(Germany 2019; Dir: Neozoon Collective)

FragMANts

This is so amazing! My hands are shaking!

review by Valentina Smirnova

FragMANts

length: 6

year of production: 2019

country of production: Germany

director: Neozoon Collective

editing: Neozoon

festivals: 65th Int. Short Film Festival Oberhausen

© images: FragMANts (Neozoon Collective)

Smiling faces and rhythmic movements. Touching, stroking, knocking. Fingertips sliding over material. A woman who likes to stroke a cosmetic bottle. A man who beats his hairy stomach. Another man who crushes video cassettes wearing military boots. Unboxing. ASMR. Like in the clip and fold book, new excerpts from YouTube videos open up to the audience, stacked on top of each other until whole bodies of modern consumers emerge from the fragments. Ecstatic exclamations that aim to convey an "unspeakable" pleasure mix with the rhythmic noises that make the protagonists* inside an ever swelling beat.

"FragMANts" is a direct and aggressive film about a direct and aggressive consumerist culture of modern societies. In their film the members* of the Art Collective Neozoon research consumerism as religion. The uniform music resulting from the scraps of words, laughter and sounds of materials being touched or destroyed shows the ritualization of consumption: how people follow a certain trajectory of consumer experience day after day, from video to video, they repeat themselves and thus reproduce consumer madness until it becomes a disturbing endless loop.

The filmmakers* show a virtual world whose reality is simultaneously based on the reality of the event: Vloggers must show real objects of their consumption, really worship or destroy various things in order to fetishize them and represent their own bodies as part of this experience. On the one hand, the creation of content of this kind often proves to be a purely individual experience in a situation where the Vlogger theoretically does not need technical help from anyone else. At the same time, the film succeeds in showing a kind of "fragmentation" of society: there is a screen, a YouTube channel, a Vloggerin (only visible in detail) and the audience on the other side of the screen.

Consumption, which gradually involves the whole body in this process, becomes a "physical" thing in "FragMANts". It captures the whole being and turns the audience* inside into accomplices. The music becomes faster, the movements accelerate and finally the film becomes a surrealistic trance experience until only devilish laughter remains, as contagious as consumption itself.