Der Geisterseher

Der Geisterseher is one of Klaus vom Bruch’s typical found footage collages of TV images, which he started developing while living in California in 1975 and 1976. He was inspired by his teacher John Baldessari and artist protest movements (such as Guerilla TV) that used television and small portable video cameras not just to experiment with various media but also for political ends. Back in Cologne, he co-founded with Ulrike Rosenbach and Marcel Odenbach a video label called “ATV – Alternative Television, Cologne, originating after thousands of hours in front of European and American television.” The film shots of Allied leaders at the crucial Yalta Conference in 1945 are well-known. The video’s title allows the viewer to slip into the role of the “ghost seer” to Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Josef Stalin. The war against Germany and Japan was won, the rivalry among the Allies about to get underway in earnest. Shortly afterward, the Americans dropped the first atom bomb on Japan, literally turning people into ghosts in a split second. The Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union began, ushering in an arms race among states with nuclear capabilities. The famous mushroom cloud of a bomb test in the desert of New Mexico goes off again and again in a rhythmical loop, accompanied by the dance-like score from Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights.