Nelly Ben Hayoun on the impossible pursuit of the origins of knowledge

Her new documentary, informed by the philosophy of Hannah Arendt, explores what are the origins of knowledge.

I am (not) a Monster documentary

Nelly Ben Hayoun, who spoke at the Design Indaba conference in 20112013 and 2017, has a resume that stretches nearly a mile. But she is first and foremost a designer of experiences.

She embodies this role once again when tackling her third feature length documentary titled I am (Not) a Monster. Today she is releasing the trailer of the film which is set for release in Autumn 2019.

The film is inspired and motivated by the works and philosophy of political theorist Hannah Arendt,  (who died in 1975). She coined the concept of the ‘banality of evil'.

 Her book, The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951), and essays such as, Truth and Politics (1967), are introduced as ‘urgently’ relevant to our times - with a recent spike of interest in her work, now translated into dozens of languages.

 For Hannah Arendt, activism has to be understood from the perspective of 'creating something new in the world'. So, Ben Hayoun is hoping that the film will encourage the viewers to take action, build organised communities and platform to support plurality of thinking and fight censorship in a context where temptations for authoritarian regimes are making a revival with the election of Trump and Bolsonaro in Brazil to cite a few.

I am (not) a monster Trailer from I am (not) a monster on Vimeo.

Dressed as Hannah Arendt and accompanied with Japanese Bunraku puppets, she takes the audience on a cross-continental journey, picking the brains of philosophers, artists and activists, including Noam Chomsky, Lord Mayor of Sheffield Magid Magid, Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, students of Hannah Arendt, and cyborg artist Neil Harbisson (below). Harbisson was a speaker at this year’s Design Indaba.

Ben Hayoun along with the University of the Underground have also just launched 'The Library of Dangerous". 'The Library of Dangerous' is a capsule containing unpublished audios from some of the interviewees featured in the film. The capsule aims to raise awareness against censorship and to encourage the plurality of thinking. The records are on auction and can be found here

noam chomsky, I am not a monster

The dates of screenings and international release will be announced this summer 2019.

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Read more about film:

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The innovative, unconventional and inspiring work of Droga5

Watch the Talk with Nelly Ben Hayoun