That film markets are amongst the most strategically significant spaces in the battle for cultural hegemony has been a commonplace of cultural criti- cism at the latest since Adorno spoke of the culture of High Modernism in the post-war West as a novel recounted by Hollywood and the media. In the past decade, the conquering of the imaginative space by cinema and its dis- tribution channels has been joined by a wholly different, more realistic strat- egy of resource exploitation and occupation of space in the large-scale proj- ects undertaken by multinational media giants – a strategy made possible by the globalization of filmmaking and film markets: the outsourcing of pro- duction. Well-developed production sites, such as are available in Latin America, Asia, but also in Eastern Europe since the fall of the Iron Curtain, often serve here as ports of call for US blockbusters. With diverse conse- quences, some of which affect the politics of image production.

Krassimir Terziev is interested in “Making of ...” films that look behind the scenes at the machinery of film-making. Itself an entertainment-industry invention, this format is used for specials on DVDs or on TV to furnish the studio products with a wider marketing context by way of home stories, backstage reports, etc. Terziev has, so to speak, turned the format against the intentions of its creators, focusing his gaze on very specific film-industry recruits: he explores the role played by extras, taking an extremely large-scale international production as an example for his study. Using various formats, he sheds light both analytically and artistically on how these “extras” experience the making of the film.

The artist’s choice of words – he deliberately uses the English term “extras” – already hints at the aspect of the economic dimensions of the enterprise, at the fact that these are extra workers, as well as at the extra costs involved in film production.

For his own “Making of ...” Terziev uses scenes from the Battle of Troy, at the time of its making the most expensive blockbuster ever. The film is a heroic epic based on the ancient tale told in Homer’s Iliad, featuring superstars like Brad Pitt and Eric Bana in the cast. It is part of a recent revival of antique epics, whose function, in terms of the politics of imagery against the backdrop of an America shaken by the Iraq War, is more than ambivalent. Terziev intertwines this “Making of” with a documentary on the exploitation of young Bulgarians working on the set as extras.

In interviews with the young men, anecdotes reveal their expectations from the film, their impressions as time goes on, and also their disillusionment. We learn that the 300 Bulgarians selected – who were recruited by a former British general in line with the US media image of what an ideal Mediterranean type should look like – were at the lowest end of the pay scale in the production. This fact motivated the Bulgarians to mobilize and strike, which resulted in a minimal improvement in pay. They were subse- quently put on the same level as the lowest-paid workers in the main shoot- ing location, the Mexicans.

From Terziev’s diagrams we can put together a chronology of the film Troy and the various shooting locations, which demonstrate almost paradigmatically how the global production logic of the film industry mirrors current conditions and how it goes about finding its flexible hierarchies and solutions: USA: producers; Great Britain: crew; Malta: shooting location; Turkey: historical setting of Troy; Greece: Iliad as the main literary work of antiquity; Bulgaria: recruiting of Mediterranean extras; Mexico: shooting location.

Terziev calls his “Making of ...” simply A Movie. It consists of two 27-minute video projections in which the artist has 50 extras promenade for five hours in historical costume: a universal scenography, no specific roles for the actors and no spoken words. Flanked by three cameras, the actors wait in vain for instructions. What is projected is at first a pleasurable and then grueling sauntering in historical costumes through time and the ages – great historical dramatizations parade past, the costumes of four decades of the once glorious state film studios of Todor Shivkov’s socialist republic.

The living images congeal into historical tableaus evoking a plethora of Bulgarian film references. Myths about the national film landscape of the last four decades, mixed in with state propaganda? Small irritations emerge when people in contemporary street dress walk into the picture. What are they doing there? Are they the ones who are supposed to issue directions? The bodies become more Dantesque, are no longer captured in action. Complex connections and tensions arise relating to the convention of cine- ma and what it entails. In their historical costumes, the extras portray vari- ous figures in Bulgarian (media) history, because the costumes come from the stores of the former Boyana Film Studios – the prestige project of Bulgarian film production in the era of communism – recently privatized.

The pointed allusion to the history of Bulgarian film and its transforma- tion is only one side of Terziev’s film – one that is barely discernible for someone like me who doesn’t know much about Bulgarian film. What do we see? Gilles Deleuze once remarked that to perceive means: “to subtract from the picture that which does not interest us; there is less and less in our perception. We are so filled with pictures that we no longer see the pictures outside ourselves for what they are.1

In Terziev’s artistic dispositive, it is likewise often impossible for us to dis- tinguish between a functional principle and its effects. The fact that something becomes apparent to the “unknowing,” to viewers unfamiliar with the cultural context, can be described best using Bergson’s intuition argument. Bergson speaks of a singular power of negation harbored by the intuitive image. It conveys the feeling that something is “off,” that some- thing has gone wrong, that topics have been approached under false pretenses. This is exactly the type of intuitive reading that emerges from

A Movie – a gap that makes the indefinable, the ambiguous, perhaps even the “false” perceptible as the actual message. A Movie oversteps the bounds of the media-critical documentary format and reaches far into a space of aesthetic experience and its contradictory nature.

In Remote Resemblances, another work that deals with the regime of format- ting and selection in the film industry, the artist looks at the appropriation and transfer of existing photos from this production world into the art context, namely the direct transfer of casting photos from a shoot conducted by the Talent Partners Casting & Management Agency. What does it mean, this transfer of output from a casting, a great many portraits of people, all depicted in the same way, to the art world? All of them – children, adults and older people, men and women – hold a sheet of paper up displaying brief personal data for the archive: name, what is probably a phone number and height – making for a peculiar selection gallery. Which economic reality, but above all which wishes and desires move people to apply to be an extra? Is it the promise of a quick way to get a job, the lure of being part of the glamorous world of film, or do these people harbor more far-reaching hopes of perhaps being discovered one day as a star? Represented in this way, the actors’ motivations remain open for interpreta- tion and diverse. But the casting nevertheless unveils the social scene and its contradictions just as intuitively: The pictures have no subjective intentions – this is a just a collection of faces, a frozen emblem, a pile of samples. In a recent, highly acclaimed text, Ranciere posed anew the old question of the mixing of the things of art and the things of the world as an essential fea- ture of the aesthetic regime of art: we now have to ask ourselves what constitutes the present version of this mixture. 2

Krassimir Terziev lines up the individual shots to create a large installa- tion. The innumerable portraits yield at first glance the image of a collective situation. Negatively formulated, however, this collective consists of rivals and shows more a tendency toward a situation leading to exclusion than one promoting a feeling of community with a common cause in the sense of political goal. The group or individual shots are arranged according to criteria of similarity, by gender, age or family relations. One is tempted here to quote a passage from late Wittgenstein. In his Philosophical Investigations Wittgenstein draws our attention to the various kinds of games (board games, card games, ball games, battle games, etc.). What do they all have in common? “Don’t say: There must be something common, or they would not be called ‘games’” – but look and see whether there is anything com- mon to all. – For if you look at them you will not see something that is common to all, but similarities, relationships, and a whole series of them at that. To repeat: don’t think, but look! {...} I can think of no better expres- sion to characterize these similarities than ‘family resemblances’; for the var- ious resemblances between members of a family: build, features, color of eyes, gait, temperament etc. etc. overlap and criss-cross in the same way.3 –  Wittgenstein goes on to say that is not interested in “producing something common to all that we call language.” Instead, “these phenomena have no one thing in common” but are rather “related to one another in many different ways.”

It is as though Terziev had intuitively construed Wittgenstein’s method- ological command “Don’t think, but look!” as an artistic intervention and set it off against Bergson’s metaphysical intuition as a useful tool for examining the subject matter at hand. Bergson thinks, namely, that there is noth- ing that laughter or the forms of the comic (the comedy of gestures, poses, movements, situations, expressions or characters, etc.) have in common in the sense of a definition with necessary and sufficient conditions, but that we can find only resemblances and relationships. And Bergson bases this conclusion on the distinction between two forms of cognition: intuition and analysis.4 Intuition can stimulate the artist to produce an “image centrale,” which can then be further developed in other images based on family resemblances. Remote Resemblances is a good example of this kind of interpenetration of various rhetorics and demonstrates their shift and significance. Terziev’s “image centrale” is a metaphor for the thorough permeation of capitalism throughout all areas of society and the resulting separation and isolation of individuals. The transition from communism to post-communism did not furnish the subjects with far-reaching freedoms, but instead caught up the individual in the narrow grid of the commercialization industry of the New Economy and its global production and reference systems.