Korsakow Syndrom (2000)

Korsakow Syndrom
{Korsakoff syndrome}

Florian Thalhofer
A nonlinear and interactive film about alcohol
Korsakow Film, DE + EN, approx. 360 min
University of the Arts, Berlin, 2000

People drink alcohol

Korsakow Syndrome is the first Korsakow-film ever and also the name giver of the Korsakow-Software. It is a non-linear and interactive film about alcohol. Florian Thalhofer made it in 2000 as his final piece at the University of the Arts in Berlin in the class of Prof. Joachim Sauter.

In 2000 Thalhofer bought his first video camera and interviewed friends and other people he met about alcohol. He started this project at the UCLA in California where he was visiting student at that time. He recorded interviews in Los Angeles, New York, Berlin and Regensburg and wrote little stories about alcohol. It is a film about alcohol, not about alcoholism (as you can read sometimes). There is an interview with a medical doctor (Dr. Jörg Nützel) – who explains what alcohol can do to the body. Part of the film is also Jim Avignon’s infamous vodka-concert, that he kindly did for this film (three days before the film was released). At this show Jim had a shot of vodka before each song and it all ended pretty much the way you would think it would end.

Thalhofer used a computer to organize the video-material which was new at that time and he did so in programming a database system without even knowing what a database was.

The Korsakow Syndrome was Thalhofer’s first video-based work and the the first computer software he wrote.

The Korsakow Syndrome contains about 6 hours of video. Nevertheless it won lots of prizes (actually at every festival it was submitted to). Unfortunately it was quite costly to send it around as it had to be sent on a hard-dive as it was too big for a CD-Rom.

The software tool that Thalhofer had written for the making of Korsakow Syndrom was later used in by students of the University of the Arts in the class “Interactive Narration” (2001 – 2005), where he tought together with Prof. Willem Velthoven. This tool became the Korsakow System or Korsakow, which is still in use today.