Determining the longest films yields different results depending on what criteria are used.While most cinematic films have a broad theatrical release in multiple locations through normal distribution channels, some of the world’s longest films are experimental or art films that were never simultaneously released to multiple screens or intended for mainstream audiences. They may have been shown in art galleries where audiences were intended to walk in and out. By the end of 2011, the longest film screened was the Danish experimental film Modern Times Forever (Stora Enso Building, Helsinki) made by Superflex. It has a runtime of 240 hours and a one-off screening began on March 23, 2011 at the IHME Contemporary Art Festival in Helsinki. 240 hours!!! Can you imagine that ? This was the length of the final product after editing, making it the Longest Movie Ever Made till date.
The film shows centuries of decay, compressed into the span of the film, marking Helsinki’s Stora Enso headquarters building. A film about what would happen to the Stora Enso building as an architectural and ideological symbol over the next few thousands of years, if only time would affect the building. The film was first time shown in Helsinki Market Square on a 40m2 LED screen, so that one could see the original building simultaneously with the building in the film. The film lasted ten days, i.e. the work lasted as long as its exhibition period. This continuous exhibition period meant that the film could be watched 24 hours a day for ten days. The film was directed by the BBC. Apart from being present in our everyday lives, quietly changing for ten days, the film´s time races ahead at an estimated several-hundred-year gallop each day. The film is a fiction about what could happen to the Stora Enso building as an architectural and ideological symbol, over the next few thousands of years, if the days of humankind come to an end, and only time and the weather affect the building. Via the decaying image of Stora Enso’s headquarters, the work raises issues of climate change, urban planning, Finland’s industrial history, and changes in economic structures. Turn your everyday route towards the Market Square and take a look at the future! In so called Vanitas paintings there are specific symbols that remind people of death. SUPERFLEX´s work acts like a Vanitas painting, reminding us of the ephemerality of the built environment. At the same time, it prompts us to think about the future of architecture, the city, the land and the globe. The underlying message in Vanitas is: Seize the moment!