Expodemic – Festival delle Accademie e degli Istituti di Cultura stranieri a Roma
Bjørn Melhus
Screening and talk with Lorenzo Bendetti
In Cars: the end of a great love?

Talk with Niklas Maak, Olivier Guez and Lorenzo Benedetti  


25 – 26 June 2024

On 25 and 26 June 25 MACRO will host two events part of the public programme of encounters, of the exhibition Expodemic – Festival of Foreign Academies and Cultural Institutes currently on show at Palazzo delle Esposizioni. 



Screening and conversation with Bjørn Melhus and Lorenzo Benedetti
25 June 2024, from 12 pm to 6.30 pm  


Bjørn Melhus, a visual artist currently in residence at the Accademia Tedesca Roma Villa Massimo, will present in the museum’s auditorium, on loop throughout the day, the two films WEIT WEIT WEG (FAR FAR AWAY) (1995) and SUGAR, (2019). 
At 6.30 pm, Melhus in dialogue with the curator Lorenzo Benedetti will talk about his significant artistic production and research and, drawing a line between the past and the future, will analyze the theme of the individual’s self-exhibition considering the current Instagram culture.



The protagonist of the film, Dorothea lives a solitary life with her beloved dog Toto in Sasnak. Turned by the world of the Americans children’s television, which floods into her room every day, she attempts to escape into this land beyond the rainbow with the help of a little cellular phone. She manages to create a virtual telebody with whom she can communicate, but disappears soon into the world of American TV, using the argument, “There is no place like home”. The film alluding to The Wizard of Oz (1939)), was shot on 16mm film, in 1993 and 1994, a time the internet was not really established yet, mobile phones almost didn’t exist, and distance was still an obstacle for communication.  



SUGAR, 20’, 2019 


In SUGAR, a 4K digital production, released almost a quarter of a century later, a so-called HON, (Human Organism Normal) in a pyjama is caught in a futuristic space, caught in an almost endless repetition loop quoting influencer language in support of our current consumer culture. Both, HON and Dorothy are forms of mediatized representations of themselves. While the first is still naive and flirting with her echo and visual representation, the HON is reduced to a verbal marketing machine, unreachable for the humanoid robot SUGAR and it’s warm approaches of physical touch and empathy. Even the fake porcelain dog Toto has its re-appearance as “emotional support animal”.  



In Cars: the end of a great love?
Conversation with Niklas Maak, Olivier Guez and Lorenzo Benedetti, 
26 June 2024, 6.30 pm 


On Wednesday, 26 June, Niklas Maak, German architectural theorist, journalist and author will be in conversation with French writer, journalist and screenwriter Olivier Guez. During the talk, moderated by the curator Lorenzo Benedetti, they will discuss the object that marked the 20th century, the automobile.  


If there is one object that has dominated the 20th century, it is the car. It shaped cities and left its mark on films, books and the collective conscience. For Pier Paolo Pasolini, the car was a tool for observing the world; in 1959, Pasolini he along the entire Italian coast in a Fiat Millecento for his book “The Long Road of Sand”, in the 70ies, he drove his Alfa Romeo over the Grande Raccordo Anulare to the sea and died there. Which role plays the car in our popular culture and for our mythologies? What does the design of cars then and now reveal about the dreams and traumata of an era? What will happen to this dream machine in the future – and what will happen to the places of the automotive modernity, the freeways and malls and office cities that were built around the car and are now increasingly decaying, due to the digitalization of society? And if the 21st century builds everything around the mobile phone in the same way that the 20th century built everything around the automobile: what will be the objects with which we escape, set off and experience the world?



Special thanks to Accademia Tedesca di Roma Villa Massimo 

Main partner: Eni
Media partner: Grandi stazioni and Dimensioni suono soft