Misery Connoisseur (MC) is an artist group comprising of Rowena Harris, Michael Heilgemeir and Emma Hunt, as well as the title of the magazine that is central to their practice. MC deals with miseries – the desires, aspirations and fears of contemporary man in the face of ubiquitous consumer culture, the pervasiveness of imagery, the dictate of perpetual self-optimisation, as well as the constructedness of corresponding modes of visual communication/reception.

Title: Phil, 2014

Credits: Collaboration, performance with Steven Levon Ounanian, Concept, camera, editing and sound Misery Connoisseur

Media: HD single channel video, stereo sound.

Duration: 6min 39

Phil from Misery Connoisseur on Vimeo.

About the film:

The film Phil (2014 – currently available here), is a film by MC performed by Steven Levon Ounanian, and was produced as part of the development of MC3. Phil contemplates with horror, awe and delight, the increasingly pervasive reign of the screen and embraces the paradigm of sacrificing one’s physical integrity in order to progress. Along the way Phil takes a sceptically amused look at the desires and fears of contemporary man in the face of ubiquitous start-up culture and the dilemma of perpetual self-branding as a precondition for multiplying one’s cultural and social assets.



Someone once had said to her
that the screen hides the darkness behind it,
shelters the person in front from the horror that lies beyond.

Unblinking, she fixed the solid emptiness,
and the anguish began to move in her.

At any moment the rip can occur, the edges fly back,
and the giant maw will be revealed.

She is in the process of losing, or rather abandoning,
her glossy body, her physical integrity.

It’s a deliberate act, a conscious decision,
although inevitable and therefore ultimately fatalistic and passive.

As before she embraces the inevitable,
indulges in the trip to the void where the disembodied live. A vanishing act.
Hysterically melancholic.

She is mesmerised by the man Phil,
the apologist of disruptive start-up culture, who exudes buzzwords like sweat
and embodies an acerbic, yet perversely uplifting, upwardly mobile future.

After all this time, still no certainty, just saturated in scepticism. No one must find out, so she remains mute and obtuse
– let others speak.
Just quiet your mind and contemplate the blankness.

Empty signs, silicon t’ai chi.

Most certainly
it will all end in calamity. She can’t wait.
Misery is always on the way and it all seems limitless.

Surrender to the screen.