Malevich, in 1918, painted White on White: pure transcendental space. All humanity could possess that which had previously been the province of holy men. Geometry was rendered divine. And so, therefore, was architecture.
We set out to unravel the utopian promise. We conducted a search for: unobstructed space; geometry; salt; water; oil. We met men who inhabit the world of extraction. We found cities that had been deserts. We moved from apartment block to apartment block. We went through a succession of reactions: repulsion, mystification, admiration. (That we found these cities strange at all mystified the locals.) We registered the crumbling concrete towers left by bygone master planners, and the emergent forms conceived by their successors. We came to see these landscapes as the sets for our film. We named our location City A.
Mr. Holz came into being on a train. He goes to City A to search for a job. Unlike the other passengers, he has no one waiting for him at the destination. He has, for some time, been without a first name. He is an itinerant code-writer, moving from job to job, among prospectors, wildcatters, engineers, businessmen.
Men come to City A to sell things: spare parts, drill rigs, planes, concrete. They come to City A to sell their services; they are expatriate experts eager to cash in on the lack of experts.
The missing element is water. You would think the manufacture of drinking water to be impossible, like turning lead into gold. Not here.
Here: Holz gets off the train, sometime in late 2016.
There was a number and then a dash.
That meant he was still alive.
Producer/Director: Eve Sussman
Editor: Kevin Messman
Original algorithm programmer: Jeff Garneau
Web developer: Joshua Noble
Texts: Kevin Messman, Eve Sussman, Jeff Wood
Mr. Holz: Jeff Wood
Voiceovers: Olga Grislis, Alexandra Lerman, Misha Libman, Valeriya Shondra, Jim White, Jeff Wood
Music: Colleen Burke, Algis Kizys, Volkmar Klien, Lumendog (Bradford Reed, Geoff Gersh, Adam Kendall, Christof Knoche), Matthew Smith
Camera: Angela Christlieb, Sergei Franklin, Simon Lee, Eve Sussman
Production Manager: Catherine Mahoney
Assistant Director, Translator, 2nd AC/Production Coordinator: Misha Libman
Line Producer: Vlad Rotmistroff
Art Director: Jiannis Savvidis
Production Coordinator: Olga Mustach
Principal Performers: Kenen Akurpekov, Meyrambek Eralin, Marina Fedorenko, Olga Grislis, Artur Medina, Uri, Gyul Ziyatova
Additional Performers: Sultan Ramazanovich Abdulaev, Maira Bakberdiyeva, Saniya Balhiyeva, Kenjebek Basharov, Dina Donenbayeva, Vladimir Dromashko, Banu Mankeyeva, Ardak Moldaniyazova, Kuralai Myrzalinova
Grip/Electric: Alexander Amshukov, Vitaliy Demidov, Ivan Kukva, Anvar Mukashev, Dmitri Peshkin
Crane: Vitaliy Kuzmin (technician), Vlad Zazherilo (operator)
Almaty Production Coordinator: Kiril Roschin
Tien Shan Observatory: Anatoly Kusakin, Slova
Consultants: Vagif Bogodorovich, Jean Marc Deom, Alix Landgrebe, Zhaslan Mukanov, Renato Sala
Special thanks: Abai Cultural Center; Aktau Police; Space Bar, Aktau