Great Britain/Austria 2007, Feature film, 50' | Director, Screenplay, Editor Manu Luksch | Sound Alexander Koller | Music Mukul Patel, Rupert Huber | Cast Manu Luksch, William Trevitt, Adam Ahmed, The Ballet Boyz Lakeside Workshop | Production Ambient Information Systems

The filmmaker is not permitted to introduce any cameras or lighting into the location. Manifesto for CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) Filmmakers “In Faceless(...) a science-fiction story is stretched out, reminiscent of the single frame aesthetics of Chris Marker’s historic film comic, La Jetée (1962), based on surveillance material. Luksch herself has produced herself at various places in front of CCTV cameras and then later requested the footage through bureaucratic channels, whereby they also made a splash in Austria, but not in the order that they took place, thus helping to rewrite the story of Big Brother. Anyhow, Faceless is an electrifyingly orchestrated journey through the nastiness of this material, at the same time creating a new type of film hero, namely the heroine without a past whose ultimate meaningfulness or pointlessness is determined by an appliance.” (Markus Keuschnigg, fm4) Fear blots out the present. It feeds on a past that spreads out uncontrolled into the present and takes possession of the future. Banishing this fear by shutting off the past and the future, is what is promised by the surveillance state. A promise that aims to legitimise the permanent observation of public space, which transforms the dream of a carefree existence in the isolated present into a nightmare that has become reality.

Manu Luksch narrates this nightmare using footage obtained from the operators of London video surveillance cameras under the British Data Protection Act. Interlinking fantasy with poetry, she transposes oppressively familiar cityscapes onto the stage of a fateful scenario. Once faceless and without a past, like the people who have been made unrecognisable on the recordings (to comply with protection of privacy laws), the protagonist of Faceless emerges from a data existence with a face that has suddenly been regained, and into a story that was thought to have been forgotten. The off-screen narrative is spoken by British actress and Oscar award winner Tilda Swinton.


Manu Luksch studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, at Chulakorn University and Chiang Mai University in Thailand. She was artistic director of the Medienlabors München [Munich Media Lab] and is a founding member of the interdisciplinary arts production platform ambientTV.NET, based in London. In her work, Luksch tackles the concept of film and narrative structures that have been distorted by Internet culture.

Manu Luksch
Great Britain, Austria
Focus: Freedom