Film Screening »Les marches du héros absurde« + »Sansissue«
A film still from the film Héros absurde by Edmund Kuppel shows two men at the foot of an outdoor stone staircase, one on the left, the other on the right. They wear caps and fishing gear. They ask: "Tu penses qu'il nous filment vraiment?"
World premiere. With discussion with filmmaker Edmund Kuppel afterwards
Sat, November 06, 2021 7 pm CET

Three eras, three artists and three different narrative levels: With »Les marches du héros absurde« and »Sansissue«, Edmund Kuppel has created two artworks that dissolve the Sisyphus of Homer and the Sisyphus of Albert Camus in a kind of palimpsest of three perspectives that tell of the absurdity of the monotonous search on the path of life.

When Sisyphus stems his rock up the steep hill, only to see it roll down again shortly before reaching the summit, he finds himself for the second time in the underworld – this time forever, trapped in the eternal endless loop of his absurd toil. Edmund Kuppel takes up this motif, along the lines of Albert Camus' existentialist interpretation, and shot two films, which also trace their paths in seemingly eternal loops through the monotony of absurdity.

Edmund Kuppel is one of the most important pioneers of media art in Germany. He influenced the pioneering work of media artists worldwide in the 1970s by becoming a role model for a critical and reflective examination of the mechanisms of the media.

After the film screening there will be a discussion with Edmund Kuppel.

2G rule for events

From 01.11.2021, the 2G rule will apply to events at the ZKM, i.e. only vaccinated or recovered persons will be admitted to the events. Either a valid vaccination certificate or convalescent certificate must be presented as proof. The implementation and design of the 2G rule is the responsibility of the federal states. You can read the current regulations here. For exhibitions, guided tours and visits to the bistro, the 3G rule (vaccinated (geimpft), tested (getestet) or recovered (genesen) persons) still applies.

On the left and right side a wooded catfish protrudes into the picture. Between sea and sky share the picture. In the exact center of the picture a mirror is stretched on wire ropes, on which a person can be seen on a stone staircase.

Les marches du héros absurde

After the essay by Albert Camus. A film by Edmund Kuppel

Quotes from Camus' »Le Mythe de Sisyphe« accompany the filmmaker as he climbs and descends a flight of stairs up and down the cliffs of the English Channel. As he descends, he can be seen through a mirror mounted centrally in front of the camera, apparently descending from the sky to the sea between the mountain flanks. 

»At each of those moments when he [Sisyphus] leaves the heights and gradually sinks toward the lairs of the gods, he is superior to his fate,« Albert Camus asserts and assures: »He is stronger than his rock.«

Camus had declared Sisyphus an absurd hero because of his passions as well as his torture. In his opinion, to realize the absurdity of life cannot be an end, but only a beginning.

Towards the end of the film, Edmund Kuppel shows two crab fishermen walking up the stairs and talking about him and his film. Both of them think both to be absurd.

Video, color, sound, ca. 25 min., version 2018

An enormous rock fills almost the whole picture. At its foot the waves are crashing hard, at its top a cloudless summer sky is stretching.


Filmed with an extremely subjective camera, the author of the film tries to escape the labyrinth of tunnels, caves and grottos in »Château Sansissue«. Even if he succeeds from time to time in reaching the light, his path always leads into the dark. Only occasionally a hand or a foot, sometimes his shadow, can be seen of himself. How laboriously he searches his way, however, can always be heard live. Off screen, he remembers comments and advice from books and his circle of friends. The result is a cinematic self-portrait without having seen the person.

Ainsi chacun vit son château.

Video, color, sound, ca. 35 min., 2021

Organization / Institution
ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe