I Want You To Panic!



Moritz Hoffmann | 
2022 | 
Germany | 
9:20 mins | 
A bomb drops into an art museum without exploding. While the museum’s opportunistic curator Claire markets the bomb as a work of art to investor Mr. Man, security guard Omar desperately tries to evacuate the building. The threat of explosion before his eyes Omar becomes a Cassandra. He's the only one, who recognises the gravity of the situation.

I Want You To Panic! by Moritz Hoffman engages us in the displacements of art in a didactic take on artistic representation and social issues. In the film we encounter three characters; Omar, a security guard, Claire, the gallery programmer, and Mr. Man, a wealthy business owner. When a huge bomb falls into the venue, differing reactions take us through the relation of art to social issues.

The central piece of drama, the bomb that falls into the gallery, delineates the multitude of factors at work in artistic exhibition. The character of Mr. Man, a wealthy American businessman, brings into light the shifting politics of the art sector. As government budgets have slashed arts and humanities within recent decades, the private sector has seen a greater investment in artistic enterprise. This investment, however, principally art-washes the parent investor or company, obscuring the ethical and moral qualms of private sector economics and exploitations. Mr. Man seems to like the bomb, pledging his money towards the galleries’ future. The engagement here seems to be superficial; shock factor and the artificial spectacle of the bomb is raised above its wider reaching significance. Claire too collaborates in this obfuscation as she busies herself with the operation of the art gallery. In attempting to appease investors a critical lens is lost. The function of art is thus questioned: isolating spectacle inside of a gallery bears no function on the issues it represents. Neither does it stir critical engagement. The only character that does understand the issue the bomb represents, the security guard Omar, brings into relief people that are affected by what this bomb represents: working class, POC and migrant people are the first to be impacted by the exploitative politics of this world. Omar’s worries fall on deaf ears however.

Within this understanding of the politics of exhibition, Hoffman seems to suggest that film has the potential, existing outside the gallery and widely distributed, to create change.