Filmed over the course of seven years, An Impossible Project, directed by Berlin based filmmaker Jens Meurer, invites the masses to rediscover analogue. Undertaking the journey himself by shooting on a 35mm camera, (what he describes as “method documentary filmmaking”), Jens speaks about the making of the film with Director, DJ & Host Shimmy Ahmed in an exclusive interview on Bohemia Euphoria.
Although recognising the political aspects of the feature documentary, the director reflects on his love for and ability to successfully create “a film with a sense of humour”. To him, An Impossible Project stands as a testimony to the fact that analogue and digital technologies can co-exist, as the documentary was filmed on a 35mm film camera (yes you remember those!) but edited digitally. “You can easily find a best of both worlds model to work with. I think that’s true for a lot of technologies” like in “music recording where analogue is really big” but the end product is “streamed” online.
The film is primarily centred around Florian Kaps, more popularly known as Doc, an eccentric scientist with an extraordinary gift for hope, who, together with Marwan Saba and André Bosman, purchased production machinery from Polaroid in 2008 for $3.1 million after the company made the decision to cease the production of film for Polaroid cameras. With the help of a small group of former Polaroid employees (made up of film experts, chemists and engineers), The Impossible Project operated out of Building Noord, at the former Polaroid plant in Enschede in the Netherlands (for which they obtained a 10-year lease) until the company was acquired by Polaroid in 2020.
An Impossible Project not only explores the polarity (no pun intended) of the digital and analogue realms but also of pragmatism in contrast with being a dreamer. Doc seeks to remind the world of the importance of tangibility and a fully immersive sensory experience, notably asking “what does Facebook smell like?” to two Facebook employees on one of his visits to the company’s headquarters in Silicon Valley.
His vision for The Impossible Project was clear, even in the face of the demolition of factories of and by world famous companies like Kodak following the move towards smartphones (set in motion by Steve Jobs’ unveiling of the iPhone in 2007). Rather than acting as a result of nostalgia or in rebellion against fast moving digital trends, the motive of the world’s leading expert on spider eye muscles was clear. He simply believed that analogue devices offered a certain authenticity that the world could not afford to lose. So much so that even when he was ejected from The Impossible Project in 2013, ironically, in the same manner that Steve Jobs was removed as CEO from Apple in 1985, he continued in the pursuit of his analogue dream.
In 2014, Doc opened Supersense in his domicile of Austria (Vienna), the accurately self proclaimed “Home of Analog Delicacies”. The concept store defines “sense” as “a real, physical feeling (touch, taste, smell, sight, hearing)” as well as “the meaning of something”, subsequently defining “supersense” as “a sensation perceptible when experiencing analog products, creating a magic combination of both meanings of SENSE as described above”. A restaurant, a museum and a shop, Supersense offers the analogue experience across a wide range of forms, from photography and music to various printing technologies.
The film without a doubt fulfills the director’s goal of creating a “bridge between the two worlds of analogue and digital” while maintaining a lighthearted tone. An Impossible Project, with the full introduction and Q&A with Jens Meurer and Shimmy Ahmed is available to stream now in the UK on Bohemia Euphoria.