditorium

The Century of the Self. Episode 3: There is a Policeman Inside All Our Heads, He Must Be Destroyed, 2002
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

Adam Curtis. The Century of the Self. Episode 4: Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering [El siglo del Yo. Episodio 4: Ocho personas bebiendo vino en Kettering]. Película, 2002

Thursday, 7 December - 7 p.m.

Session 16

Sabatini Building. Auditorium 
Second screening showing the entire series: Sunday, 17 December – 12pm, episodes 1 and 2, and 5pm, episodes 3 and 4. Sabatini Building. Auditorium

The Century of the Self. Episode 4: Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering, 2002
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

Adam Curtis. The Power of Nightmares. Episode 1: Baby It’s Cold Outside [El poder de las pesadillas. Episodio 1: Cariño, hace frío ahí fuera]. Película, 2004

Saturday, 9 December - 5 p.m.

Sessions 10, 11 and 12, second screening

Sabatini Building. Auditorium 

The Power of Nightmares. Episode 1: Baby It’s Cold Outside, 2004
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

The Power of Nightmares. Episode 2: The Phantom Victory, 2004
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

The Power of Nightmares. Episode 3: The Shadows in the Cave, 2004
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

Adam Curtis. Rise and Fall of TV journalism [Ascensión y caída de un periodista de televisión]. Película, 2007

Monday, 11 December - 7 p.m.

Session 17

Sabatini Building. Auditorium
Second screening:
Monday, 18 December –  7pm. Sabatini Building. Auditorium

Every Day is Like Sunday, 2011
UK, digital archive, colour, 45’

Oh dearism I, 2009
UK, digital archive, colour, 7’

Oh dearism II, 2014
UK, digital archive, colour, 5’

Murdoch’s revolution, 2010
UK, digital archive, colour, 5’

Rise and Fall of TV journalism, 2007
UK, digital archive, colour, 4’

Richard Nixon: Paranoia and Moral Panics, 2010
UK, digital archive, colour, 6’

Adam Curtis. The Way of All Flesh [El camino de toda la carne]. Película, 1997

Wednesday, 13 December - 7 p.m.

Session 18

Sabatini Building. Auditorium
Second screening: Tuesday, 19 December – 7pm. Sabatini Building. Auditorium

The Way of All Flesh, 1997
UK, digital archive, colour, 52’

Adam Curtis. The Century of the Self. Episode 1: Happiness Machines [El siglo del Yo. Episodio 1: Máquinas de felicidad]. Película, 2002

Sunday 17 December - 12:00 p.m.

Sessions 13, 14, 15 and 16, second screening

Sabatini Building. Auditorium
12pm, episodes 1 and 2, and 5pm, episodes 3 and 4

The Century of the Self. Episode 1: Happiness Machines, 2002
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

The Century of the Self. Episode 2: The Engineering of Consent, 2002
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

The Century of the Self. Episode 3: There is a Policeman Inside All Our Heads, He Must Be Destroyed, 2002
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

The Century of the Self. Episode 4: Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering, 2002
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

Adam Curtis. Rise and Fall of TV journalism [Ascensión y caída de un periodista de televisión]. Película, 2007

Monday, 18 December - 7 p.m.

Session 17, second screening

Sabatini Building. Auditorium

Every Day is Like Sunday, 2011
UK, digital archive, colour, 45’

Oh dearism I, 2009
UK, digital archive, colour, 7’

Oh dearism II, 2014
UK, digital archive, colour, 5’

Murdoch’s revolution, 2010
UK, digital archive, colour, 5’

Rise and Fall of TV journalism, 2007
UK, digital archive, colour, 4’

Richard Nixon: Paranoia and Moral Panics, 2010
UK, digital archive, colour, 6’

Adam Curtis. The Way of All Flesh [El camino de toda la carne]. Película, 1997

Tuesday, 19 December - 7 p.m.

Session 18, second screening

Sabatini Building. Auditorium

The Way of All Flesh, 1997
UK, digital archive, colour, 52’

Adam Curtis. Pandora ’s Box. Episode 1: The Engineers Plot [La caja de Pandora. Episodio 1: El complot de los ingenieros]. Película, 1992

Wednesday, 20 December - 7 p.m.

Session 19

Sabatini Building. Auditorium
Second screening showing the entire series:
Saturday, 23 December – 12pm, episodes 1, 2 and 3, and 5pm, episodes 4, 5 and 6. Sabatini Building. Auditorium

Pandora ’s Box. Episode 1: The Engineers Plot, 1992
UK, digital archive, colour, 56’

Pandora’s Box. Episode 2: To The Brink of Eternity, 1992
UK, digital archive, colour, 56’

Adam Curtis. Pandora ’s Box. Episode 3: The League of Gentlemen [La caja de Pandora. Episodio 3: La liga de los caballeros]. Película, 1992

Thursday, 21 December - 7 p.m.

Session 20

Sabatini Building. Auditorium
Second screening showing the entire series:
Saturday, 23 December – 12pm, episodes 1, 2 and 3, and 5pm, episodes 4, 5 and 6. Sabatini Building. Auditorium

Pandora ’s Box. Episode 3: The League of Gentlemen, 1992
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

Pandora’s Box. Episode 4: Goodbye Mrs Ant, 1992
UK, digital archive, colour, 57’

Adam Curtis. Pandora ’s Box. Episode 5: Black Power [La caja de Pandora. Episodio 5: Poder negro]. Película, 1992

Friday, 22 December - 7 p.m.

Session 21

Sabatini Building. Auditorium 
Second screening showing the entire series: Saturday, 23 December – 12pm, episodes 1, 2 and 3, and 5pm, episodes 4, 5 and 6. Sabatini Building. Auditorium

Pandora ’s Box. Episode 5: Black Power, 1992
UK, digital archive, colour, 56’

Pandora ’s Box. Episode 6: A is for Atom, 1992
UK, digital archive, colour, 56'

Adam Curtis. Pandora ’s Box. Episode 1: The Engineers Plot [La caja de Pandora. Episodio 1: El complot de los ingenieros]. Película, 1992

Saturday, 23 December

Sessions 19, 20 and 21, second screening

Sabatini Building. Auditorium

At 12:00 p.m.

Pandora ’s Box. Episode 1: The Engineers Plot, 1992
UK, digital archive, colour, 56’

Pandora’s Box. Episode 2: To The Brink of Eternity, 1992
UK, digital archive, colour, 56’

Pandora ’s Box. Episode 3: The League of Gentlemen, 1992
UK, digital archive, colour, 60’

At 5:00 p.m.

Pandora’s Box. Episode 4: Goodbye Mrs Ant, 1992
UK, digital archive, colour, 57’

Pandora ’s Box. Episode 5: Black Power, 1992
UK, digital archive, colour, 56’

Pandora ’s Box. Episode 6: A is for Atom, 1992
UK, digital archive, colour,  56’

Wednesday, 27 December - 7 p.m.

Session 22

Sabatini Building. Auditorium

Blank Page I
At the express wish of the film-maker, the film will be announced just minutes before its screening.

Thursday, 28 December - 7 p.m.

Session 23

Sabatini Building. Auditorium

Blank Page II
At the express wish of the film-maker, the film will be announced just minutes before its screening.