Artists, film makers, musicians and journalists from all over the world are grappling with the social and political issues of our time in short videos under the heading of “Second Truth”. The resulting music videos (Melts) do not include any words and are a mixture of music clips and short films.
Truth is relative. We see this every day in the age of YouTube and Facebook. As a consequence of our interconnectedness, a public space has arisen that is completely unregulated. In contrast to conventional forms of media, every person who uses this space becomes a sender, and the truth becomes a commodity that is used to exert interpretational sovereignty and power. Those who interpret the world and the truth on our behalf are becoming all the more important as a result.
The people who publish Melts under “Second Truth” want to expand our horizons – to offer us an alternative. A second truth.
Born in March 1976 as the only son of the German actor couple Gundi Ellert and Daniel Friedrich. Growing up between Berlin, Munich and Düsseldorf in a theatre family, Julian started out as an actor himself. He switched to music at the age of twenty. Record contract, many years of work in the advertising music industry. 2017 Start of the international short film initiative “Second Truth”.
“That which is wrong is only ever what is wrong at a certain time.”
A Melt essentially consists of three elements: an attitude represented by a person, an issue presented in the form of a socio-political question and a commentary provided through music. These three elements combine to form a kind of political essay in the form of a Snapchat tweet. A Melt turns the news and headlines that flash past us back into an emotional, tangible story.
“Second Truth” is also a series of concerts. Melts are accompanied in art house cinemas by live music performed by musicians, just like it was during the era of silent films. At the beginning of the 20th century, when films were still young, they were just like a Melt – silent. Films nevertheless spread at breakneck speed since a silent film has a decisive advantage: there are no language barriers. A film screening was also a concert at the same time. Bandsmen accompanied what was happening on the screen with music and noises. In Japan, a completely unique art form developed. ‘Benshis’ were narrators, actors, singers and commentators all wrapped up in one person. They supplemented the film with their own explanations and interpretations. As a result, they achieved the same level of fame and importance as the film itself. Melts take the medium of film back to its roots. Universally understandable, relevant to the times and an art form in its own right.
When we conquered the internet in 1999, we entered into a new world. We could be whoever we wanted, produce opinions or headlines, exchange knowledge and hide behind strange profiles. Communication changed fundamentally and brought us closer together. But at the same time, society disintegrated into lots of little pockets of opinion. And these Opinions we have been divided into, are less and less exchanged and connected with each other. Nowadays huge swathes of public opinion are in open conflict and it looks as though our society is becoming even more deeply divided. Back in 1999, we were still like children. Today we find ourselves in the midst of a battle over nothing less than the interpretation of the truth.
The truth is one of our most interesting inventions. The more we develop this virtuality, the more it shows its true nature. That makes a lot of people worried. Our minds build on and rely on a consistent picture of our surroundings. When something happens in our immediate vicinity, so when something is absolute, it is the truth for the immediate area and a purpose in itself. But if somebody presents this local truth as part of the global truth, it is the purpose for which it is sent that is key. It is no longer the truth but an instrument. In an age when more people are able to send information at the same time than ever before, it is no wonder that so much revolves around ‘the truth’ in the modern era. Yet this is not the age of truth, but the age of the interpreters.
And this brings us to the heart of the matter: the machines. Without them, the world around us would be unrecognisable. Only machines can process such large amounts of data for us. Science, mathematics and information – every discipline has become reliant on them. They filter, interpret, order, clarify and are becoming more and more a part of our intelligence. The ability to think is escaping us, becoming a process that takes place outside of our bodies over which we no longer have control. The problem here is not that this development is taking place so quickly, but so slowly. Bit by bit, we accustom ourselves to the next step in technology and give up more and more control in exchange for convenience.
Our brains work like tracks in the sand. As children, we are blank pages. When we begin to fill in the pages, we decide to follow certain paths, and the more often we tread these paths, the deeper our tracks become. We might well be quicker, but we are also more inflexible. Interestingly, it is precisely this mechanism that machines utilise as well. They show us whatever fits in with our world view and it becomes increasingly difficult for us to think different thoughts. We age in our heads. But at the same time we live for longer. And as we become more developed, these embedded thoughts remain longer in this world. If you think it through, this suggests that our fear of dying is perhaps our greatest enemy in the battle for the truth.