The Electric Kiss

What once may have seemed novel, even quaint, about the algorithmically-generated video work of Rainer Kohlberger, today—in an age of augmented reality, automated image production, and user-friendly artificial intelligence—seems startling prescient. It makes a certain sense, then, that with The Electric Kiss, Kohlberger would attempt to grapple with our current era by going back to the future.  

In Kohlberger’s second film that could be considered narrative driven, the artist fashions a dystopian fiction from the remnants of cinema’s past. Drawing on excerpts from obscure sci-fi films, The Electric Kiss imagines a world not unlike our own, in which people plug their brains into a kind of neuro-network that connects the whole of human consciousness. As cyberpunk imagery draped in VHS textures alternates with passages of prismatic visual noise (achieved, in trademark style, by feeding footage through self trained machine learning algorithms), a quasi-plot emerges: a man in a VR headset, literally and figuratively lost in space, subjects himself to a mysterious procedure to alleviate the ill effects of this new technology on the mind.  

As lesser filmmakers continue to grapple awkwardly with social media and themes of interconnectedness, Kohlberger has taken to not only interrogating the way images interface with and influence notions of truth by engaging the very technologies responsible for these developments, but is also using them to facilitate storytelling possibilities which in turn can provide a clearer picture of the present day. In other words, to steal a line from the film: “OK, it’s fiction, but it brings you closer to reality.” (Jordan Cronk)

Orig. Title
The Electric Kiss
Austria, Germany
18 min
Orig. Language
No Dialogue
english text inserts
TEK_web_01 (Image)
Rainer Kohlberger
Concept & Realization
Rainer Kohlberger
Jung An Tagen
Supported by
Available Formats
DCP 2K flat (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
5.1 surround
Frame Rate
24 fps
Color Format
Festivals (Selection)
Nijmegen - Go Short Film Festival
Dresden - Filmfest
Chicoutimi/Saguenay - REGARD sur le court métrage
Vilnius Film Festival - “Kino pavasaris”
Graz - Diagonale, Festival des österreichischen Films
Rotterdam - Int. Filmfestival